Do chickens cycle through a non laying period?


8 Years
Feb 19, 2011
My chickens have stopped laying. It has been about 2 or 3 months now, maybe less it just seems like forever. I have refused to buy eggs all this time. Fortunately I have ducks but now they have stopped for the winter. Funny thing, I have one lone hen who refuses to hang with the flock that has continued to lay. My friend who used to raise chickens told me that they cycle, starting early in the morning, then later and later throughout the day but of course not at night when they are roosting. So I have to wait until they cycle back to the early morning again. I'm wondering how long does this generally take?
I think what your friend was talking about is the amount of time it takes for an egg to be made. There is a 25 hour timespan between when the ovum is released and the egg is laid. However, hens will usually wait until morning to lay their egg. Your friend is a bit misinformed. The egg won't just disappear because it's nighttime. It will just be held up until morning, then everything goes on as normal.

Because it takes 25 hours (give or take, if something disturbs a hen she might not lay on schedule), you will not get an egg one day.

Are your hens molting? Hens older than one year will molt in fall or winter. This usually lasts around a month, but sometimes longer. Molting will usually stop laying for awhile, but not always. If your hens are missing feathers or looking particularly ragged, they are probably molting.

You may also want to consider some other things that would affect laying:

  • They must always have access to clean, fresh water.
  • For optimal laying they should get 14 hours of daylight. You may need to set up artificial lighting.
  • They should have a clean coop. They should also have plenty of ventilation without being drafty.
  • They should be fed a complete food.
  • They should have comfortable nest boxes.
  • They shouldn't be stressed. Disease, predators, uncomfortable conditions, lack of water, boredom, moving, new housing, new birds, injuries, aggressive roos/hens are all common causes of stress.

That's all I can think of now. Hope this helps!

~~Ms.B :)
Thank you, I will look into all of this. I have had chickens for sometime, they did this once before but before I could figure it out a dog came into my yard and killed most of my chickens so I have been adding new young ones, which I introduced slowly some time ago. Some of my chickens are older and some are just coming into laying. They are also free range during the day, I have checked the entire property, aside from under buildings and nothing.

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