No Eggs in the Hen House?
It’s that time of year when we’re all getting anxious to be outside. Especially if you live in Minnesota where the winters are super long. Believe me when I say, we’re all very ready for spring and warmer days! Haha!
Luckily, this time of the year is also when the days finally get a little longer. So, if you haven’t already been supplementing light in your coops, your hens should be starting to lay again!
I remember the day we received our very first egg and how exciting that was. To be honest with you, I still get that same feeling every winter when it's finally over and we receive our first egg. It's just as thrilling every single time!
However, what do we do if our hens start laying again after winter and their egg production begins to slow? Or, what do we do if our hens start laying again but not nearly as much as before? I've dug into this topic and done some research on this as well as learned from my past egg-laying experiences.
Here's some reasons why your egg production might be slowing down:
LIGHT: Hens need 12-16 hours of light in order to lay their eggs. If your chickens aren’t exposed to enough light, they can’t produce eggs. Some people allow their chickens to “rest” through the winter months. Some choose to supplement light. Neither is right or wrong, but it may impact how many years your chickens lay
BREED OF CHICKEN: When you’re buying chicks, remember to check and see how many eggs they lay annually. Certain breeds are known for their excellent amount of eggs laid/year and others lay significantly less. Chickens will eventually “retire” from providing our breakfast after a few years depending on the breed.
MOLTING: Molting is the process of shedding old feathers and growing in their new ones. This can take weeks or even months. It takes a lot of energy for this process, so when hens are molting, laying is put on the back burner. Don’t worry, they will start back up when they’re through their molt.
ILLNESS: Whether they are fighting mites, lice, or some other illness, chickens will slow/stop their egg production because they’re trying to fight off whatever ailment they have. If you suspect your chicken is ill, reach out to your local veterinarian for treatment options.
STRESS: Believe it or not, it doesn’t take too much to stress out a chicken. Changes in weather, adding to your flock, illness, or other factors can lead to stress. When I know that there may be some stress on my flock, I add Flock Fixer™ into their water for a few days. It gives your flock the needed boost they need to get through the time of stress without becoming ill.
DIET: Proper nutrition for chickens is so important. Did you know that chickens need 30+ nutrients in order to “be all that they can be”? I use a complete layer feed so I know that they are getting everything they need. I also always add Chicken E-lixir™ to their water. Chicken E-lixer™ contains vitamins, minerals, organic essential oils, and electrolytes to keep my chickens healthy naturally. Plus, I never have to worry if I’m giving them too much, because it is all carefully formulated.
TREATS: One of the reasons my chickens love me so much is because they know they’re going to get a handful of scratch, worms, or some other leftover when I head out to the coop. However, we need to keep in mind the 90/10 rule. 90 percent of their nutrition needs to come from their food, the other 10 percent can come from treats. Too many treats may cause them to slow down. Don’t worry, they will still love you even if you need to back off your treats a bit.
BROODY HEN: A broody hen is a hen who thinks she wants to be a momma. You will usually find her sitting on a pile of eggs that she’s swiped before you can get there to collect them. Now, if you want to let her hatch those cute little puffballs, go for it. Just remember she won’t be laying any of her own during this time. If you don’t want her to hatch little chicks, then carefully remove her from the nest as many times as it takes to break her broodiness. Once she snaps out of it, she will start laying again.
When we started raising chickens, eggs were the ultimate goal. I remember feeling so accomplished when I’d go collect our breakfast, so it was nice when they kept laying! I didn’t realize how attached I’d get to my little feathered friends and now...eggs are just the bonus!
Until next time,
-The Wing Lady