poor laying by young hens

spunky chick

9 Years
Jun 7, 2010
I have 4 hens and 1 rooster (all different breeds). They are all 1.33 yrs old. Starting laying last year of course and even did great throughout the winter. Now the only one laying consistently (4-5 eggs/wk) is the Ameraucana. The rest Speckled sussex, buff orp, white brahma are maybe only laying 4-5 eggs between them a week. The eggs are good sized with firm shells. No one is acting broody. This is a decrease even from what they were laying this winter!!!! They already have gone through their spring molt (I think). They receive chicken layer pellets (free choice), crushed shells in their chicken yard, and get to run amuck in the rest of my lush yard 2-3 hrs per day. They are otherwise seemingly healthy and look beautiful. Could they be too heavy??? Is there a way to guage if they are getting too fat????
I have learned so much from this site, that I would really appreciate any advice
Hi and Welcome to the site. Yes there is a way to gauge their body fat, their was an article in Backyard Poultry regarding this not long ago...in the article it showed pictures checking the fat...you needed to pinch the fat between the vent and pelvic bone I believe to see if your hens were fat, 1/4" was great, I think, more than that too heavy and it also showed that the vent was yellowish. I don't know if the article is on line or not, but you could check. Also, my hubby looks under the wings for excess fat/heavy yellow coloring to indicate how fat they are......I had mine to fat, have limited the feed and let them out as much as I can and they have started to do some better, but are still not doing what I think they should...I have 36 hens and average 20-22 eggs a day...so I still haven't figured out whats going on, half are about 2yrs. old the others just over a year. Good luck!


10 Years
Feb 6, 2009
After that terrific initial laying period (5-11mo.) there are lots of things that come into play. First, they do just slow down. Second, they will molt. Third, some go broody. Last fall, I had 8 mo. old Ameraucanas that were putting my 2 y.o. GLW to shame!

At 1.33 years, your girls are "no Spring chickens."

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