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Why Chickens Stop Laying Eggs (And How to Help)

broody hen

When chickens stop laying eggs, you might feel like you’ve got a coop full of freeloaders eating you out of house and home. 

But the truth is, when egg-laying slows down or stops, there might be a reason that you can remedy!

This article will explain why your chickens stopped laying eggs and what you can do to get the egg factories up and running again. 

So put on your thinking cap so you can help improve egg production in your hen house. 


Illness Can Slow Egg Production


One of the very first things to consider is an illness. Chickens who are under the weather will experience a decrease in egg production.

Think of it like this, if you’re not feeling well, are you running on all cylinders?

The same goes for your chickens.

When they’re sick, their egg production rates drop or stop. 

Look for signs of illness, like respiratory problems, internal or external parasites, or other life-threatening diseases.  We offer a full range of natural poultry health remedies that treat many different illnesses.

In addition to a decrease in egg production, other signs of an illness may include:

  • Isolation
  • Lethargy
  • Change in behavior
  • Decreased appetite
  • Pale combs and wattles
  • Puffed-up feathers
  • Stumbling

Once you’ve either treated the problem or ruled out illness, you can move on to the next possible reason for the decrease in egg production.


Does Your Flock’s Diet Support Optimal Egg-Laying?


Chickens are relatively easy to care for, but they do have specific dietary needs. For example, chickens are omnivores, which means they eat both vegetation and meat (protein). 

And if your chickens aren’t getting the nutrients from their feed, they will not produce eggs at an optimal level. 

Layer feeds are specifically formulated to give your chickens everything they need to produce quality eggs at reasonable rates. 

With that being said, sometimes chickens need a little extra protein, for example. 

If they’re sick, molting, or the weather is extreme, your birds need a little extra help getting through the rough patch. 

Treats and supplements can help you keep your chickens in top form and their egg factories plugging away through the most challenging times. 

Lastly, chickens need grit to digest their food…because they don’t have teeth!

Grit helps break down food after a chicken has chomped it down. So always make sure to supplement with grit so their food can be digested and the nutrition absorbed. 


Stress Can Cause a Decrease in Egg Laying


Once you’ve got health and nutrition checked off your list of possible reasons your chooks have stopped laying eggs, you can consider the stress factor. 

Changes in your flock’s daily routine can cause egg-stopping stress. For example, moving your chickens to a new coop, introducing new birds, or the presence of predators are reasons your chickens could be too stressed to lay eggs. 

Sometimes illness and stress go hand-in-hand. So if you’re bird is sick, it’s also experiencing the stress of its condition. 

If you find that your chicken is stressed or sick, moving it to a dark, comfortable space can help it relax and heal if it is unwell.

On the other hand, if a predator is lurking about, think about putting up cameras to see what is stalking your flock when you’re not around. 

Once you remove the stress, your chickens will be happy to provide you with delicious farm fresh eggs again. 


Eggs Slow Down in Winter


When the days get shorter, egg production slows down naturally. This is due to the decrease in sunlight. 

And can we blame them? We all get a little less Vitamin D during the dark days of winter.

To counter this, some people add natural lighting to their chicken coops to keep chickens laying throughout the winter. But in reality, the slowing of egg production is a natural occurrence. 

And as long as your chickens are protected from severe weather, have the food and fresh water they need, they’ll continue to lay throughout the winter. 

It may not be as much as during the warm months, but chickens don’t usually stop laying entirely if they’re happy and healthy.  We discuss how to keep your chickens warm during Winter in a previous article.


Chickens Change Throughout the Year


In addition to coping with cold winters and slowed egg production, chickens also go through a period of molting. 

This usually happens right before winter…just as it’s getting colder and the days get shorter. 

Molting causes stress for chickens and also makes it more difficult for them to stay warm. 

You can almost always expect your chickens to slow down in the egg department during this time. 

The good news is, giving your chickens protein-packed treats can help get them through an uncomfortable molt with more energy. 


As Chickens Age They Lay Eggs Less


Chickens can lay eggs their entire lives, but as they age, production rates naturally slow down. Instead of 3-5 eggs a week, you may get one or two, for example. 

Older chickens will continue to provide your family with eggs; they just won’t appear in abundance. 

It’s also crucial that you’re ensuring your senior chickens are getting all the right nutrition. 

Because the better they eat, the more eggs they’ll continue to produce in their old age. 

So if you’re chickens slow down, or stop, laying eggs, make sure to look into the most severe causes, like health and nutrition, first. Then move on to the creature comforts that your chooks have come to know and depend on.

Most importantly, rest assured that all chickens will most likely experience a slowed egg-production at some point in their lives. But you can always do something to help your chickens along and soon enough you’ll be harvesting those amazing breakfast eggs once again. 


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