There are a number of factors that can cause your hens to experience decreased egg production. Malnutrition, disease, and many natural occurring phenomena all could play a role making it very difficult to remedy. It’s important to become aware of each circumstance and act accordingly. Plus, many of these issues occur during the fall and winter months, so the timing couldn’t be any more relevant.
Triggers Causing Decreased Egg Production
|Health Related Issues:||Natural Occurrences:|
|Dehydration & Poor Nutrition||Diminishing Sunlight as Days Shorten|
|Medical Issues - Parasites & Disease||Extreme Temperatures|
|Age of the Chicken||Molting Cycle|
Dehydration & Poor Nutrition
It’s important to make sure you are supplying your chickens with the appropriate amount of food and water every day. An adult egg laying hen needs about 17 fl. oz. of water and 1/4 to 1/3 lb. of feed per day. If your flock of chickens is without either of these, for even a few hours, it can cause a decrease in the number of eggs being produced. Other nutritional problems include deficiencies in your chicken’s diet such as a lack of salt, calcium, vitamin D3, protein, or fat. Make sure you are providing your chickens with each of these essential nutrients. Lastly, clean your chicken waterers regularly to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria. Blain’s Farm & Fleet sells chicken waterers, chicken feeders, and all the poultry supplies you need.
Medical Issues & Age of Chicken
There are a number of external parasites that can infect chickens and cause serious health issues and egg production problems. They like to hide in the walls, floors, and bedding cages of your chicken coop or nesting box. Make sure you clean these areas regularly. Also, beware of internal parasites. Roundworms and tapeworms tend to reside in warm, damp environments, so keep your feed fresh and water clean. Aside from parasites, there a number of chicken diseases that can cause decreased egg production. Fowl pox, coccidiosis, infectious bronchitis, and avian are all diseases that can cause serious issues. If your chicken is sick and poultry supplements and treatments aren’t working, you should have your chicken checked by the vet. A final health related concern to keep in mind is the age of your chicken. Naturally, the number of eggs a hen produces will decrease as they age.
Diminishing Sunlight and Extreme Temperatures
Chickens usually need between 12 and 16 hours of daylight to maintain maximum egg laying potential. When the hours of daylight diminish in fall and winter it’s extremely important to provide supplemental lighting. Setting up a generic 75 watt light bulb in your chicken coop will produce enough light to keep egg production at a similar level to those long summer days. Do NOT use a heat lamp in your coop because they are a serious fire hazard. Set a timer for the light and have it go off in the early morning. This will allow the chickens to use it as an alarm clock to start their day. Decreasing temperatures during the fall also create extra stress on egg laying chickens. Some chickens handle the cold better than others, so keep this in mind and think about investing in a small heater if the cool temperatures seems to be an issue.
Molt is a naturally reoccurring cycle where birds lose feathers and gradually regrow their plumage. The feather shedding process begins in late summer and runs into the fall. It generally lasts 16 weeks and causes a significant reduction in the number of eggs your chickens produce. This is because the chickens are expending extra energy, during this time period, to regrow their feathers. However, proper diet can help reduce the amount of time your birds are in molt. A product like Nutrena NatureWise Feather Fixer Feed, offering 18% protein, is a great option for your birds.