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  • Writer's pictureAnnie

Why Do Chickens Stop Laying Eggs?

Updated: Jan 17

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!

Why Do Chickens Stop Laying Eggs?

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 researched it, as well as learned from my past egg-laying experiences.

8 Reasons Why Chickens Stop Laying Eggs

  1. 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

  2. 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 per year, like the Rhode Island Red and Plymouth Rock, and others lay significantly less. Chickens will eventually “retire” from providing our breakfast after a few years depending on the breed.

  3. 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.

  4. Illness: Whether they are fighting mites, lice or other illnesses, chickens will slow or stop their egg production because they’re trying to fight off their ailment. If you suspect your chicken is ill, reach out to your local veterinarian for treatment options.

  5. 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 boost they need to get through times of stress without becoming ill.

  6. 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 to know they are getting everything they need. I also always add Chicken E-lixir™ to their water. Chicken E-lixir 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.

  7. Treats: One of the reasons my chickens love me so much is because they know they’ll get a handful of scratch, worms or some other leftovers 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, and the other 10 percent can come from treats or snacks like Happy Tract™ and Golden Graze™. Too many treats may cause them to slow down egg production. Also, make sure to check out this list of foods your chickens shouldn't eat.

  8. 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 eggs 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 eggs! 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


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