Why Aren't My Chickens Laying? Here Are Your Answers!

oldhenlikesdogs

Suffering Succotash
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
Jul 16, 2015
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Thanks I’ll review the feed etc to make sure. I can’t see any obvious signs of illness. Anything I should look out for?
If they are eating, drinking and scratching about they generally are okay. Reproductive problems won't necessarily make them sick so if there's damage to the ovary the hen would stop laying.

How old is this hen? Some hens have a significant drop in production after 2-3 seasons.

I recommend a feed with 18-20% protein to optimize laying.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Suffering Succotash
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
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I also forgot to ask where are you located? My hens are all molting now so production has stopped in many. I generally won't see eggs again until after December or January here.
 

416bigbore

Chick-O-Treat !
Premium Feather Member
Jun 11, 2020
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In fall/winter, especially, this question is sometimes asked several times a day. The article has your answers!

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1957/20763/pnw565.pdf

Generally, your answers are:

Decreasing day length
Molt
Broodiness
Flock health
Age
Poor nutrition
Stress

See article for the full explanation of each cause.


Adding articles to supplement the first one since some don't feel it was entirely correct--the main problem is that you can't generalize about all hens, but you have to consider the general information as your starting point. The basic causes listed are correct.

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ps029
http://www.thepoultrysite.com/articles/723/troubleshooting-egg-production-problems
Great Information, :) I was getting worried, I thought I was going to have to hang a picture of Colonel Sanders up in the Coop for inspiration! :lau
 

oldhen2345

Songster
Jun 22, 2015
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East Texas
Great Information, :) I was getting worried, I thought I was going to have to hang a picture of Colonel Sanders up in the Coop for inspiration! :lau
I really enjoyed the info. I was thinking of putting up pictures of the new chicks to let those hens know their replacements are here and if they don't start to lay, their name goes on the list of hens for sale in the spring. My five year old Mottled Orpington, Missy, is looking thin and raggedy these days. She is molting, but has lost weight too- her neck is long and thin where it wasn't so much before. I will be surprised if she is here in the spring- I don't think she is aging well. She doesn't act sick, just starting to look old and raggedy. 😢
 

PDXJULES

Songster
Great Oregon Extension Services article. Thanks! We acquired our chicks at Easter in 2009 and they produced their first eggs in about June of that year. We didn't know any different, and apparently neither did they, because they produced well into the fall. 10 hens, about 9 eggs per day from the lot! Lots' of double yolks in mega-eggs as well. ...(snipped)

Anyhow, this past fall, as of about Oct. 15th, they all simultaneously stopped laying for all intents and purposes, over about 2 weeks. This accompanied their recovery from both natural molt and their own internal bickering (they were in too small a run area; 8 birds [one died from disease] in about 80 sq. ft. ... (snipped)

As of this past two weeks, despite bitter cold and wind (-8˚ F some nights) they are now coming back on-line. I didn't like the article's mention that they will really slow down at about 18 mo, and then stop at about 3 years, since I'm there @ 18 months now, but my local egg-raising friend says that's just not so. She has chickens well over 4 years old that produce about 3 - 4 eggs per week.

Question: the hen that the dog killed became a slightly tough slow-cooked chicken stew dinner. (BTW, that ended the controversy about whether you could eat a pet hen you'd named. Didn't seem logical to just toss her...) I took the opportunity to do a bit of an internal physiological examination (I am a wildlife biologist after all...) and noted with great interest the oviduct layout inside Piccolo. The starting point is a cluster of already-formed tiny egg yolk sacs, a cluster of, I estimated, about 120 of them ranging in size from <1mm to about 6-8mm.

The connecting duct had 3 yolks in it, ranging in size from about 1cm (10mm) up to about 18 - 20mm (just under one inch). I wondered if they have a set number of egg yolks, as in human females, and when they're gone, that's it. I'll assume there's a few other very tiny little proto-egg yolk sacs developing under the cluster of visible ones, yes? Anyone know the answer to that?

(snipped)
Max potential from a recent study I read - is IF all initial undeveloped Pullet eggs could be laid would be 4000 eggs! But that NEVER happens. Another source stated that 2,000 is the max ovulation that +could+ occur. Apparently that one ovary shrivels (I'd like more info on this phenomenon) and the hen proceed with ovulation from just one...and many factors, as you noted above, affect how early, how often, how consistently and how many seasons or years one might lay...and of course the quality of eggs, shells has a range of influences also. Hope this helps further define the parameters for that question. Cost of feed and Vet care seems to influence how long most Chickens are allowed to live and lay. More Cooperative type approaches to address this is of interest to me...and I'm willing to be a strategist on a worthy project if others step up to help.
 

oldhen2345

Songster
Jun 22, 2015
575
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East Texas
My Missy (see avatar) is about 5 yrs old now and lays about 1 egg a week- until early Sept. Now she doesn't lay any- but then, out of 4 hens I only have one still laying - a Light Brown Leghorn who is one year old. Her hatch mate- a speckled sussex has also stopped laying. I figure it is the hours of sunlight, so probably should just be glad I get one a day.
 

Freie Family Farm

In the Brooder
Oct 17, 2020
38
90
40
We have 6 new bantams (our first chickens). We've gotten 4 eggs so far. One they layed on the way here. 2 the next day and then only 1 on the 3rd day. We had zero eggs all day today. Im assuming the stress of a 3+hr drive in a box (owners transported them, not us). 2 are about 3yrs old and the rest are about a year old. Is there a way to ease their stress or do we just give them some time to adjust?
 

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