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Chickens are hatched with a set number of eggs for their lifetime. This means that at some point, if they live a long life, they will stop laying completely due to not having any eggs left.
You may also wonder: Do roosters lay eggs?
Of course, they don’t just go from laying like gangbusters, to not laying at all. How often do chickens lay eggs can depend on a variety of different factors. But typically, you will see a slow decrease over time.
If you have had your chickens for a while and are getting less eggs than before, you might be wondering why. Well, you could have a number of factors at play.
There are, of course, other causes of decreased egg production. However, it may well be because a chicken is simply no longer laying.
Since chickens do lay like gangbusters for a while and then slowly stop, you may want to think about freezing eggs during times you are getting a lot.
Here are 5 ways to tell if your chicken is still laying:
1) Comb & Wattles
A hen that is still laying will have bright red comb and wattles, while a hen that is no longer laying will have a paler and shrunken appearance.
2) Legs & Feathers:
A hen that is still laying will be lacking in color in her legs. And a hens that is still laying will have feathers that tend to look a bit more disheveled. This is because she is using all of her nutrition to put towards egg production and not “looking pretty”.
So, if you have a hen that is starting to look bright and fancy again, you might consider that is a chick that is no longer laying eggs.
A hen that is still laying will have a large, moist vent. (Ya know, because she has to squeeze out eggs every day!) You should be able to fit about three fingers between her pubic bones.
A hen that is not laying will have a dry, small vent and her pubic bones will be much closer together.
Of course, looking at a hens appearance can give you good indications on if she may still be laying. However, it won’t give you a definite answer.
If you have the space, you can also always separate a hen for a few days to her own area to see if she produces any eggs. What we do is use a dog crate and give her food and water for a few days. This really a sure fire way to know if a chicken is still laying eggs or not.
5) Food Coloring:
You can also put a dot or two of food coloring on a hens vent, that way when she lays you should see some of the coloring on her eggs.
Do you have anything you look for to tell if your chickens are still laying? If so, let us know in a comment below.