Did your hens stop laying? Get the reasons your hens aren’t laying eggs and find out how to help!
Have you headed out to your coop with your trusty egg basket only to find that there are just a few eggs to gather?
You’re probably wondering what is going on.
Throughout the seasons of the year and the seasons of your chicken’s life, you will find a decrease in eggs does happen.
There are several reasons this might happen, but take heart, there are ways to fix some of the problems that cause a decline in egg production.
Reasons Your Hens Aren’t Laying Eggs and How to Help
Top Reasons for Decreased Egg Production:
- Breed of chicken
- Hours of light
- Age of chicken
- Broody Hens
Breed of Chicken
The breed of your chickens makes a significant difference in the number of eggs laid in their lifetime. Rhode Island Reds, for example, lay around 200 eggs a year, where an Ameraucanuna or a Silkie lay remarkably less, only about 100 per year. That could be one of the reasons your hens aren’t laying eggs.
So make sure to know the average egg capacity for your chickens before you count on filling that basket.
Many factors within a chicken’s diet can also affect egg laying, such as changes in food, not having proper nutrition and too many treats.
Changing their feed or even the brand of feed can cause a ripple of change in the coop. Chickens like continuity, and changes in their routine alters egg production.
Adding too many supplements or not having the essential 30+ nutrients needed in their diet can also be harmful. Using a complete layer feed can guarantee proper nutrition requirements are met.
The 90/10 rule should always apply to treats to your chickens. 90% nutritional feed and 10% treats are the correct balance.
You wouldn’t think by looking at them, but chickens have stress.
These stressors can range from loud noises to heat/cold extremes to predators trying to eat them. That would get to anyone.
Loud noises are pretty tough to keep at bay on a farm, but you can give them a sense of security by predator proofing their run and coop.
As heat and cold fluctuate in the seasons additional heat or cooling may be necessary within the coop. Just be sure not to have a vast difference in temperature between the coop and the run. Your hens will not be able to adjust their body temperature as needed, which can cause them to get sick.
Other stresses can be as simple as adding new hens or roosters to the coop. A chicken’s pecking order is no joke. When you add new flock mates, the fight for the top may stop egg production, until calm resides in your coop once again.
Overcrowding is also an issue that affects laying, which is easily rectified with the four square feet per bird rule within the coop and five to eight square feet allotment per bird within their run.
Hours of Light
Chickens require 14-16 hours of daylight to lay an egg. This light produces a hormonal response necessary for production.
In the winter months, if you want more eggs from your flock, it may be necessary for you to add artificial light to your coop but only for the required hours needed. The easiest way to do that is by using a light timer.
There is another school of thought on supplemental light. The thought is if your hens aren’t laying due to the lack of light, you may want to let them go natural. The downtime during the winter helps them to more proficient and more extended producers.
Chickens molt annually, and as they go through the feather loss and regrowth, it affects the number of eggs they lay.
All their energy is going to replacing their feathers during the fall molting process. It takes eight to sixteen weeks to re-feather.
But don’t worry, they start right back in laying as soon they are fine-feather beauties once again.
Age of Chicken
The laying cycle of a chicken, unfortunately, is one of decline. Even the most proficient layers have a reduction of eggs each year.
Some breeds only lay four or five years where others can produce well past that.
If you find your hen sitting on a nest, refusing to leave the eggs she has warmly tucked under her, you may have a broody hen.
Check for signs of feathers missing on her front that she has plucked out to add warmth to her clutch of eggs. If so, she’s officially broody.
Broody hens stop all egg production for at least twenty-one days, the life cycle of an egg, and no amount of coaxing will start her egg-laying up again.
If you’ve checked no to all the previous factors mentioned that can prevent egg production, then your chicken may be ill.
Checking your hen for signs of illness and treating them right away will help your hen to get back in the swing of laying very soon.
So don’t be alarmed if your egg production has dipped some, one of these factors could be the reason.
Once you are back in the basketfuls of egg bounty try one of our 200+ Recipes that Use A Lot of Eggs.