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Stress That Can Stop Hens Laying – Suddenly!

Hens Stopped Laying Eggs

Stress That Can Stop Hens Laying – Suddenly!

Now and again, egg-laying can just stop! Sometimes, it can be a struggle to find a reason beyond something obvious like a bottom trim. Here are some of the common causes we have found for a lack of eggs being produced.

Health

Chickens with strong immune systems tend to be quite resilient to most diseases and stress. However, common parasites such as worms and lice can cause issues if allowed to build-up in number. Parasites “steal” the nutrients that should be going to the hen or cause excessive aggravation to hens.

Intestinal Worms

Such as Roundworm are commonly contracted through rodent and wild bird droppings. Many dewormers are water-based and not registered for egg-laying birds so check the information on the packet. Always sweeten-up the liquid to encourage your chickens to drink the medicated water and always follow-up the first treatment with a second! We have a feed based dewormer for laying hens if you have difficulty finding the right liquid dewormer from your local pet shop.

Lice and to a lesser extent, Mites are external parasites that are quite common. Poultry Lice cause excessive itching and preening while mites bite like mosquitos and drink the blood from your hens. It’s important to treat them and thoroughly clean your chicken coop at the same time to avoid any rapid re-occurrence.

Perceived threats

Foxes are ever-present and the cause of a great deal of stress to hens and their owners. More common in suburbia than in rural areas, foxes are very observant and will choose their opportunity to attack very carefully. Hens are very attuned to the presence of foxes and will often stop laying suddenly if they detect one near their coop.

Loud noises

Can also stop hens laying suddenly. Thunderstorms, barking or fighting dogs, construction noise, parties (not such an issue at the moment), or loud cars can all stop eggs flowing for a few days.

Flock behaviour

Bad behaviour by members of a flock can cause a reduction of egg-laying in the bullied hen(s). If bullying is particularly bad, the affected hen(s), will be under constant stress which will limit their ability to both access and digest food. Spraying a product like Vitality Booster on feed will add an extra layer of nutrition to support the health of any hens under stress.

2 thoughts on “Stress That Can Stop Hens Laying – Suddenly!

  1. Excuse my ignorance, but what is a “bottom trim”? And how can the need for a bottom trim cause a hen to stop laying? One of my chooks had triple the amount of feathers more than the others (she was a light sussex) and her bottom would get pooped up so I’d have to bathe her regularly, but now I’m wondering if I could have trimmed?I’ve never trimmed any of my girls’ feathers as I thought it could be dangerous if you accidentally cut a “blood” feather.

    1. Hi Gillian,

      A “bottom trim” shouldn’t be needed as long as the hens have been fed well, regularly dewormed and have no ailments. Parasitic intestinal worms such as the common roundworm, can cause issues in the gut with the result that the hen develops a runny bottom.

      Depending on the breed, some may be more susceptible to “caking” and build-up of droppings in their rear feathers which the hen may not be able to preen off effectively. If this is the case, a trim of those feathers may be needed to remove the caked feathers. It won’t cause any damage as far as I know but you would need to take care when doing it.

      Regards – Jason

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