What could be the problem? My chickens are not laying eggs yet!
Considering the above statement I can’t help but place you in either of these categories;
1. Your hens are above 22 weeks and still haven’t dropped an egg.
2. Or let’s say your chickens were laying eggs and at some point, they stopped. I mean just stopped!!!
3. Even after buying the best chicken breeds for eggs, still no eggs.
4. To push a little further, maybe you are just one of those farmers wondering “when do chickens start laying eggs regularly?”.
5. Or you’re just a new farmer being egg-apprehensive.
Whichever category you fall into, we are going to tell you why your chickens stopped laying eggs.
Also, you will learn why they are not laying eggs at all.
In our previous article, we talked about how many eggs a chicken lays in a week.
And it’s not out of place to expect eggs and not get some even after feeding the flocks fermented chicken feed.
So, without further ado, let’s find out what could be wrong with your chickens!!
Why are my chickens not laying eggs?
Whether a breed of chicken is prolific or not, there might come a time when they will stop egg-laying.
This we can attribute to many factors within and some beyond your control.
Some on the other hand can be easy to figure out while the others can be like finding X in algebra.
However, we’ve made the complex matter simple by bringing together the top reasons why egg-laying chicken breeds stop laying.
15 common reasons why your chickens are not laying eggs yet
Below, you will find a list of the common reasons why even the chickens that lay large eggs stop laying.
Also, we have included the solutions we have seen bring a turnaround to this “not-good-for-the-business” situation.
The list includes;
1. Annual molt cause chickens to stop laying:
When we talk about molting, we refer to a period when chickens shed their feathers.
This occurs periodically and lasts for about 16 weeks. And when chickens molt, they will stop laying eggs.
Molting is pretty very stressful and uses up a lot of protein in the chicken.
During this process, the hens cannot lay eggs and molt simultaneously.
Therefore, one has to give way to the other. And unfortunately, it’s the eggs that will have to wait.
Because this is a natural phenomenon, there is nothing much you can do.
But you can help your egg-laying buddies by increasing the protein content of their feed.
At this point, we recommend a 20% protein or higher during the molt.
Check out “what do chickens eat“ for details.
2. Decreased daylight affects egg-laying perfomance:
Just maybe you do not have any idea, but the more the light, the more the eggs.
In our article, poultry farm equipment for starters, we talked about the importance of light on the farm.
The rate at which chickens lay eggs is highly proportional to the number of daylight hours they get.
By nature, chickens need about 12 hours of daylight to maintain their egg-laying ability.
14-16 hours of daylight will keep them at peak production.
And that means more eggs!!!
Provide more light.
Beyond nature’s light, it’s important you provide artificial light on the farm.
With this, you can override nature and have your hens lay through the winter months.
A sixty watt light bulb is enough to get them going again.
Keep in mind that chickens lay eggs during the day.
So it’s best to keep the light shining at the beginning of the day rather than the end.
3. Old age may lead to fewer egg production:
One of the reasons why your chickens are not laying eggs is because they are old.
This condition will vary with the chicken breed.
Some breeds will get to old age faster than others.
For instance, the Red Rangers and Golden Comets will only lay eggs for 2-3 years at best.
Sadly, there is no cure for old age.
All you can do is get more of the best chicken breeds for eggs.
4. Salpingitis is a disease that can negatively affect egg-laying:
What is that?
Just before you freak out, Salpingitis is the inflammation of a hen’s oviduct.
Yes, it is!
Usually, it’s caused by bacteria which can either be the Mycoplasma gallisepticum, Escherichia coli, Salmonella or Pasteurella multocida.
This is one of the hardest to spot reasons why chickens are not laying eggs yet.
But how do you know?
Chickens with this infection usually go off lay and then start to lay lash eggs.
Trust me you don’t want to see a lash egg.
Very gross!!! It’s a mass of dead tissue and solid pus laid by the hen.
Once you find out, let the veterinarian treat it.
Sadly, you only know of this when the hen has laid a lash egg or perhaps died.
5. Predator attacks make chickens to live in fear and affect laying:
It’s quite hard to believe that birds too have emotions.
And when this emotion is hampered, it affects their psychology.
If a hen suffers from a serious scare or predator attack, she will most likely stop laying eggs for a while.
Like humans, birds undergo stress reactions.
And predator attacks make them have this post-traumatic stress reaction which affects their egg-laying ability.
If the hen had an injury from the incident, treat it.
Then place the hen in a quiet and dark environment with lots of food and water.
Above all, these chickens suffering from this psychological trauma will need time before they start laying eggs.
6. Malnutrition results in poor egg production:
Next on our list of reasons why your chickens are not laying eggs is malnutrition.
This particular topic is a headache for most farmers.
Often this makes them wonder what do chickens eat?
Now, whenever the term malnutrition comes to mind, you picture skinny starving birds.
But we want to let you know that obese chickens are also malnourished.
Just in a different way this time.
Food is really essential for egg-laying.
To keep your hens laying eggs, they need to be in good shape.
And that means you need to provide them with balanced nutrition.
One balanced feed we recommend is the organic chicken feed.
Check out our article on how to make organic chicken feed.
Also, you can make provision for formulated feed. Ensure you feed your flock with feeds supplied by the industry.
Also, you can supplement their diet by giving them treats and mealworms.
7. Hot weather can make your chickens to stop laying eggs:
One other factor that affects the egg-laying ability of chickens is the weather. Hot weather most precisely.
Most birds are cold hardy but they can not tolerate heat.
If the weather becomes too hot for your chickens then they will start to lay fewer eggs.
It’s more like a physiological response to environmental stress.
Usually, the ideal temperature for laying eggs is 65-75°F.
At 85-90°F, the egg size and quality will start to reduce.
Anything above 90°F, the chickens will stop laying eggs.
At over 100°F, death may occur.
Although controlling the temperature may be quite impossible, you can provide shade for them.
Also, make the water supply steady and fresh. Station fans, frozen treats and water sprinklers at strategic places to keep them cool.
6. Dehydration is another factor that affects egg laying chickens:
When chickens do not get enough water as and when needed, it can cause a reduction in egg production.
A steady supply of clean fresh water every day (you can use automatic waterers) will keep the chickens laying all week.
During winter the water can freeze.
It’s best to heat up their water using heated drinkers.
Also, you can add electrolyte powder to the drinker so that the birds can maintain their electrolyte balance.
Ensure your chickens always have access to freshwater.
9. Overbreeding can reduce egg production on your farm:
When you have just a rooster among the hens, then that is an unpleasant recipe for stress and injury.
Constant harassment from that regular guy can make the hens “lock-up”.
Most times the hens hide from the “bad boy in the block”.
And that affects the rate at which they lay eggs.
Variety, they say, is the spice of life.
If this is the case with your chickens, you can make them start laying eggs again by introducing a new rooster.
Every girl looks out for the “new guy in the block” so does the hens.
Also, you can place the rooster on schedule.
Give him one or two days each week to do his duty after which is corralled.
During this period the hens can have time and recover from the harassment of being mated at every opportunity.
10. Stress can be a reason why your chickens are not laying eggs:
Stress may be one of the reasons why your chickens are not laying eggs.
Can chickens become stressed?
Of course, they are. More than you think.
Once they are stressed, they can go off their feed and stop laying eggs.
Here are some things that stress the birds;
- Change of feed
- Predator attacks.
- Change of routine
- Moving to a new coop.
- Overly amorous roosters.
- New additions to the flock
- Too hot and too cold weather.
The less the changes the better. Set a routine and stick to it.
11. Parasites affects chicken egg production:
Another factor on our list of reasons why your chickens took a break from laying eggs is parasites.
Parasites have no good relationship with birds.
Its discomforting presence can pose a strain on the chickens.
The presence of lice and mites is enough to stop your chickens from laying eggs.
These parasites suck the chicken’s blood.
And a large infestation can leave a bird weak and anaemic.
Carry out a regular checkup over your flock and treat infestations if detected.
Also, you need to re-treat them after seven days to kill all the new insects.
12. Seasonal laying in hens:
Sometimes, any of the above lists may not be the reason why your chickens are not laying eggs.
Some chickens lay in seasons.
Whereas, some are winter sensitive.
There is absolutely not more you can do than provide them with more light.
13. Chicken drama can affect egg produciton:
Yes, chickens have drama too!
Some just act it out and refuse to lay eggs!
And sadly, there’s nothing much you can do about it.
Let them enjoy their drama.
They will still come around to lay good eggs.
14. You chicken can stop laying eggs because of an illness:
Just maybe those egg-laying buddies of yours are not feeling well.
Production of eggs really slows down if the chickens are sick.
Take them to a vet and give them time to heal.
15. A hen may not lay more eggs if she is broody:
When a hen is broody, she only wants to sit on her eggs.
If you allow your hen to sit on her eggs, she gets a signal in her brain to stop laying new eggs.
All her focus and energy will be to hatch those eggs she has laid.
Eventually, she will stop laying more eggs.
If you want more eggs, then always remove the eggs from the chicken nest boxes as soon as they lay.
By removing the eggs immediately after the chickens lay, you stop them from developing that broody instinct.
Hence, they will continue to lay more eggs for you.
Answers to common questions about reasons why your chickens are not laying eggs
What do I do when my chicken stops laying eggs?
Find out what the problem is.
With the list above you have a foundation on what you can look out for.
Once you detect it, address it.
If there’s no solution like the “age factor” you can just get more new pullets.
How do I encourage my chickens to lay eggs?
Provide enough nest boxes appealing and attractive colours.
Regularly collect their eggs.
How many days can a chicken go without laying an egg?
Usually, it takes a day, all things being equal. However, if the hen is broody, it may take up to 21 days.
What is the average lifespan of a laying hen?
Most laying hens live about five to 10 years.
Conclusion: Reasons why chickens are not laying eggs
The above-mentioned list might not be exhaustive, but we have given you the tip of the iceberg.
If you follow the solutions we proffered, you’ll get them back to laying as quickly as possible.
We hope this piece has helped and given you some ideas on how to get your hens laying eggs again.
- Types of Poultry Housing and Poultry Housing Systems
- Newcastle Disease; Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention Tips
- Poultry Farm Equipment: All You Need to Start Poultry Farming
- Chickens Are Not Laying Eggs Yet? See 15 Common Reasons and Solution
- What Can You Feed Chickens to Make Them Lay Eggs?
- What is a Pullet chicken?