If your hens have suddenly stopped laying eggs there are a number of reasons
Laying hens require a diet that is high in protein, calcium and omega 3’s in order to regularly produce eggs. I good indication that their diet is lacking in minerals is if the eggs they do lay are thin-shelled. This may indicate a calcium deficiency.
Chickens can be very picky eaters, for this reason, we recommend a quality pellet or mash feed. These provide a complete feed with the correct ratios of protein, calcium and fibre with added nutrients. If you are feeding your hens a scratch or grain feed it is likely that they are missing key nutrients required for egg development and overall health. Unlike a pellet feed, hens can be selective with what they eat meaning they peck only at the bits they like, potentially missing a whole host of vital nutrients.
Try: We suggest changing over to a quality pellet or mash feed. Other changes you can make is adding shell grit into their diet to aid digestion along with a vitamin supplement.
As hens age, tit is natural to see that their rate of egg production slows down. A chicken’s breed is the best determination of how long it will lay eggs for. Heritage breeds such as Rhode Island Reds and White Leghorns are good egg producers and will continue to lay eggs beyond it’s first 2 years. After this, there will be a slow decline in the amount they produce
Believe it or not, chickens are major stress-heads. Stress can cause some major health problems, including reduced egg production so it is important to try and get to the bottom of their worries as soon as you can.
Triggers for stress include:
- Pests such as rodents
- Predators such as foxes and birds
- Changes in the pecking order
- Bullying within the flock
- New hens in the coop
- Excessive heat and dehydration
A broody hen won’t leave their eggs, in the hope that they will hatch. The problem with a broody hen is that she may stop eating, will stop laying eggs and may even go missing for a time.
Eating their own eggs
It doesn’t happen very often, but occasionally the reason you are missing eggs is because your hens are eating their own eggs. If you are noticing smashed eggs in your coop, your hens could be the culprit.
There are a few reasons why your hens could be doing this.
- They may have had a taste of an accidentally broken egg
- Poor diet requiring higher levels of protein
- Boredom. Hens need stimulation and something that will capture their attention during the day
If you are noticing your hen is walking oddly or sitting frequently and not laying eggs, she may be egg-bound. Egg Binding is where an egg is stuck within the oviduct and cannot exit. As you can imagine, this would be a very uncomfortable condition to have, and can be fatal if not treated.
Reduced egg production can be a symptom of internal parasites. While not uncommon, when parasites take hold they will cause nutritional deficiencies that will lead to reduced egg production and even death.
The molting process is when a hen sheds and renews her feathers. This generally occurs once a year and may cause egg production to markedly decrease, or stop altogether.
Other signs of molting include bald spots, increased appetite and a dull comb
Sometimes there simply is no reason why your chicken suddenly stops laying eggs. In saying this, be sure to keep an eye out for your hen’s overall health. Clues of illness can be seen in their stool, their comb and her overall behavior.