During the Spring and Summer our chickens lay like gangbusters. However, sometimes, we will have unexplained decreased egg production. Whenever this happens, we always try and troubleshoot to figure out why our chickens have decreased their egg production.
It is important to know how often chickens lay eggs so that you know if you are getting a normal amount or if there is decrease egg production to look at.
If you are experiencing decreased egg production, here are a few things to look for:
1) Molting Chickens– each year your chickens will go through molt. This usually happens in the early Fall time. If they are molting, it may look like a big feather pillow fight in your coop. Helping to increase the protein intake for your chickens can help them get through molt and reverse their decreased egg production.
2) Broken Eggs – if you are getting less eggs because they are breaking, you should give some free choice oyster shells to your flock. The calcium in the oyster shells should help harden the egg shell and decrease broken eggs.
3) Egg Eaters – whether it is your own chickens or a snake, sometimes less eggs are due to something eating them. To help remedy a chicken egg eater, you can fill an egg shell with hot sauce which should help detour further eating.
4) Mites or Lice – if chickens have mites and lice the stress can cause them to decrease egg production. So, if you start seeing decreased eggs, then you should check the vent and under wing area on a few birds to see if they have any little bugs on them.
5) Stress/New Environment – chickens will shut down or decrease egg production if they are stressed out or undergoing changes. If you have added new chickens to the flock, moved their coop, or made any other changes recently they may stop laying for a short period of time. You really just have to wait this one out.
6) Lack of Water – whether it is the heat of summer and the water is running dry or if it is the dead of winter and their water is frozen solid, if the chickens are not getting enough water, they will decrease egg production. Afterall, think about how much liquid an egg is made up of.
7) Decreased Light – the shorter, darker days of winter will cause egg production to drop drastically. Chickens need a certain number of hours of light to produce an egg. You can add a regular light and timer to the coop in order to give them extra light in the dark winter days to help keep their egg production up.