Having your own chickens is amazing. Nothing beats heading out each morning and collecting eggs while they’re still warm. You certainly don’t get that in the supermarket. During periods when laying is at its best, you even stand to make a profit by selling eggs. With a little luck, you’ll be able to cover the costs of getting started in no time. That is, of course, unless your hens stop laying.
When this happens, it’s likely all your plans in this area will fall apart. You’ll have to go back to buying eggs. What’s more, you’ll still need to pay out for feed and maintenance costs. Suddenly, the plan you thought would save money is costing far more than it seems worth.
The good news is, there are usually clear reasons behind a halt in egg production. And, where there are clear reasons, there are solutions. To help you find them, we’re going to look at the most common reasons hens stop laying. Then we will see what you can do about them.
3 Top Reasons Hens Stop Laying
Before you start worrying, bear in mind that the most common reason hens stop laying is molting. Instead of producing eggs, the body puts energy into creating feathers. In most instances, a molt will happen twice each year (autumn and spring). It will last at least a couple of months. Over time, you’ll come to know the cycle of your chickens, and will be able to foresee periods when egg production will stop.
There are also things you can do, such as changing the feed to include more protein. Be aware that stress and illness can also cause unexpected bouts of molting. As such, it’s worth making notes on when molting usually occurs, so that you can spot issues straight away.
Another of the top reasons hens stop laying is if your chickens aren’t getting all the nutrients they need. This is especially the case with water shortages. Even a few hours without access to water can halt production for weeks. This issue also applies to the feed you offer. Hens need easy access to protein and calcium sources.
If you’re unsure about the diet you currently offer, head to sites like https://www.mkcoop.com/ where you can find feeds and nutritional guidance. In most cases, a ‘mash’ of chicken food is best. If you’re providing a grain instead, an alternative source of calcium should be offered.
This is likely the first thing you worry about when you see that empty nest box. And, you’re right to consider it. A disease is one of the top reasons hens stop laying. And, when one chicken contracts an illness, it’s likely that it’ll spread reasonably fast. Hence why you should always be on the lookout for signs of common diseases like those mentioned at http://www.dummies.com.
If you spot symptoms of illness in one hen, you should isolate her from the flock and seek treatment. In most cases, some deaths are likely, but you can limit the damage by spotting things as early as possible.
Now you know the 3 top reasons hens stop laying. Knowing what to watch for can prevent a complete loss of your flock. Have your hens stopped laying?