Managing Your Chickens

chickensDecreased Egg Production

There are a multitude of reasons for decreased egg production from your laying chickens. Management problems as well as disease can cause a sudden, dramatic decrease in egg production. The sheer number of potential causes for decreased egg production can make it a very difficult thing to remedy. For this reason, it is very important to pay close attention to your chickens, noting any changes in feeding, behavior or appearance.

Common reasons for a decrease in egg production include management mistakes such as a lack of food or water, short day length, environmental temperatures that are too high or stress. If your flock is out of food or water for even a few hours this could cause a decrease in the number of eggs being produced. Chickens are especially sensitive to a lack of water. Failure to provide proper day length through artificial lighting as the days naturally become shorter can cause production to stop all together. The stress associated with temperatures that are too high or too low as well as possible stress from the addition of new animals, or excess moving or handling can also be problematic.

Nutritional problems are another common reason for decreased egg production. These problems can include nutritional deficiencies such as a lack of salt, calcium, vitamin D3, protein, or fat. Additionally, decreased egg production may also be cause by an excess of certain nutrients such as too much salt, phosphorus, or vitamin D3. Moldy feed can also cause a drop in egg production due to the presence of mycotoxins.

If management issues have been ruled out and are not to blame for decreased egg production in your flock there are a variety of medical issues that could be causing the problem. External parasites such as the northern fowl mite, lice or stick-tight fleas can all cause egg production problems. Internal parasites such as roundworms and tapeworms should also be considered. Aside from parasites there are a plethora of diseases that are likely to affect egg production. These diseases can include fowl pox, coccidiosis, infectious bronchitis, infectious coryza, avian encephalomyelitis, Newcastle disease, avian flu, fowl cholera and mycoplasma gallisepticum. The most effective way to diagnose most of the above mentioned diseases is by having a necropsy performed by an avian pathologist.

If you are having trouble with egg production in your flock, or have any questions regarding the management and health of your chickens please contact River Road Veterinary Clinic today.

For more information please see the following links:

http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/ASC/ASC192/ASC192.pdf

http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/2902/2902-1097/2902-1097_pdf.pdf

http://www.thepoultrysite.com/articles/450/several-reasons-why-your-hens-may-stop-laying-eggs

 

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