Help! My Chickens Stopped Laying Eggs
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Chickens can stop laying eggs for many reasons, so before you start to worry and take any drastic measures there are a few things to take into consideration first.
How old are your hens? Age can play a huge factor in the egg productivity of your flock. Some chickens may be too young to have developed a regular regime or they may be too old to need to continue laying. Most breeds will begin laying around the six-month mark and will lay productively for around 2-3 years before they begin to slow down. Most will not fully stop laying until around 6-7 years old.
Every breed of chicken has its own laying schedule, so do your research before you buy your chickens to find out if the one you want is a high or low producer. Check out our blog How often do chickens lay eggs? to learn more about the best laying chickens available in Australia.
Have you introduced new chickens into your flock? This comes with its own issues. New chickens won’t necessarily lay eggs until they’re comfortable in their new environment. Older hens that you already have may be threatened and need to reestablish the pecking order before laying will continue as normal. Check out our blog How to successfully introduce chickens to find out how you can help to reduce stress during this time.
Be sure to also check for external threats. Hens may not lay if they are stressed due to the threat of predators, overcrowding, temperature extremes, loud noises, or illness.
If your chickens have stopped laying, check their nesting area. See if it is clean and inviting and be sure to change out their nesting materials once or twice a week, to maintain a healthy environment. Browse our online store or come in and check out our huge range of straw and bedding materials that would be perfect to keep your coop in order.
A hen will need 16 hours of daylight to consistently lay. When daylight hours decrease, hens will assume that the winter months are coming.
The purpose of a hen laying an egg is to hatch it. So, when the days become shorter and the temperatures begin to drop, maternal instincts kick in and the hens know that it won’t be warm enough for their chicks to survive, therefore they will stop laying. Egg production farms use artificial lighting to extend the daylight hours which trick their hens into laying all year round.
Your chickens may not be getting all the nutrients they need to produce efficiently.
If you are wanting a high threshold of eggs from your home coop, then you need to make sure your chickens are getting plenty of protein in their diet. Buy from our range of chook feed to guarantee your flock has a well-balanced diet.
Chickens will be more productive if they always have food on hand. They lay eggs to produce chicks, and like most other animals, if there isn’t enough food to go around then reproducing won’t be a priority.
So you are providing top-quality food like Farmbies or Blue Peck N Lay, and the chooks still aren’t laying, they may have a worm burden. A chicken foraging will pick up parasites like roundworms. Ducks, pigeons, and any wild birds will be rife with them.
To protect your flock it is recommended to deworm your birds every three months. Click here to read on deworming your birds. This will ensure the nutrients that you are feeding your hens is only for the hens, not that worms as well.
Chickens will lose their feathers and replace them with shiny new healthier ones. During this time, the energy they normally use to produce eggs will instead be used to produce feathers. Ensure your hens are getting enough protein in their diet during this time to help this process along.
As you can see there are many reasons why your chickens may stop laying eggs. So check to see if any of these apply to your hens, before you start thinking about a Sunday roast.