(First, my apologies for asking a question that I'm sure has already been answered somewhere in the archives) A month ago, our hens took a break from laying when we had our only real heat wave for an otherwise colder-than-than normal summer. (Yeah, I know, most of the country was scorched while our tomatoes rotted in the rain. Go figure.) I figured that was normal, and I had experienced something like it before. It got so hot, the birds would just lay down in the shade and hold their wings out, trying to let some heat out. The last time it happened, they started laying again as soon as the heat wave passed. But not this time. It's now been a month, the weather is now definitely autumn, and we are only getting one or two eggs a day from 9 hens. Here are the things I think I have ruled out: - external parasites: I have dealt with both northern fowl mites and lice before, and we don't have 'em. The birds appear totally healthy. - predators: there is no sign of disruption in the hen house, and no egg shells anywhere on the property, as far as I can tell. - age: most of these girls are two years old, which means they got half a summer of laying last year and this was their first full summer. I know they will start to slow down, but I have had much older birds lay better than what I'm getting now. - day length: sure, I know they will slow down some in the winter, but that doesn't explain the sudden halt in production. It's like someone flipped a switch, and they went from egg factory to nuthin'. - nutrition: they get the same nutrition that has worked for us for years. We've got one feeder of milled layer ration, one feeder of whole wheat grains, free feed oyster shell, huge pasture, constant stream of garden scraps, including lots of cabbage and those mushy tomatoes I mentioned earlier. I appreciate any and all opinions. Thank you for helping me answer this riddle. (edited to add the following) I guess it's possible there's just a perfect storm - the combination of a heat wave, the shorter days, and two year-old birds. I guess what threw me was the way the laying turned off just so suddenly (back in early September, before the daylight hours were very short) and never came back. Also, I should have said there's no sign of molting yet, but that could be a possibility.