One of the joys of owning backyard chickens is having freshly laid eggs on your kitchen table. Yet, there may come a time when one or many of your chickens stop laying eggs. The reasons can be varied, ranging from age to more serious health concerns.
If your chickens stop laying eggs, then the first culprit is usually their diet. Hens require many nutrients in order to produce eggs, and calcium is the most important of all. If they’re lacking these nutrients, then they won’t be able to lay eggs, or their eggs may end up soft or shell-less. Try changing their feed or adding in supplements such as crushed oyster shells.
In order to lay eggs, your hens need plenty of daylight—at least 14-16 hours per day. This is easy enough during the warmer months, but it can be difficult during the shorter, colder days of fall and winter. If you want consistent egg production, then you can provide artificial light inside the coop. However, you may want to consider giving your hens some time off during the winter. This can give their bodies time to properly rest and recover for next year.
A broody hen is a chicken that has become obsessed with trying to hatch a clutch of eggs. They won’t bother laying new eggs, no matter how much feed or daylight you give them. If you have a broody hen, then follow these steps to break her of this habit.
Sometimes all it comes down to is age. Chickens begin laying eggs between 18-20 weeks, and they’ll continue producing throughout their lifetime. However, the number and frequency will begin to drop with each year. In other words, their first year of laying will be their most productive, and it’ll steadily decline as they get older.
Have further questions about why your chickens aren’t laying any eggs? Then feel free to contact us over at Chickens for Backyards today.