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Why Do Chickens Stop Laying Eggs and What To Do About It

One of the main reasons people opt for having chickens as pets is the added benefit of having your own homegrown eggs. It may worry some chicken keepers when they notice their chickens are laying fewer eggs or have stopped laying eggs altogether. So why do chickens stop laying eggs?

Chickens typically stop laying eggs when they reach the end of their natural lifespan. However, there are a number of other factors that can cause a chicken to stop laying eggs, such as disease, poor nutrition, or stress. Egg production requires a lot of energy, and if a chicken isn’t getting enough food or is experiencing other health problems, it may stop laying eggs in order to conserve its energy.

Additionally, chickens are very sensitive to changes in their environment, and anything from a new chicken coop to loud noises can cause them to stop laying eggs. Ultimately, there are many reasons why a chicken might stop laying eggs, but it is usually due to either old age or some sort of stressor.

There are various reasons why your chickens may stop laying eggs. So, before you panic, it would be beneficial to research what could cause your chickens to stop laying eggs and how you can fix it.

Why Do Chickens Stop Laying Eggs?

If you’ve had your chickens for more than a year, you may have noticed that there are times when they stop laying eggs or lay fewer eggs than usual.

If you are a new chicken owner, you may worry or wonder what is happening, but there is no reason to stress. There are many reasons your chickens may stop laying eggs or lay fewer eggs than usual, and I will list the most common reasons below.

Too Little Daylight To Lay Eggs

So why do chickens stop laying eggs in winter? Easy: too few daylight hours. Creating and laying an egg is not exactly fast and can take anywhere between 12 and 16 hours of daylight and a total of 24 to 27 hours. Because hens need so many daylight hours, you may see egg production reduce or even stop altogether when the seasons start turning.

The reason a hen needs so much light is because of the hormones they need to be able to produce and lay an egg. A gland between the eyes of a hen responds to the light and starts distributing the hormones needed for egg production. When the light levels decrease or the light of a day is shorter, hens may start slowing their egg production, or egg production can stop altogether.

Luckily there is a simple enough solution; if you want your hens to stay active and keep laying eggs during the winter or during times with fewer hours of light, install an artificial light source. Adding an artificial light source will allow the gland between the chicken’s eyes to react, allowing the hormones to continue with egg production.

However, you mustn’t over-stimulate your chickens with too much artificial lighting since they need a substantial amount of time to get sleep and keep healthy. Most people that add artificial light to their chicken coops put the lights on a timer to ensure the lights go off when the chickens need to rest.

When Your Chickens Molt, They Don’t Lay Eggs

There is a specific time of the year, usually around wintertime when the change in season triggers chickens to start molting and stop producing eggs and this can be a big reason why chickens stop laying eggs. This process is entirely natural and is a time when your chickens allow themselves to recover and shed their last feathers and start producing new ones.

During this time of year, it is most likely that your chickens will stop producing eggs as their bodies get solely focused on growing new feathers and “rejuvenating.” During this time of year, your chickens may also be more susceptible to disease or illness, so it is essential to ensure they are safe and healthy when they start molting.

Though most chicken keepers recommend you allow the molting period to progress naturally, as usual, there is a way to keep your chickens from entering this phase and to keep their egg production steady. Introducing artificial light will keep your chickens out of the molting stage and allow them to keep laying eggs regularly.

However, it is essential to note that once the artificial light source gets removed, the chickens may start molting by themselves at unpredictable times of the year. I suggest that you allow your chickens to rest during the molting time, as this will enable them to stay healthy and ensures that there are no molting complications later in the year.

Stress And Coop Conditions May Decrease Eggs

If you are looking after your chickens and providing them with the best care, you may not have to worry about this, but there are some things you should be aware of since they may seem reasonable but can negatively affect egg production.

The stress on your birds can decrease the number of eggs she produces and can even halt egg production if you are not careful. Rember chickens adhere to pecking order and bullying can result in stress.

Some essential things to consider are the temperature, the living space, the noise, and other aggressive hens. It is best to ensure the temperature between the coop and the outside world doesn’t differ by more than a couple of degrees. Hens need to regulate their temperature, so making a coop too much warmer during the winter months may negatively affect egg production.

You should also ensure that you give each hen at least 4 square feet of space inside the chicken coop and limit the number of hens, so they do not become too crowded. You can also separate hens that aren’t getting along to ensure there is no added stress because of aggression, and you must be sure your hens are predator-safe and will not stress about that either.

Suppose your chickens have stopped laying eggs or are laying fewer eggs than usual. In that case, you should ensure that your backyard flock is still stress-free, and safe from predators, the temperature is suitable, and there are no aggressive hens creating stress for one another. By ensuring your hens are safe, happy, and comfortable, you should see an increase in egg production.

Stress can be a reason Why Do Chickens Stop Laying Eggs

why do chickens stop laying eggs suddenly?

A Lack Or Change Of Nutrients Can Stop Or Decrease Eggs

Chickens are very particular regarding their nutrients, food, and water, and they will stop producing eggs or lay fewer eggs if even the slightest thing changes. If you forget to give them water or feed them for even so much as one day, your chickens may stop producing eggs. Even a change in the brand or type of layer feed you give them can affect their ability to produce eggs.

It is essential to ensure you constantly feed your chickens, and you always need to ensure they have water to keep them healthy and ensure egg production continues as it should. If you need to switch to a different type of chicken layer feed, you should also not switch it out immediately but rather mix the new and old feed gradually until it is only the new feed remaining.

You must do proper research when getting feed for your chickens since not all of them are made equal, and if the feed does not contain the necessary nutrients, your backyard chickens will also not produce any eggs. You may also need to vary the feed you offer your chickens depending on their needs and age.

I have a article dedicated on what you should feed your chickens here

When Do Chickens Stop Laying Eggs?

The Age Of A Chicken Can Lessen Or Stop Egg Production

Chickens have an internal clock, the same as most other animals, and though the myth that chickens only lay eggs for two years isn’t true, they may start laying eggs a bit slower. Generally speaking, your chickens will lay eggs after a couple of months of age, usually around 7 months old, though this does depend on the chicken breed, and this can continue for about 4 or 5 years, after which they will stop.

Once your chickens start laying eggs, there is around a 2-year window in which you can expect an egg a day, but after two years from the start of egg laying, the production starts to decline, which is why egg farms sell off their chickens at this point. Once a chicken’s life reaches this point, it will slowly begin to laying fewer and fewer eggs until they stop entirely.

There is no way to correct this issue, as chickens are like other animals and will always get older and stop laying eggs. The best way to maintain this is to keep your chickens healthy and ensure new chickens are introduced to the coop often; if you find one of your chickens is starting to lay one egg a week or fewer, you can adopt a new one.

One excellent way to give a chicken a good life is to adopt chickens from a factory since they still have a couple of good egg-laying years left. If your main goal is keeping chickens for fresh eggs, you can separate the older and younger chickens allowing them to grow old and choosing what to do with them when they stop laying eggs.

A Broody Hen Will stop laying eggs

Broody hens will stop laying eggs and start to redirect their energy to raising their clutch of eggs in their nest boxes – even if they have not been fertilized!

How To Increase The Amount Of Eggs Your Chickens Lay

Though there is no way to get more eggs from a chicken that has laid all it has, there are ways you can ensure your chickens lay as many eggs as they can. Some of these tips are good to consider when you first get chickens, while others are quality of life improvements that make chickens happier and more likely to lay eggs regularly.

Though some factories manipulate the chickens to lay more, we are taking the more natural route. Below are two tips to keep your chickens happy and even help them lay more eggs.

Allow Your Chickens Some Space

Though most chickens enjoy being in the company of others, they also need their space to keep them happy and content with life. It is always good practice to allow them some space during the day while ensuring they stay safe from predators that may roam the area.

Depending on your residence, you may have more or less space to allow your chickens to roam. However, you must give your chickens a big enough area to roam in even if the site is still blocked off to ensure their safety. Keeping too many chickens in a small space may negatively influence their egg-laying process by adding to their stress levels.

A Balanced Diet is Important for Egg Production

The feed you give your chickens can affect how many eggs they lay, especially if they are not receiving the nutrients they need. As the saying goes you are what you eat and for quality eggs your hen’s diet should be made up of a high-quality layer feed, grit and the ability to free-range and scratch around for some tasty morsels. You may be opting for cheaper feeds to keep the costs of your chickens down, but that may also be why they don’t lay many eggs. You need to ensure they are also getting enough calcium in the form of oyster shell grit.

Additionally, not all chickens respond the same way to the same feed; you should feed your chickens what they need, including providing them with the right food for their age. It is always best to research your chicken breeds to ensure they get enough nutrients, especially since some need more of one nutrient than others.

Which Chicken Breeds Are Best For Egg Production?

If your main goal for keeping chickens is to give you lots of fresh eggs daily, you may try your best to increase your chickens’ efficiency and egg-laying capabilities, and some of the things you do may have minimal effects. However, it would be best to remember that some chickens get explicitly bred to lay more eggs; other breeds are specifically preferred for their size and meat potential.

There are many breeds of chickens, most of which vary in their looks, size, and how many eggs they lay. Below are two of the most reliable egg-laying chicken breeds to help you choose the right kind for your needs. I have more details in an article here on the best chickens for egg production.

The Golden Comet Chickens are Great Layers

Though having a simple appearance, the golden comet chicken is brilliant if you are looking for lots of eggs throughout the year. The look of this chicken comes from mostly golden-brown color feathers covering most of the body, with a couple of black or white feathers in the tail of the chicken.

These chickens are a hybrid of two other breeds, and they get specifically bred to be good at laying tons of eggs in a year, the average yearly egg count being between 280 and 300 eggs. Since this chicken breed is known for its egg-laying capabilities, they are also likely to eat less and be relatively easy to work with for beginners.

golden Comet hen

The Barred Plymouth Rock Breed

If you are looking for a good chicken pet that integrates well, enjoys being free-range, lays a lot of eggs, and even looks nice, the Barred Plymouth Rock chicken breed is probably your best bet. This beautiful chicken breed is covered in black and white feathers from the head to the tail, giving it a lovely appearance.

However, the looks of this breed aren’t the only positive point, as it gets bred to lay tons of eggs, up to 280 eggs a year. These chickens are also extraordinary at finding food, making them low-maintenance and suitable for free-range eggs. They are also mild-tempered and straightforward to integrate with other chickens.

Plymouth rock


There can be multiple reasons that cause your chickens to stop laying eggs. Before panicking, it would be best to research the possible cause and try to fix it yourself. 

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