Chickens are genuinely spectacular creatures that are often undermined.
You see, up until recently, chickens were seen as nothing more than a meal or a means to get fresh eggs.
But, studies from expert ornithologists have proved that chickens are intelligent beings with social order and emotional IQ.
So, when your beloved chickens stop laying eggs, you should know that there must be a just cause behind the sudden rebellion.
Chickens stop laying eggs for various reasons ranging from a dirty coop to malnutrition.
Hence, let’s jump right into the subject and discover what might be amiss with your flightless birds and why they might put a stopper to laying eggs.
What Causes Chickens To Suddenly Stop Laying? (7 Possible Reasons)
Chickens usually start to lay eggs around 18 – 22 weeks old.
However, you must ensure that your flock receives a precise amount of sunlight, adequate nutrition, and hygienic housing.
In the absence of these fundamental requirements, there is a strong possibility that your hens will stop laying hens.
Yet, there are other factors to consider, too, such as:
If you aren’t providing a safe and hygienic home for your hens, they’ll likely stop laying eggs.
A dirty coop will be where the nesting materials are filthy or wet, where the place gives off a stench, or the area is infested with bugs or parasites, or all of the above.
In such a scenario, your chickens are going to become stressed.
In many cases, backyard chicken raisers failed to present their flock with a clean environment; the hens did not just stop laying eggs; many even fell ill.
Furthermore, a dirty coop can threaten your chickens’ well-being as it is more prone to attract predators such as snakes, rodents, or foxes.
The fumes that emit from an unclean coop are unmistakable and often work to hail predators near and far.
Also, chickens are pretty organized creatures, but in a dirty coop, your hens will lose sight of calm and go into stress mode.
Some hens revert to eating their eggs too.
Egg laying comes naturally to all hens. But, it would be imprudent to believe that all breeds of chickens have the same egg-laying capacity.
Some breeds of chickens are superb layers, whereas others make excellent meat providers.
In such a situation, where the breed of a hen makes a difference in the number of eggs laid, there is little you can do.
However, if you aim to breed chickens for eggs, you should go for breeds like White Leghorn or Rhode Island Reds.
Raising a flock of healthy chickens means that you have to manage their diet.
Chickens need protein and various other nutrients to grow healthy and lay eggs.
The quality of the layer feed offered to the chickens makes a remarkable difference to the number of eggs laid and the quality of the albumen and yolk.
Change Of Weather
You should know that chickens need a good amount of exposure to sunlight.
That’s the way to ensure your flock stays fit.
Without sunlight, hens stop laying eggs.
A minimum number of 14 – 16 hours of daylight is a must for chickens, and the lack of sunlight will affect the well-being of your entire flock and will create a decided impact on the egg laying capacity of your hens.
When a chicken becomes broody, it’ll stop laying eggs and work on hatching them.
It takes 21 days for eggs to hatch, and hens sit on their eggs for most of that time.
You can forget about getting your flock to lay eggs during such a time.
Additions To The Flock
If you introduce a couple of new hens to the coop, you can expect that there will be much commotion among your flock.
You see, chickens are social beings that maintain a hierarchy of authority.
Hence, the moment that order is uprooted, there is anarchy.
Egg laying will be put off by your hens until there is a new pecking order.
Chickens go through a process known as molting, where the flock will lose their feathers and regrow new feathers.
During molting, chickens divert their energy from egg laying to regrowing their feathers.
How Long Can A Chicken Go Without Laying An Egg?
Broody chickens may not lay eggs for up to 21 days.
In general, hens start to lay eggs by 18 – 20 weeks.
You’ll have the most steady supply of eggs in the first three years of a chicken’s life.
As the chickens age, the production of eggs gets tapered off.
Chickens also tend to lay fewer or no eggs during winters or autumn when their focus is shifted from egg laying to growing back their new feathers.
What To Do When Chickens Stop Laying Eggs?
You must first check their standard requirements, such as an adequate diet, necessary sunlight, and a clean coop.
Also, ensuring that your flock always has access to clean drinking water is vital.
But, if your chickens aren’t laying eggs because of their genetics, there’s nothing you can do.
As mentioned earlier, some breeds of chickens lay more eggs than others.
Yet, if it’s the season hindering egg laying in your chickens, you can try placing a light hooked to a timer inside the coop.
There are also techniques to prevent a chicken from becoming broody such as removing your hen from its nest, placing a cold water bottle in the nest to reduce your hen’s body temperature, or moving any nesting material away from the coop.
How Do I Encourage My Chickens To Lay Eggs?
Apart from ensuring that your chickens always have enough sunlight, food, clean drinking water, and hygienic living conditions, there are a few tweaks that you can make that will go a long way in encouraging your birds to lay eggs.
Placing a feeder bowl full of feed close to the coop helps de-stress hens.
When chickens think there is ample food to eat, their thoughts move away from survival to egg-laying.
Next, you can change to a high protein diet when your hens are molting.
By doing so, the hens will get over the molt quickly and get to egg-laying in no time.
Moreover, you can introduce more egg-laying breeds to the flock.
It would help if you did so with extreme care as newer members in the flock mean an upset social order, which could mean a decline in egg laying for some time.
Taking care of a flock of chickens is relatively easy, but you must learn to understand the slight nuances of your hens to ensure that your flock stays happy and provides you with the most eggs.