When the hens do not lay eggs, the alarms go off. Especially for people who enter the world of breeding these animals in an artisanal and respectful way, that is, breeding in freedom or in the most free way possible.
What do we mean by that? Well, free-range hens are more respected and have processes more in tune with the rhythms of living beings, unlike laying hens in industrial batteries in cages, for example, whose conditions are not the most suitable for any living being.
Today we will try to put everything about why these animals stop laying eggs into context.
Hen that does not lay eggs: what is it called?
The name of the hen that does not lay eggs is, or rather it is commonly called, “broody hen”. In this case the hen stops laying because not having been picked up, by her own instinct she begins to hatch them and stops laying more. This is something that usually happens in the spring and to prevent this from happening the eggs should be collected daily.
Does this mean that all hens that do not lay eggs are incubators? Not at all, because there are many other reasons why hens stop laying eggs.
Other Reasons Why Chickens Stop Laying Eggs
Let’s see what are the main ones besides becoming “cluecas” that prevent hens from producing eggs, such as loss of feathers, problems related to poor diet or low content of nutrients such as calcium and protein, diseases and parasites, age or stress.
Plumage moult: hens do not lay eggs
One of the main reasons hens stop laying eggs is moulting. This is a natural process in which free-range hens, i.e. outside of factory farms, usually occurs during the most abrupt seasonal changes, such as from summer to autumn, with the change of light and the decrease in the hours of sunshine.
The hens stop laying and all their energy is focused on renewing the feathers. It is said that this process also helps to improve the reproductive system, which is why after moulting, the hens begin to lay better quality eggs.
This process usually occurs jointly in all the hens in the poultry house and can last from a few weeks to 3 months. During all this time, the hens will continue without laying eggs.
In this case, we can do nothing but wait.
In the case of hens reared intensively, in factory farms and with artificial light and climate, this process can occur at any time of the year and not necessarily in synchronization with the rest of the animals.
Malnutrition in hens can prevent them from producing eggs. It’s natural. The animal, by not getting the nutrients necessary for optimal health, concentrates its energy on its own survival. Eggs need many nutrients, so a diet low in calcium or high in sodium could have a big impact.
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- Protein-rich feed for chickens and poultry, e.g. laying hens
- Promotes egg shell formation.
- Provides hens with the energy they need for their daily laying
- Supports the immune system
- The vitamins they contain take care of the down
Let’s not forget that the hens, each time they lay an egg, also lay 10% of their own calcium, which they need to recover by eating a balanced diet.
Also, the diet should be high in protein. We have already explained how to contribute protein for chickens in a dedicated article. Also be sure to see the post where we explain how to make a homemade chicken feeder, so they always have food on hand.
Diseases can also be a reason why hens stop producing eggs. Therefore, it is important that they are healthy and act at the lowest possible disease rate.
Parasites, mainly the so-called chicken louse or red mite, whose scientific name is Dermanyssus gallinae. It is an insect that can make chickens sick and reduce their production.
It can be treated with different antiparasitics, but it can also be buy diatomaceous earth, which is very effective for this and other uses, as well as for preventively putting it in the chicken coop. It is harmless to animals and people.
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Stress, whether caused by predators, noise, or pets not leaving these animals alone, can be one of the reasons why the hen is not laying eggs.
Therefore, it is important to take this into account when dealing with this problem and try to minimize anything that can cause stress.
Age: what to do with old hens?
Age can also be a reason for them to stop laying eggs. That’s why many people wonder what to do with old chickens. The answer is that it depends. The chicken can be left to die like any other animal, for which a dog is not required to give anything in return.
There are those who kill them to eat them, but it must be borne in mind that although it is something completely understandable and respectable, the meat is not the same as those who are bred for human consumption.
If the hen stops laying because she is old, it will be up to you how you want to handle the situation. The age at which chickens stop laying will also depend on the species, but usually in the middle of their life. That is, if they live for about 8 years, at 4 years of age they are very likely not to lay eggs for some time.
We hope that we were able to solve your doubts and that you see that the reasons why hens do not lay eggs are not always one, but there are several possibilities, as well as ways to deal with them.
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