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    10 Reasons Chickens Stop Laying Eggs

    Authored by Jemma Petts

     Flock egg production can slow for many reasons. If your birds aren't producing as expected, these reasons could be the culprit:

    1. Shorter daylight hours

    Winter brings shorter daylight hours, signaling to chickens it’s time for rest. Your hen has two glands – the hypothalamus and the pineal gland – that can ‘sense’ the change in sunlight. Just like you and me, the pineal gland in birds regulates the circadian rhythm and produces more melatonin in the winter months. It’s that natural rhythm that allows your flock to muster up the energy for staying warm in those chilly months.

    2. Weather patterns

    You know the winter months’ loss of daylight signals birds to take a break and rest. The weather can also bring a delay to egg production. Harshly warm summers, long-lasting high winds and record-breaking cold temperatures across the country have affected egg production, produce and livestock.

    3. Molting season

    Chickens grow a new set of feathers for the winter months. This act of shedding and growth is called molting and usually will take place as winter approaches. Egg production is expected to slow during molting, some birds may even stop laying all together during this time.

    4. Coop stressors

    Overcrowding, aggressive hens, outside predators, unfamiliar noises can all cause stress for your flock. If birds are experiencing stress, egg production can slow.

    5. Age

    Hens will gradually lay less as they get older. Peak production comes at 8 months and declines each year. You can expect this pattern of decline until a bird is 10 or 12 years at which point, she may stop laying eggs.

    6. Nutrition and water

    Imbalanced rations or improper feeding, incorrect supplements, or water deprivation due to freezing water or excessive drinking can cause stress on your flock. If your birds are eating less than usual or are eating but are suffering from poor nutrition, laying numbers can suffer.

    7. Wrong breed

    The chickens in your flock may not be bred for heavy egg production. Many of the great looking breeds don’t have the laying ability like other birds.

    8. Weight gain

    Feeding too much or passing out lots of treats can cause weight gain, especially on cold hardy breeds. This excess fat will disrupt a hen’s egg production.

    9. Egg eating

    A common issue among flocks, egg eating can occur for many reasons. You may also find you have an outside predator that’s been sharing your egg pile, such as a snake or rat.

    10. Health issues

    If nothing you’ve tried helps boost laying, health concerns could be the culprit. Parasites, disease and internal laying can all keep your bird from egg production. Keep a close eye on your flock if you notice additional symptoms like weight loss and depression.

    More chicken care information

    Want to learn how to clean your chicken coop? Follow our 6 steps for safely and effectively cleaning your coop to keep your chickens healthy and comfortable.
    Chickens can live in cold weather, but there are a few things they need to stay healthy. Learn about proper heating, airflow & nutrition for your flock this winter.