It’s important to collect your hen’s eggs each morning, not just to keep them fresh, but to prevent the hens going broody, and from the eggs attracting unwanted visitors. If your hens aren’t producing eggs as usual, then there are a lot of potential causes.
Hens will usually start to produce eggs regularly when they are five or six months old. However, a hen’s egg production varies throughout her life in accordance with a lot of different factors. The most obvious one is that you can’t find them! If your hens roam freely about your garden, your hens may be laying in some very unusual places.
There are several potential causes for drop in egg production
- Moulting – if a hen is in moult, they are unlikely to produce as many eggs as usual, if at all
- Illness – the symptoms of some illnesses include drops in egg production, or the creation of misshapen or soft-shelled eggs
- Stress or fear – if something is frightening your flock, such as a predator visiting at night, then the result may be a lowering, or even cessation of egg production. If one hen is being bullied a lot, this also may be the cause.
- A lack of calcium and protein – misshapen eggs, or low laying rates can be the result of a poor diet. If you’re feeding your chickens too many treats, this can result in them not eating enough of their pellets to supply them with all the vitamins and minerals they need to survive.
- Age – once a hen hits a certain age, she naturally stops producing eggs
- Egg bound – if your hen hasn’t laid an egg for a few days, you may want to feel her abdomen to check that she isn’t egg bound. There’s more information and advice on our Chicken Health pages.