Chicken Not Lating and Eating Less

May 29, 2019
All of my hens are a little over 2.5 years old and most have finished up a molt. A couple returned to laying, but, as the days shortened, they soon stopped. Only one RIR is laying (after a molt). My ISA brown seems to have stopped entirely, which is a first, and my GLW, after starting to lay for a few weeks has also now stopped for a couple weeks or more. I also noticed her crop isn't full like the others in the evening. She will eat treats and mash when I put it out, but still not so much that her crop is full like the others, which worries me. Her vent area is clean, no signs of worms/parasites, and she is active and alert, scratching around with the others when let out (though of all of my flock, she has always been more into the "chill and grill" mindset). Despite not laying, my ISA brown and GLW both have rosy combs and wattles.

So, is it normal for hens to eat less when not actively laying? And is it normal for hens to stop laying this time of year, at their age? They'd laid through the last two winters, but I know they're getting older. Personally, I want them to take the break, but I just want to ensure nothing else is going on. I'm most concerned about my GLW since she is usually a piggy except during a molt.


Scarborough Fair
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
Normal for them to not resume laying until days start lengthening again. Also normal for them to be off their feed while molting, going into molt, and coming out of molt. As long as all the birds are showing otherwise normal behavior and can eat and drink when they want to, during daylight hours, I wouldn't worry about it.


Aug 24, 2019
Pipe Creek, Tx
I have 3 hens, 2- Red Sexlinks and a Barred Rock, out of my flock of 18, the same age as yours, that are not laying. They're eating fine, even though I have noticed the Sexlinks appetite isn't as good as the others, from time to time. They've been thru the molting process with the exception of one Sexlink that looks like it's been molting since last Spring.
Anyhow, I think it's time to retire them to the freezer. Can't afford to be feeding hen's that aren't doing their jobs, but that's just me.

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
12 Years
Nov 12, 2009
western South Dakota
I only feed enough for the day, and have for years. I want the feed pan to be nearly empty when I go in at night. If it is completely empty, I feed a little more the next day, if it is a lot left over, I feed a little less.

My point is, you would think that in a relatively short time, I would have a consistent amount of feed for a stated number of hens. I have done this for years. However, it is always changing. Nothing set in stone about it. Interestingly enough, a sudden severe cold set, and they eat quite a bit less. If the cold snap holds on, then their appetite will come back.

So my point is birds do not eat the same amount each day, or each season, or each temperature.

Active, bright eyed birds do not need worrying over.

Mrs K

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