Chickens stopped laying : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Our chickens have stopped laying. They are second year layers and layed all winter last year and now have stopped completely. I am fairly new at this. Why? What can I do? or should I just butcher them and start fresh in the Sring?

-- Margie Bromen (, December 01, 2000


Do you mean that you are not getting any eggs at all or just greatly reduced? One time I did have my second year layers all go in molt at the same time and I was lucky to get 4 or 5 eggs from 36 hens. I have always kept mine for 3 years and been fairly happy with the results but I know a lot of people butcher after a year or two. Are you feeding any laying mash? On my older hens I feed a better mash than I have to with my younger ones. Are they getting plenty of water? In the cold weather I give warm water at least twice a day. I also be sure that they have at least a 14 hour day (by having light on) to keep them eating. If you live in the south, I don't know what to tell you because I have no experience there. diane

-- diane (, December 01, 2000.

Hi Margie, Mine stopped this week too and are 2 year layers.I will replace them in july when this years chicks have begun to lay.Yes we butcher them 2 or 3 at a time.I keep the rooster cuz I have small kids who generally do the henhouse chores so I need to trust my rooster(we've had some nasty guys)They will lay again in a few weeks but my experienca is that as they age their period of molt takes a little longer.Kinda like this old bird!!!I think they deserve a wee rest if you can be without eggs for a bit.Warm water,cayenne and flax may help too,God bless in the henhouse spirit....teri

-- teri (, December 01, 2000.

Hi-ho from New Mexico... mine did that about a month ago, but all decided to molt at the same time, too. The egg supply dwindled to one a day out of 16 hens of various breeds, all 2-5 yrs old. Also, the eggs were thin-shelled, to boot. Then, last week, I got two. A few days later, four. AND, the feathers are coming back... so, I'm taking this as a natural progression of things. Which is good, since they don't have anything to fear by becoming dinner at any time in their lives, but I have enough useless pets to feed without adding chickens to that! Good luck! dh in nm

-- debra in nm (, December 01, 2000.

How's your lighting. With the short light, grown chickens will stop laying and moult. It's an annual thing for adult chickens. They'll start up again when the light comes back, and by late February, you'll probably be drowning in eggs, unless you kill the chickens.

I try to raise a few new pullets every year, and to make room for them, I either sell the second-year hens while they're still laying well or butcher them after they quit laying in the late fall. The new pullets will start laying at about five or six months of age and lay right through the winter without artificial lighting in my part of the country.

-- Laura Jensen (, December 01, 2000.

YUP! Mine have also stopped laying..they are molting and will probably begin laying around Xmas..then I will have to go out there several times a day to check so the eggs won't freeze..Hate that.

-- Lynn (, December 01, 2000.

Mine had stopped as well. I thought that they might have worms so I wormed them and still they didn't they are doing great! I put a light in their coop and fed them more grain and I believe they were in a slow molt so it didn't really seem like they were molting. Mine are almost 2 years old and I was worried I was going to have to get my friend out to dispatch them, but they have redeemed themselves with about a six week rest. Good luck!

-- Doreen (, December 01, 2000.

Agree with every one else, they are molting, my two year old birds are only producing 4-5 eggs a day out of 24 hens, even with 14 hours of artificial light, optimum feed and greens. If you can find dandelion greens yet, that will help hurry them along, but no matter what you do, it will still take up to 6-8 weeks for the molt to pass, but the eggs will be bigger when they start up again, sometimes beyond jumbo, had some that would not fit in egg cartons one year!

I generally hatch out replacements in an incubator after the second year, so this spring I'll hatch and brood the replacements, and sell the two and a half year old hens this coming fall when the new ones are ready to start laying. People around here will still pay 3-4 dollars for 3 year old hens, even though I tell them they aren't producing much anymore. Annie in SE OH.

-- Annie Miller (, December 01, 2000.

I turn the artificial light on when the days start to shorten and switch over to heat lamps when the nights hit the twenties and I get eggs all year with three year old hens except during molt.

-- John Mullendore (, December 07, 2000.

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