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Friday, February 22, 2013

Question: Chickens Not Laying Eggs

Hi, I have two Rhode Island Reds.  Between them they usually lay only one egg a day sometimes none at all. I bought them last Easter, they were not little chicks, but about half grown.   Recently, neither has laid an egg in  about two weeks.  We live on the Texas upper Gulf Coast, so it's only been cold for a  few weeks this season. The larger of the two, seems to be pulling out her feathers.  Can you tell me why this is?  I don't believe either is broody because they don't sit on their nest except at night, or when they are laying.  Also can you tell me if you think, when they are laying, are that alternating days to lay, or is one not laying at all.  I can’t tell because they both sit together when they are roosting or laying.  Thank you for your help.
Do any of you brilliant chicken lovers out there have advice for Violetta?  

Leave your answer in the comments if you do. 


Dale Johnson said...


They may be moulting. Chickens moult at about a year old. They quit laying and they lose feathers. It usually lasts a 2-3 weeks but sometimes longer. Egg production also slows down in the wintertime because of the reduced light and colder weather which will have a smaller effect where you are in Texas. Leghorns and Rhode Island Crosses (Sex links) egg production continues in the winter time much better than other breeds.

Just give your hens a couple of more weeks and see if production improves.

Mary Ann said...

I agree with Dale Johnson's comment above... they are moulting. It's the time of year (you are warmer, so a few months behind us, ours do it in November). Egg production slows or stops, but as soon as the feathers grow back in, they'll be up and running again. Be patient.

Mike said...

There is a good article on molting on our blog at this address


if you would like to learn more about it.

Liz Clark said...

It's normal for chickens to moult and during that time they do go off the lay. Keep them well fed and yes be patient. You will certainly know if a hen goes broody they get very grumpy plump up and sit on an egg even it's it fertile. During the moult all the hen's energy goes into growing new feathers. Before you know it they will be back on they lay again.

Kristina Seleshanko said...

Other reasons they may not be laying: http://proverbsthirtyonewoman.blogspot.com/2013/01/8-reasons-chickens-stop-laying-eggs.html