Why have my chickens stopped laying?
There are many reasons why your chickens have stopped laying. Every chicken and every breed is different and there are a lot of contributing factors. Many chickens don’t always stop abruptly without a cause, so here are a few things to consider when your chickens have stopped laying.
AGE is just one factor to why your chickens may have stopped laying. Generally you can get up to 3-5 years of decent consistent laying out of a chicken, after that many chickens will slow down egg production. This can be once a week or month. Certain breeds can sustain longer consistent egg production while others will not.
DIET will also play a part in a chicken not laying. A fat hen will not lay and neither will an undernourished hen. Feeding your chickens a complete, healthy, good quality diet will keep them in good condition and able to lay.
DISEASE in any chicken is never good and one sign for a sick chicken is decreased egg production. If you suspect your bird is sick please contact your local vet to discuss.
PARASITES, both internal and external, will affect a chickens ability to lay (and general health). Make sure your worming is up to date and you have checked your flock for signs of Mites and Lice.
MOULTING believe it or not, can also cause your chickens to stop laying. Hens feathers are 80% Protein, so when they are regrowing their feathers a hen will divert all protein to the feathers rather than egg production.
BROODINESS is a very common factor for chickens to go off the lay. When a hen is allowed to sit on eggs she will not lay any others. Hens will accumulate eggs in order to incubate them for hatching – Ensure egg collection occurs daily and keep a close eye on what your flock are up to.
STRESS of any measure on chickens will cause them to stop laying. Some of the more common stresses for chickens are moving (moving house, enclosures etc), Predator attack (snake in their pen?), Death of other flock members, or dogs getting too close for comfort.
WINTER time always brings on the stopping of laying. Light is a triggering factor for egg production. The pituitary gland requires light to create the hormones needed for egg production. To tackle this, you can try using artificial lights to mimic the summer/spring time.