Why Do Chickens Stop Laying Eggs? 10 Reasons

As a backyard chicken owner, you will have a lot of questions about raising chickens. If you are raising chickens for eggs, there are times they may stop laying eggs. This will cause you to wonder what’s wrong with them and what’s causing it.

So, why do chickens stop laying eggs? When chickens stop laying eggs, it’s usually due to the following reasons: stress, molting, dehydration, less sunlight, poor nutrition, harassment by rooster, age, and illness.

However, there are a couple of reasons as well as why your chickens may stop laying eggs.

10 Reasons Why Chickens Stop Laying Eggs?

Poor Nutrition

When hens don’t get enough nutrition in their diet, they may stop laying eggs. Laying hens require about 38 key nutrients to remain healthy and to produce a constant supply of eggs.

One of the nutrients that are important is calcium. This mineral is what the eggshells are made from. A hen needs about 4 grams of calcium each day to ensure it can lay healthy and strong eggs.

Chicken Eating Food

If your chickens aren’t getting enough nutrients in their diet, their body will stop producing eggs to prevent health issues from occurring.

Therefore, you should provide about 90% of their food should come from commercial feeds. The other 10% should be fruits, vegetables, and table scraps.

Dehydration

Water is important to not only the well-being of the chickens but also their eggs. A chicken is made up of around 50% water and the eggs that they produce are around 65% water.

Therefore, it’s essential that the chickens are getting enough water on a daily basis.

If the chickens are not drinking enough water, their egg production will start to slow down or come to a complete stop. Their body does this to prevent producing bad eggs and to avoid the hens from becoming ill.

When giving them water, always put clean fresh water for them. The water should be replaced daily with fresh ones. Old water tends to get contaminated with bacteria and could cause your chickens to become ill.

Molting

When the weather starts to get colder, chickens will start to renew their feathers for thicker ones. These new feathers will help insulate the chickens from the cold weather.

When they do this, this is called molting. Chickens start to molt when they are around 18 months of age. From here, they will go through a molt every year.

During the molting period, which takes about 8-16 weeks, chickens will not lay any eggs. Molting requires a lot of energy and nutrition, so their bodies will use the resources to grow the new feathers instead of laying eggs.

When the chickens are molting, it’s recommended to switch to a higher protein feed or add protein supplements to their diet. This will help them grow strong and healthy feathers.

Increased Stress

There are many factors that can contribute to the hens being stressed. If there are predators such as raccoons, skunks, and owls that are always around them, it could cause the hens to become stressed.

Another reason for the chickens to become stressed is loud noises occurring around them.

Old Age

Once the hen reached 6 to 7 years of age, they will start to lay fewer eggs. Some will stop laying eggs altogether. Most breeds will be able to live up to 10 years.

The exact age when the hens stop laying will depend on the chicken breed and their environment.

The Nesting Area Is Dirty

Hen prefers their nesting area to be clean. If there is poop everywhere and the bedding has not been changed for a while, the hens will cease egg laying.

Therefore, when the hen is about to lay eggs, clean the nesting box and replace the bedding with new ones.

Extreme Weather

During extreme weather conditions such as during the winter or summer, the chickens may lay fewer eggs or stop laying eggs altogether.

In the summer, when it’s extremely hot, hens will tend to stop laying eggs. This is due to the temperature being too hot which can cause dehydration. Due to this, the chicken will have problems producing and laying quality eggs.

In the winter, as the temperature starts to get too cold, hens will not lay any more eggs. Instead of using the energy to lay eggs, they are using the energy to keep themselves warm.

Rooster Harassment

Hens will sometimes stop laying eggs when there’s an overactive rooster. When a rooster is mounting nd mating with the hen too often, it will cause her to become stressed.

A rooster that is mating with a hen will only take a couple of seconds. However, within that time, it can be quite traumatizing for the hen.

To mate with a hen, the rooster will mount on top of her and dig his spurs into the side of her. The rooster will grab a hold of her neck as well. This will cause the skin to break on part of her body due to the friction from claws.

To prevent injures to the hen, you can get saddles and place them on them. This will provide protection from the rooster’s claws and lessen the injuries inflicted. However, it does not lessen the stress of being harassed.

The Hen Is Broody

When a hen is broody, she tends to not lay any eggs at all. She will sit on the eggs for most of the day. This means she will not go out looking for food or even water. The hen will do this for about 3 weeks.

Chicken Coop Is Too Small

When hens are laying eggs, they don’t need a lot of space. However, if there are too many hens in a coop with limited space, this can cause stress upon them. The result will be less egg laying by the hens.

Do Chickens Lay Fewer Eggs When It’s Cold?

When the weather begins to get cold, chickens will start to lay fewer eggs. During the fall, when it starts to get cold, they will lay fewer eggs. When winter approaches, they will stop laying eggs altogether.

Hens need 14 hours of sunlight each day for egg production. During the winter and cold months, sunlight will be less than 8 hours a day.

In addition, instead of using the energy from the food they eat to lay eggs, they will use it to keep themselves warm.

If you want to keep your chickens laying eggs throughout the winter, you can add artificial lighting to your coop. They will continue to lay the same amount of eggs.

However, since this isn’t natural for the chickens, it will cause a lot of stress on their body. This will result in the chickens having a shorter life which will produce fewer eggs in the long run.

What Is The Best Thing To Feed Chickens For Eggs?

Hens should be fed a healthy diet that includes a good amount of calcium and protein. This two nutrition are important to keeping the hens strong and producing quality eggs.

For quality eggs, it’s recommended to feed them layer feed. This feed is formulated specifically for hens that are laying eggs. For other chickens, layer feed could cause them health issues due to the high amount of nutrients it has, especially calcium and protein.

Related Questions

Why do chickens stop laying eggs in spring?

During the spring, daylight will become longer. A hen that is not laying eggs will tend to have one of the issues mentioned above.

Why do chickens stop laying eggs in summer?

The summer is the best time of the season for hens to lay eggs. This is when there are long daylight hours and the temperature is warm.

However, if it gets too hot and the hens are not well hydrated, it can have a negative impact on laying eggs.

The best temperature is around 75 degrees for them to lay eggs. If it’s hotter than that, the chickens may suffer from heat stress and may stop laying eggs.

Why do chickens stop laying eggs in the fall?

In the fall or autumn is when chickens will start to molt. They do this to shed their feathers and regrow thicker feathers. The thicker feathers are to help keep them insulated during the winter.

When they are molting, they will slow down egg production or stop altogether until they are finished molting.

Why do chickens stop laying eggs in winter?

During the winter, it’s normal for chickens to cease laying eggs. This is due to fewer lights during this time and the cold.

When chickens are exposed to less than 16 hours of daylight, their body will stop laying eggs all at once.

The cold temperature also is a factor. Some chickens will lay less when it’s cold, so they can use more of their resources to keep themselves warm.