Find out why hens stop laying eggs with Blain’s Farm & Fleet and Nutrena.
If you have layer birds, you’re used to getting a consistent amount of daily eggs from your chickens. But what if that number drops and your hens stop laying eggs? There are a few reasons why your hens stop laying eggs. Follow along with Nutrena and Blain’s Farm & Fleet.
Molt can cause hens to stop laying eggs. At about 15-18 months, and every year after that, chickens replace their feathers. Known as molt, the feathers fall out so new feathers can grow. During this time, hens will stop laying eggs.
Hens need about 15-16 hours of light per day to produce eggs. During the first year, most layer birds will lay through the winter without artificial lighting. After that, you’ll need to provide light for your chickens and give them plenty of time outside either free ranging or in their run.
3. Too Many Treats
It’s important to give your birds a healthy, balanced diet of feed and free range. While treats can be given to your hens, you need make sure they’re not getting too many treats. Birds will fill up on table scraps, bread and other treats instead of eating the nutritious feed you set out for them. You don’t have to cut off treats – but cutting back can help with egg production.
4. Too Much Rooster Time
If you have a rooster, keep in mind that one rooster can handle 12-18 hens. If the ratio is too low, the rooster will over-mount the hens, leaving bare patches on their backs and back of their heads. This stress from a rooster can cease egg production.
Water deprivation, especially in hot temps, can easily take your hens out of production. Hens at the top of the pecking order will sometimes not allow hens at the bottom to drink. When the weather heats up, Nutrena recommends adding water stations for your birds.
Even if your chicken coop is secure, you chickens could still be harassed by raccoons, loose dogs or other predators. If you think this is the case, setting up a trail cam can help detect predators.
7. Egg Eating
Egg eating can happen with hens – or other 2 or 4 legged scoundrels. Your girls may be laying, but a predator may be scooping up the eggs before you get to them. Even humans can break into your coop to steal eggs. Again, setting up a trail camera can help catch any egg thieves or predators.
8. Change In Pecking Order
Adding new hens, a rooster or removing a hen can all change the pecking order with your birds. This type of stress can also cause egg production to drop.
Finally, illnesses or parasites can cause stress for your birds. Always work with your veterinarian if you think this is the case.
For more information about the care and keeping of your birds, visit our Hobby Farming blog.