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Top 6 - Why Chickens not laying? Find a solution

Top 6 Reasons Why Your Chickens Are Not Laying

Have you been scratching your head wondering what’s going wrong? Before you turn to Dr. Google with the question, "Why aren't my chickens laying?" let's explore some common issues.

This question ranks among the most common ones that our Dine-A-Chook newsletter subscribers ask. You've noticed your morning omelette shrinking. Let's crack on and find you some answers.

Reasons Your Hens Are Not Laying Eggs

Many factors might cause a chicken to stop laying eggs or to lay fewer eggs. These could relate to diet, reproductive issues, diseases, or environmental changes.

Now, let’s explore some natural reasons why your hens might be off their laying schedule.

Q. Are they moulting?

A. Typically, a hen moults once a year as part of their natural cycle. During moulting, a chicken sheds its older feathers to make way for new ones—how fantastic is that? I’d love to shed some of my grey hairs as well!

When a hen moults, she takes some well-deserved "me time" and stops laying for a few weeks to use her protein for making feathers instead of eggs. Older hens moult more frequently and take longer to do so. While hens generally moult in autumn, this is less predictable in warmer climates.

You can identify a moulting hen as she begins losing feathers and appears generally ragged. However, isolated feather loss as shown in the photos does not result from moulting.

Moulting Chickens - Copyright Dine-A-Chook

Q. Are they getting enough sun?

A. Sunlight plays an essential role in egg production. Hens need up to 14 hours of sunlight each day. As daylight hours decrease during autumn and winter, it's natural for egg production to drop. If you want your hens to lay during these cooler, shorter days, consider providing additional lighting, like a solar-powered shed light set on a timer.

Q. Are your chickens old?

A. Chickens typically have a productive lifespan of 3-7 years. Commercial egg farms often cull hens around 3 years of age as their egg production decreases. Highly productive breeds, like ISA Browns, perform well for about 3 years and then gradually stop laying, whereas heritage breeds may lay longer but produce fewer eggs each week.

You can expect a decrease in egg laying from older chickens. However, Dine-A-Chook offers strategies to enhance egg production in older hens.

We hope our Top 6 Reasons Why Chickens Are Not Laying has been helpful. If you have a topic you'd like us to cover, please send us an email via the Contact Us page at Dine-A-Chook.

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