Ahmad in Michigan has a two and half year old hen who hasn’t layed an egg in nine months. He wants to know if a hen’s production gradually slows down with age or just suddenly stops. In situations like this, we like to go through my 12 point checklist of reasons a hen stops laying:
Make sure your hens have access to food and clean water. Watch to make sure they are all getting access to the food and aren’t being kept away by a bully hen.
Hens need 10-14 hours of daylight to lay eggs.
Once a year, hens give their bodies a rest from laying so they can get their bodies back into shape.
A hen’s production may slow down when the temperature get too cold. If possible, try to keep the temperature in the coop above 55 degrees.
If a hen decides she wants to start hatching eggs, she will cease laying her own until she is no longer broody.
A hen with health problems will usually stop laying so that her body can use its resources to get healthy again.
Fleas, mites, lice and worms can rob a hen’s nutrition right out of her body, causing her to slow down or stop productions.
Stress in general can cause a hen to stop laying.
Mice, rats, snakes and other vermin can steal eggs before you have a chance to collect them, making it appear as if your hens aren’t laying.
Just like with predators, an egg-eating chicken can make it seem as if your flock’s production is down.
Occasionally, a free ranging hen will decide she has found a better spot to lay her eggs, which can make it seem as if she isn’t laying.
When all other factors don’t fit the situation, age is a likely culprit. At two and a half years, a hen has just completed her prime egg laying years. Typically a hen’s production gradually slows, but it is possible for her to just stop completely.
This past week, Suzy listed our newly hatched baby chicks on many Facebook groups. She was surprised when all the posts were kicked back because they violated Facebook’s policy on not listing animals for sale. Suzy and I share our thoughts about why this policy may cause more harm to chickens than good.
Here are links to two petitions on change.org regarding Facebook’s ban on livestock ads: