Chickens are a great source of eggs in the winter, but they need some extra help to keep laying. To make chickens start laying again, you will want to ensure that there is enough light and warmth around them. We’ll discuss what causes chickens to stop laying and how you can fix this problem keep your hens laying throughout the year.
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Why Chickens Stop Laying: Key Causes
The most important factor in the laying performance of chickens is a balanced and complete diet. A lack of certain elements or vitamins can lead to a decrease or complete absence of productivity. Chicken feed for laying hens should have 60-70% of their feed made up of cereals. A variety of feed and a complete combination of useful components (proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and vitamins) helps to increase egg-laying performance.
Molting in chickens
In the presence of sufficient food, favorable keeping conditions the reason for the absence of eggs may be a period of natural feather change or molt. This period usually takes place at the end of autumn and the beginning of winter and lasts 2 months. To relieve the energy consumption of layers during the molt period, it is advisable to add sulfur-containing products to the usual diet.
Bad conditions for raising chickens
In order to ensure egg-laying, it is necessary to create a favorable temperature regime and sufficient light in the poultry house. In winter, as the daylight hours diminish and the weather gets colder, the productivity of hens naturally decreases. The hen is a daylight bird (12 hours in the summer months), which means it falls asleep at sunset and wakes up at dawn. If there is insufficient light, the hen house must be provided with artificial light to meet the daily light standards. An optimal comfortable temperature for layers in the coop – +59°F … 77°F.
Age of chickens
The intensity of egg production depends on the age of the flock. The most productive is the first year for laying hens with a peak at 27-28 weeks. At 48-50 weeks of age, productivity decreases and may cease by the age of 2-3 years. Chickens choose the autumn period as a rest from laying eggs.
Chickens are good at resisting disease, but cold, poor nutrition, and insufficient care can lead to winter illnesses and cause reduced egg counts.
What to do to make chickens lay in winter
Reduced egg production in winter can be reduced to the following reasons:
- light length of day;
- amount of outdoor exercise;
- preparation for brooding;
- cold and poorly lit hen house;
- inadequate winter feed;
- lack of warm water for drinking;
- excitement and fatigue;
- health status of the hens.
Thermal insulation of the hen house
Laying hens like comfort, and a well-equipped and insulated hen house can provide it. A warm room reduces the birds’ energy costs for heating, they consume less feed and lay better. In this regard, insulation is economically advantageous.
The insulation work should be done in the fall:
- Caulk the cracks in window frames and doors to eliminate drafts;
- caulk the holes in the foundation with putty or clay;
- whitewash the inside walls with lime;
- insulate the exterior walls with Styrofoam, puttying with clay and putty;
- insulate the northern part with plant mats;
- provide freedom of movement and approach to the masonry;
Peculiarities of chicken feeding
Evening feeding should be nourishing, so it is better to give whole grains for the night. All feed ingredients are ground. When preparing a mash, broths (meat or fish), whey, skim, or sour milk can be used as a liquid base to the dry ingredients (at a ratio of 1:3).
Due to the lack of sunlight in winter, the absorption of vitamins and minerals decreases, so their supplementation is important when formulating a winter diet to ensure egg-laying.
The following additives are used for this purpose:
- potassium iodide solution;
- dried herbal mixtures and pine needles;
- dairy products;
- fodder chalk;
- meat bone and blood meal;
- sprouted grain;
- meal of worms and gadflies;
- Best Dried Mealworms for Chickens
Key points: Chickens stop laying in winter because they are eating less feed, getting too cold, or not being exposed to enough sunlight. This is the time of year when chickens need more vitamins and minerals in their diet to ensure egg-laying. Use whole grains for evening feeding, put insulation on your coop, and provide vitamin supplements if needed.