If you have a small laying hen farm, you usually know how many eggs you can expect to produce per day, and if a decrease in yield occurs, you will be able to notice it quickly. When this happens, you should look for the cause and if there is a real problem, then you can simply fix it and your hens will lay normally again.
Why does a chicken stop laying?
There are several periods during which a hen does not lay eggs, without this being a cause for concern:
- For example, during the molting period, when the thin summer feathers are shed and replaced by thicker feathers, the hen lays less or not at all for several weeks.
- The same is true when the hen reaches the end of a laying cycle. Only industrial hens lay about 300 eggs per year, but under these conditions they are exhausted after one year. On a family farm, the hens lay less, some 250 to 280 eggs per year, less if they are purebred hens, but they lay as much until they are 3 years old.
- You won’t find eggs during the winter either because of the lack of light. The hen needs 14 hours of light to maintain the laying process.
Besides these temporary but normal situations, it can happen that a hen does not lay eggs for other reasons: if she is young, during the summer, or if she is contaminated by a parasite, especially if she scratches a lot, if she does not eat as usual and if her droppings are not normal.
What should be done if a hen stops laying eggs?
During the moulting period and in winter, you should be patient and give your hens the food that best meets their needs. If you notice anything abnormal, it is best to examine the hen immediately to avoid a general contamination.
If you find lice in the feathers, treat them with a pest control product and make sure there is an area of land where the hen can roll around. Mites are more dangerous because some suck blood while others cause scabies, which can be accompanied by feather shedding or leg wounds. Foamy and yellowish droppings should make you think of the presence of worms. A dewormer should then be given to all hens at the same time. Whatever the parasite, it is essential to change the litter completely and to clean the house thoroughly before disinfecting it.
If your chickens are housed in a healthy, well-ventilated coop, fed a balanced diet and treated promptly when needed, they will be grateful and lay many good eggs for many years.