Why are my chickens not laying?

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by sheltonmoser, Dec 2, 2013.

  1. sheltonmoser

    sheltonmoser Hatching

    Dec 2, 2013
    I have had my chickens a little less then a year and being new to have chickens i don't know why they are laying eggs. When I first got them they were laying fine but as soon as they started molting they stopped and now that they have been done molting sense before Halloween. I was just wondering why they still wont lay eggs and if there is anything i could do to help them lay.
  2. bdjh

    bdjh Chirping

    Aug 7, 2013
    It may be due to the reduced amount of daylight?

    I know our 7 girls have dropped from 6-7 per day to 3-4.

    I don't know how common it is for them to stop altogether......it may be dependent on the breed?

    Of the 7 we have, we have two white egg layers (leghorns), and I can't remember the last time I had a white egg......so they've almost stopped completely.

    The barred rocks, on the other hand, seem to be laying as strong as ever.
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    I copied and pasted this from a newsletter I put out.

    ~~Once pullets commence laying, they go like gangbusters through fall, winter, spring and summer. Then, normally the second autumn and every one thereafter they will molt, which ranges from 1 to 4 months depending on weather they do a hard or soft molt. A hard molt will be obvious, a soft molt not so much. During molt they lay very few eggs, if any at all. It takes a lot of protein and energy to grow a new winter down coat. So, aside from the super laying one sees the first year or two of laying, production drops year after year.
    ~~Light is the number one factor for healthy birds to continue laying. Adding a light on a timer bright enough to read a newspaper by at roost height will do the trick. When I do so, I have it come on at 4 AM or on at dusk and stay on for 4 hours. It's better to gradually increase the time. Healthy chickens also quit laying when they molt. During the molt their reproductive tract gets a much needed rest and overhaul. That's normally the second autumn and every year thereafter. It often seems like they're laying every day and just stop. Usually you'll see feathers everywhere and scruffy chickens but they can do a less noticeable soft molt. At any rate they don't start laying again until the new winter coat is completely grown. That can take anywhere from a month or the break could be all winter. If they're molting, adding light doesn't help. Increasing the protein in the diet helps them grow new feathers. That's usually done by switching from layer feed to grower. The other option is to just let them take a break. When hatched, a chick already has all the eggs it will ever lay in its life. The choice is whether you want all the eggs the first few years or let them take a break and lay for 10 years or more. Because chickens die from so many things (predators, disease, etc.) a lot of people choose the former and start over again when laying slows considerably. I choose the latter because their bodies really do need a break from constant laying.
    ~~Non laying birds should have a grower feed(low calcium). Birds in production need a layer feed. If you have a mixed flock(laying and non-laying) feed a grower and provide oyster shell in a separate container for the layers to eat as the feel the need. Non laying birds can be harmed consuming 4% calcium layer feed.
    1 person likes this.
  4. cgmccary

    cgmccary Songster

    Sep 14, 2007
    NE Alabama
    The shortening days is the primary reason this time of year for hens not laying (decreasing daylight). It is a hormonal response that is regulated by a small gland, called the pineal gland.

    Other reasons for decreased laying can be inadequate nutrition (not usually the case if you are feeding one of the commercial feeds) i.e. inadequate protein or a shortage of calcium. They also need plenty of fresh water. A laying hen drinks 1-2 cups of water per day.

    You also did not say how old your hens are -- increasing age means less eggs. The hen lays more eggs her first year than any other year (or the first two egg cycles of about 60 days each.).

    Any kind of stress can reduce egg laying. Molting stops egg laying. Breeds vary in the number of eggs they lay in a season ( e.g. Leghorn vs. Cornish).

    However, laying eggs every day or not taking a break is not reasonable. The hen needs a break so her body can replenish. These natural cycles of not laying are healthy for the bird. In other words, they are not laying machines.
  5. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Welcome to BYC - as others have stated, it is all about the photo period.
  6. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    [​IMG] Maybe the chickens are unionized and strike every winter -[​IMG]
  7. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging Premium Member

    Feb 18, 2011
    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC!

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