Author Archive

Why Your Chickens Stop Laying Eggs

Thursday, September 28th, 2023

Chickens stop laying eggs for a variety of reasons. Hens may lay fewer eggs due to light, stress, poor nutrition, molt or age. Some of these reasons are natural responses, while others can be fixed with simple changes and egg laying can return to normal.

For more information on chicken health and egg production, read the American Feed Industry Association’s blog on the topic and the Associated Press’s Fact Focus article.

If you’re a backyard chicken raiser, you’ve become accustomed to your morning routine: Wake up. Drink coffee. Collect farm fresh eggs from your backyard flock. As the days become shorter and temperatures drop, you may notice fewer eggs when you go out to the chicken coop. It may have you wondering, “Why won’t my chickens lay eggs?”

Chickens stop laying eggs for many reasons, including amount of light, stress in the chicken coop, poor nutrition, molt and age.

why chickens stop laying eggs reasonsUnder ideal conditions, chickens will lay an egg once every 24 to 26 hours. Hens might take a short vacation from laying eggs and the reasons range from life stage to when the sun rises and sets.

Some of these reasons are natural while others can be fixed with simple changes. It’s up to us as flock raisers to solve the mystery of why farm fresh eggs might be missing from the nesting box.First, confirm your hen isn’t hiding her eggs and creating a nest outside the coop. Then, before you go looking for an egg thief, here are five factors to consider that can affect egg production:

1. Daylight

The first and most common cause of decreased egg production is light hours. Hens need a minimum of 16 hours of daylight to sustain strong production. Without supplemental light, they may naturally stop laying eggs due to a hormonal response as the days get shorter.

Hens lay best when provided at least 16 hours of day light, whether natural, artificial or a combination of the two. Some flock raisers use winter as a period of rest for their hens without supplemental light.

If you’re looking for consistent egg production through the winter months, provide additional light to encourage your birds to keep laying.

We recommend using one incandescent 25-watt or LED 3- to 9-watt bulb per 100 square feet of coop space. If supplementing with artificial daylight, keep your flock’s exposure and sleeping schedule consistent by putting lights on timers.

2. Coop Environment

If birds are stressed, egg production may suffer. Stress comes in many forms – predators, over-crowding, aggressive hens, loud noises, too much heat or cold, poor nutrition and illness. Check the environment to be sure there aren’t stressors in the area.

Use these tips for keeping the chicken coop stress-free:

  1. Predator proof your coop with galvanized wire and add metal screens on doors and windows.
  2. Provide at least 4 square feet of indoor space and 5-10 square feet of outdoor space per bird.
  3. Offer one nesting box per four hens with clean, dry bedding.
  4. Separate hens if the pecking order becomes aggressive.

Keep temperatures comfortable in the coop, but not drastically different than outdoors. Chickens, especially cold-tolerant breeds, can withstand winter temperatures without supplemental heat.

If you feel providing a source of heat is necessary, only raise the temperature a few degrees. Hens will adjust to the cold temperature, but if it is 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the coop and zero degrees in the run, they won’t be able to regulate their body temperature.

3. Chicken Nutrition

Another reason for decreased egg production is over-treating and over-supplementing hens. Added treats and scraps can dilute the nutrients in a complete layer feed so the hen is less able to produce eggs consistently.

Laying hens need 38 nutrients for consistent health and performance. Calcium is the most critical for laying hens; she must consume four grams of calcium each day. Complete layer feeds are formulated to provide everything hens need in the correct amounts, but if we provide too many treats, then those nutrients become diluted.

A general rule to follow is the 90/10 rule. This means the hen’s diet should be made of at least 90 percent complete feed.

4. Molt

Around 18 months of age and annually after, chickens go through molt, which is defined as a period of feather loss and regrowth. Molt usually occurs in autumn and is associated with a decrease in egg production.

Molting chickens redirect their energy from laying eggs to growing feathers. This results in a brief break from egg production. Molt typically lasts eight to 16 weeks, depending on the bird. Once she has a new set of feathers, egg production should return to normal.

To help hens through molt and return to laying eggs, switch to a high protein feed during molt, like Purina® Flock Raiser. Once egg laying resumes, transition back to a layer feed higher in calcium, such as Purina® Layena®, Purina® Layena® Plus Omega-3, Purina® Layena® High Protein or Purina® Organic Layer Pellets or Crumbles.

5. Hen age

Chickens begin laying eggs between 18-20 weeks of age and can lay eggs as long as her productive lifetime allows.

People often ask us: ‘How long do chickens live?’ This is a great connection to egg production. While the average lifespan of a chicken is 8-10 years, we’ve also seen well cared-for hens live beyond that. Just like people, as birds age they tend to slow down.

Over the course of a hen’s lifetime, egg production will peak at about 250-280 eggs during their first year laying eggs. After that, the number of eggs produced each year declines until she retires.

A hen can continue to be a valued member of your flock after her peak production has passed. Retired hens provide great companionship and often become leaders in their flocks, showing younger birds the ropes.

Fall Chicks Arrive October 19th

Wednesday, September 27th, 2023

October means FLOCKTOBER at Bear Creek Country Store in Bells and Leonard!  On Thursday, October 19th, we’ll be welcoming a variety of baby chicks to both store locations, including  Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks, ISA Browns, and Sapphire Gems. These cute little chicks are expected to be pullets, which means they’re all female! Don’t miss out on the chance to bring home these feathered companions this fall.

But that’s not all – we’ve got everything you need to take care of your new chicks. Stock up on chicken supplies like brooders, heat lamps, feeders, waterers, and quality chicken feed. Give your chicks a great start in life with our selection of starter feeds.

Remember to mark the date for Chick Days at Bear Creek Country Store in Leonard and Bells and get everything you need to make your chicken-raising adventure a success!

Fall Chicks arrive October 19, 2023

Great Pumpkin Photo Contest

Wednesday, September 27th, 2023

Great Pumpkin Photo Contest - Bear Creek Country Store Leonard, TXJoin Bear Creek Country Store’s Great Pumpkin Photo Contest happening at the Bear Creek Store in Leonard, TX! Here’s how you can participate:

Visit the Bear Creek Store in Leonard and take a stunning photo in front of our Great Pumpkin Truck. You have until November 19, 2023, to capture the perfect shot.

Post your photo on your personal Facebook page and don’t forget to tag Bear Creek Country Store! We want to see your creativity shining through. While you’re at it, show some love by liking our Facebook page (@bearcreekcountrystore).

Our team at Bear Creek Country Store will carefully review all the photos we receive or find on social media where we are tagged (@bearcreekcountrystore). We will select the top 5 photos, which will be showcased on our Facebook page on November 20th. That’s when the public gets to vote for their favorite!

The photo with the highest number of likes will be declared the winner, and we will announce the winners via Facebook on November 22nd!

Don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity to showcase your photography skills and win amazing prizes. Start capturing those magical moments at Bear Creek Country Store today!


The Importance of Fall Pasture Management

Friday, September 1st, 2023

Fall Pasture Management As fall approaches, it’s important to start thinking about how you can properly manage your pasture for the upcoming colder months. Fall pasture management is crucial in providing enough food for your livestock and also ensuring the longevity and health of your pasture. To keep your livestock happy and healthy, understanding the proper techniques for fall grazing is essential. So what can you do to better manage your pasture?

Fertilize Your Pasture

The first step in fall pasture management is to fertilize your pasture. After your livestock has grazed on the grass all summer, it’s essential to provide it with nutrients to ensure new, healthy growth. Fertilizing the pasture will provide the necessary nutrients for grass growth, improving your pasture’s overall health. It also helps with erosion caused by rain and wind that usually occurs in the fall season.

Implement a Grazing Rotation

Another vital aspect of fall pasture management is implementing a grazing rotation system. This technique involves dividing your pasture into smaller portions and rotating the livestock from one area to the other. The pasture gets time to recover and the animals have access to fresher and greener grass. This technique can also help protect the soil from nutrient depletion, soil compaction and reduce parasite prevalence in certain areas of the pasture.

Regular Mowing

Mowing the pasture regularly is beneficial for pastures. It decreases the grass height to a level appropriate for proper nutrient intake and can control the possible invasion of pests. Long grasses will also stop the development of young plants. If the grass grows too tall, it will eventually shade out and displace the grass located underneath. Regular mowing will help the pasture to regrow and be prepared for the spring.

Minimize Overcrowding

Fall is the perfect time for letting livestock graze but this must be in moderation. Too many animals grazing in a single area can lead to overgrazing and soil compaction, negatively affecting the health of the pasture. To avoid overcrowding, ensure the correct stocking rate by conducting an assessment of the available forage in the pasture. An ideal stocking rate ensures that the pasture can handle the amount of livestock it contains without causing damage or degradation to the pasture ecosystem.

Water Access

Lastly, water access is an essential factor to consider when managing your fall pasture. During the fall season, the grass goes dormant, and the cooler temperatures make the soil’s water retention capacity reduce. It’s important to make sure your livestock has access to a water source that’s easily accessible to all animals and free of debris. A lack of water will limit the amount of dry matter intake and compromise the health and welfare of your livestock.

Fall pasture management is a crucial element in maintaining the health, productivity, and longevity of your pasture and livestock. By utilizing our tips, you can create a pasture management system that benefits both your pasture and livestock. Start planning on how to manage your pastures with our tips or reach out for specific and tailored recommendations for your individual needs.

Tips for Storing Your Animal Feed Properly

Monday, August 14th, 2023

Storing animal feedAs an animal owner, you know the importance of providing your animals with the best possible nutrition. That’s why you take the time to research and choose the right feed. However, all that effort will be for nothing if the feed is not stored properly. Proper storage is essential to keeping your animal feed fresh and protecting it from pests and other contaminants. Here are some tips to help you store your animal feed properly.

Store In A Cool, Dry Place Away From Direct Sunlight

One of the best ways to keep your animal feed fresh is to store it in a cool, dry place. Exposure to sunlight, heat, and moisture can cause the feed to go bad quickly. When selecting a storage area, choose a location that is away from direct sunlight and where air circulation is good.

Keep Bags Of Feed Sealed Tightly

Before storing the feed, make sure to seal the bags tightly. This will keep insects and critters away from the feed and prevent air and moisture from getting inside. Use a clip or seal that is strong enough to keep the bag closed for good measure.

Use Metal Containers To Store Feed, Especially In Areas With Rodents

If you live in an area with rodents, consider storing your animal feed in metal containers. Rats and other rodents can chew through plastic bags quickly and easily, so it’s best to store your feed in a container with a tight-fitting lid that they can’t nibble their way into.

Inspect Bags Of Feed Before Use

Make sure to inspect each bag of feed before you use it. Check for any signs of damage or pests inside the bag. Be sure to discard any bags that look suspicious or if you find pests. If the feed smells off or has a strange odor, it is better not to take any risks and discard it.

Rotate The Feed

Rotation of feed will make sure the feed is always fresh. Use the oldest feed first and keep the newer one in the back. Make sure the feed doesn’t sit in storage past the expiration date. Storing expired feed can be harmful to your animal’s health.

Proper storage of animal feed is essential for keeping your animals healthy and happy. By following these tips, you can help prolong the shelf life of your animal feed and ensure that your animals get the best possible nutrition. Remember, take the time to store your animal feed properly today, for the health and well-being of your animals tomorrow.

The Benefits of Using Hay Feeders for Your Animals

Tuesday, August 1st, 2023

Hay Feeders | Bear Creek Country StoreAs a livestock owner, one of your main concerns is ensuring that your animals have access to clean and dry hay. Hay is often vulnerable to moisture, mold, and wastage which can be expensive and difficult to manage. Here is where hay feeders come in. Hay feeders come in various forms, are made of sturdy materials and can be used to keep your hay fresh and also save you money. Explore some of the benefits of using hay feeders for your livestock.

Keeps Hay Clean And Dry

One of the biggest advantages of using a hay feeder is that it keeps the hay clean and dry. When hay is left on the ground or in a pile, it’s prone to being trampled on by animals, becoming contaminated with dirt, and absorbing moisture from the ground or the environment. Not only does this make it less appealing for animals to eat, but it can also compromise their health by exposing them to mold and bacteria. By using a hay feeder, you can lift the hay off the ground and protect it from the elements.

Reduces Waste And Saves Money

Using hay feeders can reduce waste and save money long term. When animals are given free access to hay, they tend to consume it quickly and messily, scattering it around and stepping on it. This not only makes it harder to clean up, but it also means that a lot of hay is wasted. In fact, studies have shown that using a hay feeder can reduce hay wastage by up to 50%. This translates into significant cost savings over time, especially for larger farming operations.

Promotes Natural Feeding Behavior

Hay fed from the ground causes animals to bend down and stretch their necks to feed. This causes discomfort for animals and sometimes even strain. Hay feeders position hay at a comfortable height for animals to eat from, allowing them to maintain a natural posture and avoid unnecessary pain or injury.This can also lead to better digestion and overall health for your animals.

Ensures Equal Access To Hay

Dominant animals can monopolize hay that is fed on the ground which keeps shyer animals from getting their share. This could lead to malnourishment and even aggression among animals. When a hay feeder is used, animals all get their fair share of hay for better nutrition and livestock cohesion. 

Improves Overall Cleanliness And Sanitation

Hay tends to attract rodents and other pests like flies when scattered around. These pests often carry disease and can create unsanitary conditions. Using a hay feeder is an easy way to create a cleaner feeding environment by reducing the risk of pests and diseases. In addition to this, they are easy to clean which promotes health and hygiene on the farm. 

Consider using a hay feeder on your farm as a simple but effective way to improve the health and welfare of your livestock. Not only does it have health benefits, but it can save you money in the long run!

3rd Annual Cattle Raisers Round Up Event

Tuesday, August 1st, 2023

Bear Creek Country Store and Bear Creek Farms Flyer about the upcoming Cattle Raisers Round-Up event on September 7, 2023.

Join Bear Creek Farms for the upcoming 3rd Annual Cattle Raiser’s Round Up event! This year, we’re focusing on “Capitalizing on the Cattle Market.” Don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity to network with neighbors, cattlemen, and industry leaders.

Here’s what you can expect:
Engage with booths from feed companies, seed companies, and industry leaders from 5:30 pm-8 pm. They’ll be ready to answer any of your burning questions.
Enjoy a delicious dinner and drinks starting at 6:30 pm, on us!
Listen to renowned economist Dr. Blake Bennett, who will be speaking at 7 pm about the cattle and grain market.

But that’s not all! We’re thrilled to have the American Angus Association Rep, Radale Tiner, joining us at 7:30 pm. Get ready to learn how to tip the scales, top the market, and reach your herd’s fullest potential.

So mark your calendars:
Date: Thursday, September 7th
Time: 5:30 pm-8 pm
Address: Bear Creek Farms Sale Arena, 611 W Fannin St. Leonard, TX 75452

RSVP here:

    Your Name (required)

    Your Email (required)

    Your Phone # (required)

    Your Address (required)

    How many are attending? (required)

    July 23-31 Dog Days of Summer Savings

    Sunday, July 23rd, 2023

    Dog Days of Summer Savings 2023It’s the last week of our Dog Days of Summer Savings, happening from 07/23-07/31, 2023.🐾

    We’ve got a whopping 25% off on NutriSource Dog Food, plus you’ll score some free NutriSource Treats with your purchase. Treats for both you and your furry friend? That’s a win-win!

    And that’s not all! We’ve got a special offer for all the Hi Point pet parents out there. You’ll get $1 off on Hi Point Dog Food and Cat Food. It’s like getting a little discount hug for your fur babies.

    But wait, there’s more! Don’t miss our Bogo Deals. Buy a crate, and we’ll throw in a cozy dog bed. Buy a bag of dog food, and we’ll give you a bag of treats for free! It’s a pet lover’s dream come true!

    So mark your calendars and bring your furry friends. The Dog Days of Summer Savings are here, and they’re wagging their tails just for you. Don’t miss out! 🐶🌞

    2023-2024 Hunting Season Dates

    Monday, July 17th, 2023

    Texas Parks & Wildlife logo | 2023-2024 hunting season datesTexas Parks & Wildlife released the 2023 – 2024 Texas Hunting Season dates. Check them out below. You can find more information on their website.  Before you head to the lease, stop by your local Bear Creek Country Store for all your hunting supplies, feeds, and attractants.

    Game Animals


    Javelina season dates
    Season Zone Dates
    General North Oct. 1, 2023 – Feb. 25, 2024
    South Sep. 1, 2023 – Aug. 31, 2024

    Mule Deer

    Mule deer season dates
    Season Zone Dates
    General Panhandle Nov. 18, 2023 – Dec. 3, 2023
    Trans-Pecos Nov. 24, 2023 – Dec. 10, 2023
    Archery 59 of 254 counties Sep. 30, 2023 – Nov. 3, 2023


    Pronghorn season dates
    Season Zone Dates
    General 41 of 254 counties Sep. 30 – Oct. 15, 2023


    Squirrel season dates
    Season Zone Dates
    General East Texas Oct. 1, 2023 – Feb. 25, 2024 & May 1-31, 2024
    Other open counties Sep. 1, 2023 – Aug. 31, 2024
    Youth-only East Texas Sep. 23 – 24, 2023

    White-tailed Deer

    White-tailed deer season dates
    Season Zone Dates
    General North Nov. 4 , 2023- Jan. 7, 2024
    South Nov. 4, 2023 – Jan. 21, 2024
    Special Late North Jan. 8-21, 2024
    South Jan. 22, 2024 – Feb. 4, 2024
    Youth-Only North Oct. 28-29, 2023 & Jan. 8-21, 2024
    South Oct. 28-29, 2023 & Jan. 8-21, 2024
    Archery 252 of 254 counties Sep. 30, 2023 – Nov. 3, 2023
    Muzzleloader 90 of 254 counties Jan. 8-21, 2024

    Upland Game Birds


    Chachalaca season dates
    Season Zone Dates
    Regular Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr & Willacy Counties Oct. 28, 2023 – Feb. 25, 2024


    Pheasant season dates
    Season Zone Dates
    Regular Panhandle Dec. 2-31, 2023


    Quail season dates
    Season Zone Dates
    Regular Statewide Oct. 28, 2023 – Feb. 25, 2024


    Rio Grande Turkey

    Rio Grande Turkey season dates
    Season Zone Dates
    Fall North Nov. 4, 2023 – Jan. 7, 2024
    South Nov. 4, 2023 – Jan. 21, 2024
    Brooks, Kenedy, Kleberg & Willacy counties Nov. 4, 2023 – Feb. 25, 2024
    Archery-only Sep. 30, 2023 – Nov. 3, 2023
    Fall Youth-only North Oct. 28-29, 2023 & Jan. 8-21, 2024
    South Oct. 28-29, 2023 & Jan. 22, 2024 – Feb. 4, 2024
    Spring North Mar. 30, 2024 – May 12, 2024
    South Mar. 16, 2024 – Apr. 28, 2024
    One-turkey counties Apr. 1-30, 2024
    Spring Youth-Only North Mar. 23-24, 2024 & May 18-19, 2024
    South Mar. 9-10, 2024 & May 4-5, 2024

    Eastern Turkey

    Eastern Turkey season dates
    Season Zone Dates
    Spring East Texas Apr. 22, 2024 – May 14, 2024

    Migratory Game Bird


    Dove season dates
    Season Zone Dates
    Regular North Sep. 1, 2023 – Nov. 12, 2023 & Dec. 15-31, 2023
    Central Sep. 1, 2023 – Oct. 29, 2023 & Dec. 15, 2023 – Jan. 14, 2024
    South Sep. 14, 2023 – Oct. 29, 2023 & Dec. 15, 2023 – Jan. 21, 2024
    Special White-winged Dove Days South Sep. 1-3, 2023 & Sept. 8-10, 2023


    Duck season dates
    Season Zone Dates
    Regular High Plains Mallard Management Unit Oct. 28-29, 2023 & Nov. 3, 2023 – Jan. 28, 2024
    North Nov. 11-26, 2023 & Dec. 2, 2023 – Jan. 28, 2024
    South Nov. 4-26, 2023 & Dec. 9, 2023 – Jan. 28, 2024
    Youth/Veterans High Plains Mallard Management Unit Oct. 21-22, 2023
    North Nov. 4-5, 2023
    South Oct. 28-29, 2023


    Goose season dates
    Season Zone Dates
    Early Canada Goose East Sep. 9-24, 2023
    Light & Dark Geese West Nov. 4, 2023 – Feb. 4, 2024
    East Nov. 4, 2023 – Jan. 28, 2024
    Light Goose Conservation Order West Feb. 5, 2024 – Mar. 10, 2024
    East Jan. 29, 2024 – Mar. 10, 2024

    Rails, Gallinules & Moorhens

    Rails, Gallinules & Moorhens hunting seasons and dates
    Season Zone Dates
    Regular Statewide Sep. 9-24, 2023 & Nov. 4, 2023 – Dec. 27, 2023

    Sandhill Cranes

    Sandhill Cranes hunting seasons and dates
    Season Zone Dates
    Regular A Oct. 28, 2023 – Jan. 28, 2024
    B Nov. 24, 2023 – Jan. 28, 2024
    C Dec. 16, 2023 – Jan. 21, 2024


    Common season dates
    Season Zone Dates
    Regular Statewide Nov. 4, 2023 – Feb. 18, 2024


    Teal hunting seasons and dates
    Season Zone Dates
    September Teal Only Statewide Sep. 9-24, 2023


    Woodcock hunting seasons and dates
    Season Zone Dates
    Regular Statewide Dec. 18, 2023 – Jan. 31, 2024

    July 16-22 Dog Days of Summer Savings

    Sunday, July 16th, 2023

    Dog Days of Summer Savings July 07/16-07-22, 2023

    Get ready for some pawsome savings at your neighborhood Bear Creek Country store! 🐾 From July 16th to July 22nd, we’ve got some exciting deals for you and your furry friends during the Dog Days of Summer!

    Indulge your pet’s taste buds with 20% off Taste of Wild products. They’ll be wagging their tails in delight! 🐶🐱

    But that’s not all! You can also save $2 on Hi Point Dog and Cat Food. Give your fur babies the nourishment they deserve without breaking the bank. 😺🐾

    Need some new gear for your pup? We’ve got you covered! Enjoy a fantastic 15% discount on dog supplies, including collars, leashes, water/feed bowls, storage containers, crates, and more. It’s time to upgrade their style and comfort! 🐾🐕

    Don’t miss out on these incredible deals during the Dog Days of Summer at Bear Creek Country store. Visit us between July 16th and July 22nd to grab the savings and make your pets happy! 🌞🐶🐱