You know the morning routine - you awake at the crack of dawn (or a more reasonable time with an Automatic Door Opener installed!). You eagerly check the coop nesting boxes for some delicious breakfast bum nuts. But, what is this? No eggs can be found!
You check for signs of snakes and rats - sneaky so-and-sos that will swipe a cackleberry without a hint of remorse - but no! There is no sign of vermin. Hmm, maybe your girls are just waiting until later? It is getting colder after all - maybe they just needed a sleep in? You stumble back inside, forlornly egg-less and confused.
Finding out your faithful laying hen is on the fritz is a rite of passage for any chook keeper. It is totally normal to feel worried about the health of your chook and also a little miffed that you are not getting a delicious eggs benny this fine morning. But before you worry too much, know that it’s common for chooks to slow down in their laying habits from time to time.
Have a peck at my top 3 reasons your chickens have stopped laying eggs:
The Great Autumn Moult - Your chooks will naturally moult during Autumn. They will shed some or all of their feathers and use their protein intake to produce new plumage. This protein and energy is usually used in egg production, so your chickens will ease up on their laying while they change outfits. Some protein will help them get fluffed quicker!
Steal my sunshine - Chickens need sunlight to produce eggs. Sunshine triggers a hormonal process that tells a chicken’s body to get busy in their nesting boxes. As the weather gets cooler and the days gets shorter your chickens will get less and less sunshine which will slow down their laying habits. Give them as much time out of the coop as possible, a forage in the sun and nutrients from free-range feeding will help.
Broody girls don’t lay - Is your chook spending all their time on the nest? Are they grumpy, squawky and generally untouchable? You have a broody girl on your hands! Broodiness is a natural cycle for chickens triggered by mother instinct hormones. We have some ideas to break the habits here.