If you are raising your chicken for the eggs, then it should be a huge concern when they stop laying eggs. It will be a huge loss for you, even if you are running a small backyard chicken farm. It may means spending too much money on feeding and getting nothing in return. If you are raising your chickens as part of an enterprise, you will certainly be incurring losses.
But chickens not laying eggs anymore may also point to something more serious such as a sudden bout of infections affecting your flock. As a farmer, and as part of your day to day management of your farm, it is important to keep track of the number of eggs laid by your chickens so that when there is a sudden drop, you will know instantly.
Chickens may stop laying eggs for a number of reasons. However, it is still possible to make a “recovery effort” and return them to their peak performance. So don’t rush out just yet to buy your eggs from the supermarket.
Here is a look at some of the common reasons why your chickens are not laying eggs anymore:-
This is the most common reason why your chickens may stop laying eggs. Something could be wrong with their diets. Look at your feeding routine and determine if you have recently changed anything or even the brand of your regular feed mash that you are presently feeding your chickens.
Changing the diet can lead to a drastic drop in egg production or even cause your chickens to stop laying altogether. Farmers generally see a sudden drop in egg production within a very short period of time if there is an issue with the diet.
Whatever you are feeding your chickens must also be well balanced as this will ensure their bodies will be well nourished to enable them produce eggs optimally. If your layers are struggling to lay eggs, consider adding snacks that are rich in protein content like mealworms, oats and pumpkin seeds.
Water is also very important for the chickens that lay eggs. If your chickens have no access to fresh water throughout the day, the egg production will begin dropping sharply. As we have stated in a previous post, chickens rarely forgive if you fail to supply them with sufficient water and the production is likely to drop sharply.
Sometimes, your chickens may be getting the right diet and right amount of water but still not laying due to insufficient light. For your girls to lay plenty of eggs, they need lots of NATURAL daylight exposure. At least 14 hours a day of exposure is ideal though you can extend it up to 16 hours for optimal exposure.
During the winters when your chickens have less exposure to lighting, it is advisable to supplement the lighting with some artificial lighting for optimal laying performance. You can simply put artificial lighting in the chicken coop and set up some automatic timer to switch it offer after a set number of hours. This will help keep your egg production high. However, during the winters, your chickens also need plenty of rest so that they can recover the following year so it is not always advisable to push them to the limit.
Your Hens are Broody
The egg laying performance can also go down considerably if your chickens are broody. They may be well fed, have plenty of fresh water and good exposure to sunshine but still fail to lay eggs if they are exhibiting broodiness. A hen gets broody when it wants to hatch its own chicks. There are various ways through which you can break the broodiness so they can continue laying. Alternatively, you may simply sell them or give them away when they become broody so you can acquire a new batch of pullets.
Some of the signs of a broody hen include the following:-
- They can sit in their nest boxes for the whole day.
- The hen becomes territorial and will get aggressive at anything getting close to her eggs.
- The hen will shed off the breast feathers so she can give the eggs the heat from her body to create conducive condition for hatching.