A hen not laying an egg is a problem you will soon encounter anytime while raising them.
One of the greatest joys of raising and taking care of chickens in our backyard is collecting the eggs from the chicken coops or nest boxes. What if you are expecting some eggs, but it turns out there is nothing. You will just feel disappointed, and sometimes it may cause problems to our chickens.
We raise chickens for profits or for our own benefit. We sell the chickens as a whole, or we sell their eggs. But what if your chicken doesn’t lay any eggs? Physical, environmental, behavioral and emotional triggers can cause fluctuations in egg production. Some of these require immediate action, while others are no cause for alarm.
These are the most common causes of our hen’s egg production problem and some solutions where possible.
1. Insufficient Lighting Conditions
Egg production of chickens needs light to trigger its pituitary glands. A regular egg-laying period requires the hen to be exposed to 14 to 16 hours of light. Decrease of daylight hours in autumn and winter can cause a reduction or a full halt to egg production. Installing additional lights to the coop can encourage the chicken to produce eggs, even during those time of the year, where daylight time is insufficient.
If your hen is shedding feathers, it is probably the time of the year where they are in the process of molting. Molting happens when the days get shorter during autumn and winter. During this time they shed feathers and regrow them. All the nutrients and protein they need to lay eggs are being diverted to regrowing feathers instead. Supplementing a hen’s diet with extra nutrients and protein during the molting period helps aid the regrowth of feathers and egg production.
3. Stress and Change
Hens are very sensitive to stress and change to the extent that they typically stop laying eggs. They dislike change, which is a major cause of stress and decline in egg production. One of these might be the reason why your hen is not laying eggs and is stressed out: – Change of feed
– Change of coop layout
– Hen is moved to a different farm or coop
– Additional or reduction of other hens in their group
– Hen is annoyed by child/children
– Fright from another animal or predator
– Irritation from internal parasites (worms, coccidia) or external parasites (rodents, mites, lice)
– Harsh weather
– Dog barking
– High heat
When your hen is broody, that means that she wants to hatch her eggs and raise them. When you have a broody hen in your coop, it affects the egg production of the entire flock. Not only your hen stops laying more eggs, but it will inspire other hens to brood and stop laying eggs. Broody hens should be broken properly or be permitted to hatch their eggs on another location.
Hens that are sick or have parasites, such as worms, lice or mites causes its performance in egg production to drop or worst it will stop producing eggs. Check your hen’s symptoms and be sure to give her clean water and proper medication. Keep your coop clean as well to prevent rodents from going to the coop.
6. Egg Hiding
Pasture-raised hens or free-range hens have the habit of laying eggs outside the coop or in a secluded location. Since the hens are free to roam around, they might disappear for weeks and brood secretly and return with baby chicks. This can be avoided by training these hens to lay eggs inside the coop.
7. Egg Eating
Everybody loves fresh eggs, and hens do, too. When hens discover a broken egg in their nest box, they often start eating it. Once this nutritious, high protein snack is discovered by the hen, she becomes addicted to eating it and she may start breaking and eating her eggs in the future for her own good.
The normal egg production span of hens is usually 2 years. After that, their egg production usually declines. The solution to this is having new hens or letting them brood a new generation of chickens.
9. Predator Theft
Many predators are responsible for egg theft. These are rats, opossums, ferrets, and other small animals that eat chicken eggs. Coops should be secured so that these predators cannot enter the coop during the night when they are sleeping and vulnerable.
10. Nutritional Imbalance and Water Deprivation
Feeding the hens with the wrong feed or treat may lead to nutritional imbalance. Feeding an overcrowded coop or cage may lead the hen to eat only a little for they may not be able to access the feeder thus leading to nutritional imbalance and causes less egg production. Access to clean and fresh water will cause the hen to produce less egg as well. Do not overpopulate your coop so that your hen can have access to food and water evenly with other hens.
If you only consider these factors, then harvesting fresh, organic eggs every morning is something you will always look forward to. So good luck in your poultry farming and may you find success!