Year and a half old hens not laying

My girls slowed WAAAAY down during the summer (as usual) but they are not picking the pace up now that it's cooled off... is it time to eat them and get new ones?  If not, what can I do to get the girls laying again??  Help! 

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  • For stewing chickens, I'm a great fan of my pressure cooker. I let the last batch cook with the weight rocking ever so gently for most of an hour. The meat came out very moist and intensely flavorful and as tender as possible for older hens.
    • Ah, I'd forgotten about my pressure cooker! Thanks for bringing that up, Jeanne!

  • In my experience, things that slow production are:


    extreme weather

    too little protien

    too little calcium (offer free choice oyster shells)

    shorter days

    parasites which include lice, mites and worms of all sorts. Deworming is safe and easy and treating for lice and mites is just dusting the birds with DE.





    From that long list, you can see that there are lots of reasons that hens laying can slow. Don't be discouraged. I would start addressing these things systematically and hopefully your production will pick back up.

    • I can add one more that we learned this year...not enough supplemental feed if they're pastured hens. :)

    • Thank you, Karis.  Where do I get chicken dewormer?  They've been doing fine with Purina Layena + treats, and they are done with moulting.  They have a light at night, and I dust them with DE.  One hen has not laid an egg in months... she's getting very close to becoming chicken broth! (I sound tough, but I love those hens like kids- it's hard to think about doing them in).

  • We are down too right now. We have a small flock but we are down from 6 a day to 3-4 a day. I figure it is the changing weather and light, but I've chosen not to put a light in their coop because I figure it's good for them not to work as hard and get a break. I may change my mind if it drops any further but for now it's okay. Although we did just add a rooster (more for wanting to try to raise our own chicks than to increase egg production), and they have been getting a ton of treats lately. We'll see how it goes in a few more weeks for us. Sorry I can't tell you anything to help you just commiserate. Although I would not think 1 1/2 year olds should be slowing that much down. I know they slow down at a year but I didn't think it was much, and just gradually gets slower as they get older. Good luck.

  • Good to hear others are experiencing the same thing as we are, although it's not a good thing we're experiencing it!

    Ours went to lower-than-usual production during the summer...last year they went down to 50% production, this year it fell to 5%. But a third of them went into moult, our pullets weren't ready, and we were doing construction on the coop.

    Production has picked up a tiny bit lately, but not enough. I'm assuming it's because of the extended summer we've had, but it's been cooling down lately so we're anticipating a lot more eggs very soon. Or a lot of stew. I'd prefer eggs. I really would.

    • I hear you... I hate to have to pull the plug on them; they are so cute.  But I can't afford to feed them if they don't produce.  How do you stew yours?

    • Normally I roast them slowly. Brine them for a day, then cook them covered at about 300 degrees for 1/2 hour, then drop it to 250 for a few hours, removing the cover near the end. Low temps keeps from toughening the protein so older birds will be more tender. I don't have any special stew recipes, do you?

      Our girls have picked up, though. Of the 25 layers, we're getting around 10 eggs/day. That's getting much better! We pumped up the feed a couple weeks ago, so I guess they weren't getting enough bugs in the pasture.  Our bad.

  • All things are equal except the egg laying.  They've already molted and are in fine feather now.  Plain yogurt helped production during the summer... will try that again.  Don't want to consign them to the stew pot!  :(

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