~~~Non-broody Hen Stops Laying Eggs, But Why??


In the Brooder
10 Years
Mar 8, 2009
Florida Keys
My one year old Ameraucana was laying 3 days on/1 day off, then 2 on/1 off, then 1 on/1 off, declining for the last few months. I assumed it was the unbearable heat we have had this summer (and are still having).
Now she hasn't laid for about 6 days. She looks fine and is acting fine and eating. The only thing I can think is that we had 2 weeks of "floods" due to unusually high tides and the chicken yard was under water for much of that time. We built little bridges to keep them dry, plus they had their coop, but were obviously stressed about it.
She doesn't appear broody as she isn't staying on the nest at all.
Can that stress make her stop laying or are there other reasons a healthy, young hen would stop?
She might just be starting to molt. I copied this from another web page:

Molting is a natural process that allows the hen to replace old, worn feathers and rejuvenates her oviduct, the organ that “makes” eggs. With the molt, the hen puts the bulk of her energy into feather growth, leaving little for egg production.

Natural molting is a seasonal process related to changes in day length. It usually occurs in the fall after chicks fledge, but in domestic birds it can occur at any time, especially if the hen is exposed to some stress. Rapid feather loss by the entire flock usually is the result of a serious stressful event such as lack of water and/or feed or lighting problems.

Even with a lighting program, hens eventually molt. When molting during long-day periods, the molt often is not complete, and hens may never be restored to full production. It is a good idea to allow hens to molt during their second winter. By turning off the lights for about 6 weeks during the winter, the birds will molt more completely and then can be placed on long days again to resume egg production.
Wow! I had never heard about that, although being new to chickens I am sure there is a lot I don't know. Thank you so much for that post!

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