If your chickens are doing well and you keep them according to their species and needs, you can expect eggs almost every day. However, it can happen that the laying performance of your chickens decreases. If your hens lay few or no eggs, several factors may be responsible. In this guide, we’ll introduce you to common reasons why chickens don’t lay eggs. And we’ll show you what you can do to start enjoying eggs from your chickens again.
Is the diet appropriate for the species?
To help your chickens lay eggs regularly, you should make sure they have a balanced diet. To prevent them from suffering from deficiency symptoms, chickens need the right amount of calcium, protein, vitamins and minerals and. Our guide Feeding chickens properly – How to make all chickens happy!” informs you about how to feed your animals species-appropriate.
When free-range in summer, chickens eat more fresh grasses, herbs and fallen fruit. In this way, they consume many vitamins. However, the feed you provide with the necessary protein content they eat correspondingly less, so that a protein deficiency can occur and they lay fewer eggs.
Supplement your chicken feed with high-protein laying meal so that even a lower intake of chicken feed will meet protein requirements.
Feed and water quantity
A two and a half kilogram chicken requires approximately 120 grams of feed and 250 milliliters of water per day. Make sure that poultry drinkers are available both in the chicken house and in the run. To keep them clean, clean them daily and fill them with fresh drinking water.
Foods you should not feed
Chickens are considered omnivores, but there are some foods that can harm the hens and thus prevent them from laying eggs. In our guide “What should chickens not eat?” we go into detail about the foods you should avoid.
Are the light conditions in the coop right?
About 14 hours of light per day is required for safe laying performance. While the summer months provide enough light, chickens have to cope with less light in the winter. This has a negative effect on their laying performance.
To compensate for the lack of light, you can install an additional light source in the chicken coop. Here you should consider the following:
Recommendations for using a light source:
- Approximately three watts per square meter
- Use it until you get 14 hours of light per day.
- Turn off the light in the evening
- Use a dimmer
Too hot or too cold?
Another natural cause of poor laying performance is weather conditions: When it’s above 30 °Celsius and below 10 °Celsius, chickens need their energy to cool down or warm up their body temperature. This results in less energy available for them to lay eggs.
Make sure your coop is well insulated. When temperatures are high, ventilate the hen house. If the temperature is below 12°C, a heat lamp or a heater can provide the necessary warmth in winter.
Do all chicken breeds lay eggs regularly?
There are significant differences in the laying performance of different chicken breeds. Chickens bred specifically for laying performance (hybrids) produce about 300 eggs per year, whereas pedigree chickens produce much fewer eggs per year. For example, a Cemani chicken produces only about 80 eggs per year, while a Leghorn can lay over 200 eggs per year.
The laying activity of hybrids decreases after the first year and stops in the third year. Pedigreed chickens are more suitable for hobby breeders, as they have a constant laying performance. Therefore, you must decide if you prefer more eggs in a short period of time or fewer eggs in a longer period of time.
Before you buy chickens, find out how many eggs you can expect from your favorite chicken breeds. Alternatively, add a few hens to your flock.
How old are your chickens?
Most hens begin laying eggs at about six months of age. However, laying lasts only for their first few years of life, not for their entire lifetime. So you don’t need to worry if older hens are laying few or no eggs.
Make sure to keep buying young ones so that the average egg laying activity in your flock remains consistently high.
Are your chickens molting?
In late autumn, the plumage of the chickens is usually renewed with the moult. They do not have the energy to lay eggs beyond this time. To provide your chickens with extra energy, you can offer special laying hen feed, for example. You should also add lime to the basic feed. For example, mussel grit is recommended.
Do your chickens have mites?
Unfortunately, mites often multiply in the chicken coop at higher temperatures during the summer months. The small bloodsuckers weaken the chickens, which results in the animals laying fewer eggs.
If chickens are not laying eggs because of mites, you should immediately rid the entire coop and your chickens of mites. It is best to consult your veterinarian so that you can permanently get rid of the parasites with suitable means.
Do you have too many roosters?
Too many roosters can cause trouble because, for example, roosters fight and harass their females. The stress is not conducive to your birds laying eggs. Therefore, you should make sure that you keep six to ten female hens per rooster. If you have free range for your hens and there are enough hens among them, keeping multiple roosters is less of a concern. This is because they can get out of each other’s way.
Is the keeping species-appropriate?
When chickens are happy and healthy, they “thank” you by laying eggs regularly. For species-appropriate husbandry, you must observe the following conditions, among others:
- Clean coop
- Sufficient free range
- Quiet and dark laying nests
- Balanced, high-quality food
Are your chickens sick?
If you can rule out all the causes mentioned so far, an illness may be the reason why your chickens are laying fewer eggs.
In addition to the mite infestation mentioned above, a laying emergency can also be responsible for the lack of eggs in a chicken. In this case, you must contact a veterinarian immediately, as egg blockage can lead to the death of the hen. You can also vaccinate your chickens against many other diseases caused by pathogens such as viruses or bacteria.
For an overview of chicken diseases, check out our guide “Common Chicken Diseases – An Overview!”.
Checklist: Measures to take when chickens do not lay eggs
In summary, we have compiled a list of measures you should take to encourage your chickens to lay eggs.
The following measures will help when chickens are not laying eggs:
- Make sure your diet is balanced and high in protein!
- Use an additional light source in winter!
- Install a heat lamp in the coop when the temperature is below 12 °Celsius!
- Make sure that the hens are cooled down if the temperature is too high!
- Buy young hens regularly to ensure a constant laying performance!
- Make sure that the coop is clean and that the hens have enough space to run around!
- Contact the vet in case of emergency!
- Have your chickens vaccinated regularly!
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