Why are year old Rhode Island layers not producing eggs?

Asked October 21, 2013, 4:23 PM EDT

Our Rhode Island layers are not laying eggs. It has been several weeks since they laid more than one to three eggs a day and we are hoping for a solution to this problem. There are 25 layers with 2 roosters. I raised all of them since April 2012. My research indicates longevity of two years for laying chickens with egg laying throughout that period. Does the feed or roosters seem to be the cause? The straw is replaced in the nests every other week. Any advice is appreciated. My farm experience began and continues today since 1945.

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

Thanks for your inquiry. I suspect the cause for the decline and stopping of egg laying to be the shorter day lengths this time of year. Layers need a minimum of 12 hours of light to stimulate egg laying. Since the equinox in September the day length has been getting continually shorter with every day less than 12 hours of sunlight. This can be overcome by adding a light bulb (on a timer) in the chicken coop to provide the 12 hours of light.

There are several other possible causes for declining egg production … such as feed quality, water intake, parasites, disease and other stresses. Below is the link to a very good fact sheet from the University of Kentucky Extension that discusses the possible causes for hens to stop laying. http://www2.ca.uky.edu/smallflocks/Factsheets/Why_have_my_hens_stopped_laying_eggs.pdf I hope this information helps get your hens back to laying again.