Hens sometimes go through phases where they will “refuse” to lay eggs for a period of time. This can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you’re raising chickens for the sole purpose of having fresh eggs at home.
There are several different reasons that hens might suddenly stop laying eggs and Chickens for Backyards has some solutions on how to help break the cycle.
In some cases, your hens might not be getting the right nutrients in their diet. In other cases, it might be because your hens are moulting which often happens when the number of daylight hours decrease. Older hens often start to slow down when it comes to laying eggs once they start getting up there in age. Believe it or not, even stress can result in hens that struggle to lay eggs.
If you’ve noticed that your hen isn’t producing as many eggs as it used to, first make sure that your hen is healthy and hasn’t contracted a disease that might prevent her from laying eggs. If the hen’s health checks out and isn’t the problem, there are a few simple steps you can take to see if you can get your hen to start laying eggs. You might find that these tips help get your hen back on the right track again.
Change your hen’s diet.
Are you providing your chickens with high-quality feed? If not, there’s a chance your hens might not be getting all of the nutrients they need to produce eggs. While you don’t necessarily have to purchase the most expensive feed on the market, you should double check what you’re feeding your chickens and think about upgrading their diets. Hens need about 20 grams of protein to lay a single egg so their feed should be packed with protein. They can also benefit from feed that is rich in vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorous. Additionally, you should make sure chickens have access to fresh water at all times.
Clean your hen’s nest boxes.
Even if hens want to lay eggs, many of them won’t do it if they aren’t provided with clean nest boxes. You should clean out the nest boxes in your chicken coop regularly. They should be outfitted with fresh, comfortable bedding at all times, and you should replace the bedding once it starts to get worn down. You should also discourage your hens from using their nest boxes to sleep. Some hens will refuse to lay eggs in the same space where they rest at night, so encourage them to use their roosts to sleep instead of their nest boxes.
Use “fake eggs” to entice your hens.
There are some hens that need to be trained to lay eggs in their nest boxes. Many farmers have found that you can train them by purchasing fake ceramic eggs and placing them into your nest boxes so that hens know where to go when it’s time to lay eggs. This might sound a little silly at first, but many people who raise chickens have found that it actually works.
Leave your hens in their coop until the middle of the morning.
Most hens prefer to lay their eggs at some point early in the morning. So if you allow them to leave their coop too early, you could actually hinder their ability to lay eggs. If you want to increase the chances of them laying eggs for you, you should make an effort to leave them in their coop until at least the middle of the morning. This will give them all the time they need to lay their eggs in their nest boxes.
Set up artificial lighting sources in the wintertime.
It can be very challenging to get hens to lay eggs once winter starts. Most hens stop producing as many eggs as usual during the wintertime because of the lack of sunlight. You can combat this by setting up artificial lighting inside of your coop. You should make an effort to provide about 14 hours of lighting to your hens between natural sunlight and the artificial lighting you set up. That amount of light should help your hens to continue to lay eggs even once it gets cold outside.
While it can be difficult to deal with hens that won’t lay eggs, you can usually get them to do it eventually by practicing patience and making them as comfortable as possible in their coops.
Interested starting a flock of your own? Chickens for Backyards can help you get started. Call us at 888-412-6715 today to place an order or visit our website for more information on how to get in touch.