2 year old Brown Shavers not laying!

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9 years 4 months ago #39054 by Tessa
My two brown shavers seemed to have stopped laying and they're only about 2 years old! They seemed to stop about October/November. They look and indeed are healthy. There house hasn't changed and neither has their environment.

The only thing I can think of is that the neighbour has hens and a huge rooster who come over to our fenceline and make a bit of a noise, especially him.

My girls don't go near him which is good. But could they be a bit stressed by him and that's why they aren't laying anymore? I really don't know whether to buy more hens or give up and go back to buying eggs again (which I am doing now anyway).

Any ideas?

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9 years 4 months ago #501420 by Deanna
Are they loosing any feathers? Behaving normally? I can't imagine a rooster is going to bother them, especially though a fence. Check for lice, check for mites, check for worms. If they aren't broody, aren't moulting, chuck them a slice a dog roll every day, till it runs out and they hopefully will start up again.

25 acres, 1400 Blue Gums, Wiltshire sheep, 5 steers, 2 cows, ducks, chickens, bees, dog, cats, retired, 1 husband and 3 grandkids.

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9 years 4 months ago #501422 by LongRidge
Whenever I look after the neighbours hens, and try to do everything similarly to him, the hens slow down laying. Is it possible that something has changed their routine? Kids or grandkids helping? Rats or mice due to the dry weather? Anything else?
Definitely try feeding them a bit of meat or dog sausage, but ensure that the dog does not disturb them.

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9 years 4 months ago #501428 by Sue
Yes, as others have mentioned, check for mites (in the nests and house not on the birds)
make sure they are getting enough to eat and drink!
The hotter weather makes them eat less and if the food isn't up to scratch in terms of protein and energy it is a sure way to stop them laying.

Are you sure they are not laying away? Because they are commercial layers they may not go broody, but still can go off and lay in some secluded spot!

A photo of their heads, closeup put on here, might indicate to us whether they are in full lay or not laying at all. If you pick them up have they got a good weight about them-or do they feel skinny-or maybe even fat. The fat you will feel as a full, hard abdomen.

Try seeing how many fingers you can fit between the pin bones either side of the vent, holding the palm of your hand on their rear end, fingers pointing upwards.
A hen in lay should be at least 3 fingers between the pin bones, coming in or going off lay-one and a half to 2 fingers wide.
A non layer-and a rooster-barely one fingers width between the pin(pelvic) bones.

The commercial guide says a Shaver Brown should weigh 1.975kgs at 90 weeks-so yours should be not more than 2kgs at 2 years I would estimate.

Feed wise, ensure they get a layer feed with 16 or 17% protein, or supplement them with mince or dog/cat food if needed. Don't feed lots of scraps like bread or vegetation, in the hot weather they need high quality feed because they eat less, especially if they are growing feathers. Make sure their water doesn't get hot, or too hot to drink-another sure turn off the egg laying works if they get short of water.
Did they moult during the winter-or after they stopped laying in Oct/Nov ?

Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.

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9 years 4 months ago #501457 by Tessa
Thanks ladies. That was quite interesting in regards to the protein. They aren't very hungry at the moment, so I will try them on some mince etc. I'll also check their pin bones (I forgot all about that). Will let you know how they get on.

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9 years 3 months ago #501991 by Tessa
Well, after a few days now of feeding the girls tinned cat food (which they were definitely into) - oh, and I don't have a dog, so hoped cat food was okay, - they have now started to molt. Not sure what that means but boy, are they totally out of season! Anyway, Sue, I checked their pin bones etc and they're definitely not laying - not quite a finger's width. Plus I've noticed now that their combs are a bit floppy and not as perky and bright red as usual.

Hopefully, if they go through a molt, then they may come right again. By the way, how long should I feed them cat food before going back on pellets? I used to always buy Peck n Lay, but it's got so expensive, I tend to buy the Barnyard ones from the supermarket - do you think that's pretty cheap and nasty?

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9 years 3 months ago #501992 by Sue
Tessa regarding feeding-you need to feed them Pellets and cat food, not just the cat food. Note I said supplement, not replace with cat food. It is meant as a supplementary protein source when what you are feeding is low on protein.
That may be one reason they decided to moult now. Cat food alone is not a balanced poultry diet.
Moulting at this time of year isn't really out of season. Many birds which have laid all winter and into the summer as well may well stop and moult now, as daylight hours have been decreasing for 6 weeks now and if their diet is compromised they are likely to stop laying anyway. That way they can grow new feathers and be ready for winter.

Regards feed quality. The cheap brands are cheap because they are lower in protein and energy-and higher in carb fillers like barley and bran! They are OK for the large heritage breeds with big appetites and lay few eggs, but not sufficient to give the lighter bodied, high producing hybrids going, especially when the weather is hot and they don't want to eat so much.

It is false economy to buy the cheap 14 to 15 % protein level feeds as the birds will eat more of it to gain the same protein level-if their appetite is big enough to eat enough.

Peck 'n lay is about 16.5% protein and Sharpes Hi Lay is 18% protein-I checked at Longacre Prolay, by Inghams, is 15% protein.
No idea what the supermarket brand is, it probably varies but will have the protein level written on the bag.

Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.

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9 years 3 months ago #501998 by LongRidge
Farmlands now own NRM Stockfoods which have been chicken pellet suppliers for many years. If you have a Farmlands branch near you, you may want to check that out.

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9 years 3 months ago #502002 by Sue
Peck 'n Lay is the NRM brand LR. which is what Tessa was feeding before she went to 'supermarket' chook food.

Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.

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9 years 3 months ago #502006 by Tessa
Okay, thanks for that. That was quite interesting about the larger heritage breeds. I had still been giving them some pellets but they're just ignoring them. I'll go and get some better ones from RD1.

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