During the summer, I added to my chicken flock. We were up to almost 30 hens. I had dreams of dozens of eggs pouring in each day. Plenty for us and our family…
Those dreams were not a reality.
In truth, through much of the summer, I got maybe 5 eggs a day. Pathetic, huh?
I was diligent. I checked the coop. The pasture. We kept them in feed and water.
Still 5 eggs or less.
Then, we’d walk out to find a dead hen.
Then… how many hens do we have?
Why are there so few?
Monday, we found 2 more dead hens.
One with a hole eaten out of it’s side. Sorry for the TMI.
It’s so frustrating.
We have taken action though. We have built a night time door.
For the longest time, we have been safe from predators within the fenced area, but somehow, something is getting the girls.
So with the nighttime door, we will allow them in and close them up for the night, with hopes that this will solve our problem. Maybe we will begin to see SOME egg production and less loss of hens.
This is one of the difficult lessons, but with any lesson, we learn and grow.
Sounds like a dog should be in your future. Is your fence electrified? Perhaps an electric net fence around your coop would help. That has been exactly what we needed to keep our ladies safe from predation.
I'm so sorry to hear about your hen difficulties. I have had chickens for the last 8 or so years and have lost some to predators, as well. I have 27 hens at the moment and get about a dozen eggs a day as summer is winding down and some are molting, also. I have found that distressed hens will not lay well. If something is making them nervous or scaring them, they will go right off laying. And many smallish critters will pose a deadly threat given the opportunity. Raccoons, opposums, and skunks being the most common for us. My sister, three miles away, hasn't had problems from the ground but has lost a few to hawks. The door to secure them at night is a very good move. Chickens are sitting ducks after dark as I'm sure you've found. You can walk right up to them and they won't budge. I don't know if you have a rooster but I have become convinced that a good rooster is worth his keep. My hens always seem calmer and more productive under the watchful eye of their fearless leader. In fact, my current rooster has been named Cogburn as he lost an eye and nearly his life defending them this past spring. He tough but he's a "gentleman". I wish you the best in finding what will work to make your chickens happy (and productive). I can't imagine my little homestead without them. They are so cheery and entertaining in addition to laying all those tasty eggs.
We had the same luck when we left our hens out. I only leave them out of the side of the coop during the day then lock up the coop at night. I feed and leave them lay in the mornings, then mid afternoon I leave back out till dusk. Most times they go in on there own at dusk and I just have shut the door. Hope you can solve your problem and get more eggs.