My chickens! No eggs! WTF?
February 4, 2010 7:04 PM Subscribe
Why have my fantastic hens stopped laying?
I've had a henhouse for almost a year now. Last spring, my partner and I bought 7 hens. Ssshhh, the limit in Portland is 3 (don't care, really, this doesn't need to be anonymous. My neighbors love me, no problem at all.)
They started laying last fall. Once they started laying, the daily egg take was about 5. That's because most hens lay on a 36 hour schedule. I love getting my eggs, I check almost every day.
The hens are in an old greenhouse. Shortly (as soon as I can afford it) they will be in a real henhouse. The main problem is rats.
I hate rats! Dang!
The jerk rats rats runnel into the henhouse and (mostly) eat the food. They also drink the water. Argh. There's no real solution except to build a better, more varmint-proof henhouse.
I'm planning to build a better henhouse this spring. I'd really underestimated the tenacity of rats. Dumb, I guess. I have purchased plans for a much better, more dedicated henhouse.
Until last week, this was more of a theoretical problem. I was getting 5 or so eggs a day. 4 days ago, abruptly, no more eggs.
None. Not one. Despite the fact that they are of three different breeds. Also, no detritus from eggs-eaten-by-rats.
I note that the rats-stealing-food level is significantly higher. In fact, if I miss a day, it is likely the hens are out of food. Is that it?
The hens look fine, no obvious bites, no lacerations. Just no eggs.
Do I need to move up the build of the new varmint-resistant henhouse, or am I missing something? Is it the season? Lack-of-light? I'd understand, but all the different breeds at once?
I think my hens are just being messed up by inconsistent food and water due to rats. Am I right? Am I missing something?