Healthy-looking hens laying nada
I feel kind of stoopid even asking about this, but it's really getting to me, and what I find searching the web just doesn't seem to fit. So I hope I'll get some better ideas here.
My 10 RIR hens are 2 years old. I used to get 10 eggs a day, like clockwork. Lately on a good day I'll get 4, and 2 or 3 is more the norm. Today, I only got one, very late in the afternoon (they usually seem to lay late morn to early afternoon). All the girls look and act perfectly healthy. The thing is, I have never seen a full molt in the flock. Currently, there are lots of loose feathers everywhere, but nobody is buck naked or anything. All vents that I've examined look moist and healthy.
There is one hen who has been spending most of the day sitting on whatever eggs are in the most popular nest (but doesn't try to tear my arm off if I take them). Today, there were no eggs and she was stalking around the henhouse kicking up a fuss like I've never seen.
I suppose they are probably just molting, but after reading descriptions of bare naked molting hens, mine don't fit that picture. And in 2 years, they never have. So I just want to make sure I'm not missing some horrible disease or something. After exhaustive searches, I'm pretty certain they aren't nesting elsewhere. Do they need some kind of chicken vitamins?
They get high quality laying pellets, scratch grains, garden and kitchen scraps, finely crushed dried egg shells, clean water, and free-range for at least half the day most days. The only thing I can really think of that's different in the time they have quit producing is that we acquired sheep and a donkey. I put the manure in the compost pile where the chickens love to play and eat.
Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!