Why aren't all my chickens laying eggs?


10 Years
May 10, 2009
I have 17 Rhode Island Reds that are only laying 9 or 10 eggs daily. There was one day when I first got them (about two months ago) when I got 15 eggs. Why aren't I getting more eggs?
Many only lay an egg every other day or even every third day. Some hens are not as productive as others.

The only way to KNOW who is laying an who isn't is either to go into the coop and watch and mark the hen OR get different food colorings and test four hens at a time by using a Q tip to paint their vent. If you get an egg with a color, you know that hen has laid and you can mark her.. then move on to the next four.
It will also depend on how old they are and lots of other things, it seems like a lot of people are having low egg numbers due to the weather. They could also be moulting.

There are a number of reasons for a drop in egg numbers.

If they are new ( 2 months) how are you keeping them, if they are free ranging are you sure they are not laying in a secret little spot that you have not found yet?

AS long as they all use nest boxes I am sure they will soon be back up to higher numbers.
They're all over a year old but I've only had them for a couple of months. We have them in a mobile chicken tractor that allows them to have fresh grass "downstairs" and their food and nesting boxes are "upstairs". The 9 or 10 eggs a day has been pretty consistent in the last month. We did have a fox problem so I figured they were stressed out but we haven't had any fox attacks for about a month. Before the fox, I would get into the low teens for eggs each day.

How do I paint their vent? Sounds a little easier than inserting fingers which I'm not inclined to do!

I'm really glad I found this website. Being new to chickens, I've had a lot of questions that have been answered by scrolling through this forum. Thanks everyone!
Yea,it's annoying,isn't it?I find quick changes in temperture does stop production as well as molting.When production slows I have marked some eggs for hatching and allowed the hens to sit on them,taking the few extras.Since it takes 3 weeks or so I usually remove the eggs after a week,feed them to my dogs & the hens seem to start laying again.But this may be a coincidence but has worked for me in both summer & winter.
sinse your girls are RIRs then they are yellow skinned. that means you can tell who is laying the most by the fact that the yellow in their feet around eyes will look washed out or fadded, the same thing that colors those items on them also color the egg yolk.

I wouldn't worry to much. I've got 8 layers, and for about 2 to 3 weeks, I was averaging about 3 a day! Now, they seem back on track. Oh, also I know for sure, one of my BR is moulting, so I don't expect her to be laying right now. It should pick up for you shortly.

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