Raising Chickens 101: When Chickens Stop Laying Eggs

Elizabeth Creith

Learn what to do when your chickens stop laying eggs.  The final chapter in the oval of life.

(This is the sixth and final post in our Raising Chickens 101 beginner series.)

Sooner or later, your chickens will stop laying eggs. When depends on the chicken. Most of ours went “off lay” as the days grew shorter. They laid fewer and fewer eggs until one day they simply stopped. One or two continued to lay sporadically throughout the cold, dark days of winter, although most of those eggs froze and cracked before we got out to collect them. (We gave them to the dog, usually raw and right on the spot. He had a lovely, shiny coat and produced sulfurous gas at inopportune moments.)

You can extend the laying period for your hens by putting a light hooked to a timer in the henhouse. This will give the hens a couple of extra hours of artificial daylight, but the natural pattern for most hens is to stop laying in the winter.

As the hens go off lay, you have two ways of dealing with them. One is to resign yourself to a lot of chicken stew over the winter. Year-old hens usually aren’t tender enough to roast. The other way is to give them the winter off and wait. They’ll begin laying again in the spring. (I’ve heard people say that they couldn’t keep chickens because “you have to kill them when they stop laying eggs.” Not true. We never killed a hen simply because she stopped laying.)

We found that our older hens usually produce fewer eggs, but larger ones. In a production flock, this is a problem because consistency of supply and size is important. In the home flock, who cares? (Another advantage to older hens: They’re used to you and are less flighty and panicky.)

Even if you decide to keep your laying hens until they die of old age, you will eventually have to dispose of a chicken. Maybe you’ll have a sick bird, an overaggressive rooster, a hen injured by a predator, or a chicken that eats eggs. Maybe that mixed batch of chicks will turn out to be half cockerels, and who needs six roosters for six hens? Trust me, the hens won’t thank you!

The simplest way to kill a chicken—so I’m told as I’ve never done this and I’ve never seen it done—is to wring its neck. You have to be quick and forceful to avoid causing pain. We used the traditional chop: cutting the chicken’s throat. As far as I understand, these are the two main ways to kill a chicken. Shooting is also a possibility, but it’s noisy and probably also illegal in most places.

An axe and a block (a stump or upended round of firewood will do, as long as it’s stable) are probably the simplest method for people new to this age-old practice. There are a couple of ways to hypnotize or calm the chicken. One is to place the chicken breast-down on a flat surface while holding its legs. Wave a piece of chalk in front of the chicken’s beak until you have the bird’s attention, then draw a line straight out from the beak for 12 to 18 inches. The bird will focus on the line and not move or flap.

As most chopping blocks aren’t that long, you might want to use an alternate method. Lay the bird on its side, with one wing under it. Tap your finger in front once at the point of the beak (but not touching), then about four inches in front of the beak. Repeat alternating taps until the bird calms down and holds still.

If you’re worried about your aim, you can pound two long nails into the stump, far enough apart to span the chicken’s neck but close enough together to keep its head from slipping through. Lay the chicken on the block with its neck between the nails and apply enough tension to the legs to stretch the neck and keep the bird in place. Then use the axe. If you intend to eat the chicken, hold it up by the legs to let the blood drain. There will be flapping, but rest assured that the bird is dead and doesn’t feel any pain.

Have a pot of scalding (140° to 160°F) water ready. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can tell that the water is hot enough if you can see your face reflected in it. Dip the bird for 20 to 30 seconds. Afterwards you can wipe the feathers off with your hand. Chop off the feet, then cut around the cloaca (anus—chickens use the same opening for excretion and egg-laying), being careful not to nick the intestines, and scoop the innards out with your hand. Rinse with cold water. If you can get all of this done in 20 minutes while the oven preheats, you can cook the bird immediately; otherwise, let it rest for 24 hours, until rigor mortis relaxes.

People who raise their own food know where it comes from, what’s gone into it, and how it’s been treated. Whether your chickens are ultimately intended for the table or killed simply to end pain or illness and then buried in the back forty, remember that this is a responsibility that comes with the job. Doing it, and doing it well, means that you’re doing your best by your birds.


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I really like your

I really like your information, Elizabeth! My parents grew up on farms but lived in a small town where I was born. We moved to a farm when I was 12. My dad had some small variations on your suggestions: he had a wide shelf with small trees on shallow wedges for the perch. That made it easy to just remove the perch and use a hoe or shovel to scrape the manure into a bucket and carry to the garden. Because of the shelf, we didn't have any flooring - the coop was built on top of concrete foundation. (Wear shoes when walking inside!) He also had a smaller coop than you recommended, but we had a larger area for the chickens to roam as well. One thing you didn't mention is that the owner might need to trim some wing feathers to keep chickens from flying over fences when chasing grasshoppers or other insects! I can say that I enjoyed the chickens as a kid -- I learned to imitate all of them -- cluck, crow, and peep, so now my kids just think I'm weird!

LOL, my kids and their

LOL, my kids and their friends think I am also, yes, I clip the wing on each bird to prevent the grass is greener on the other side issue. But yes, I lvoe my birds, watching them, the kids love them it is such a great way to teach them about life and all, we homeschool also. But beep cock and crow away, they will laugh with you remembering the good ole days soon.

I have a question, I have

I have a question, I have read your info about chickens that have stopped laying, I'm not sure if winter is my issue or not. I have 10 females ranging in age from 2 yrs to 1 yr old, they free range get plenty of feed but I only get 1 eggs every few days from my oldest 2 yr old hen the 9 others nothing, I got a couple here and there during summer but most eggs I got at any one time was 4 and that was only 1 or 2 occasions. I have 4 nest boxes in coop, 1 rooster, but after the youngest were 1 yr I just thought I'd be getting more eggs per day. All were picked as breeds that were supposed to be heavy egg layers too. Not sure what may be going on. If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them! Thanks

This may not apply to your

This may not apply to your problem but I had a thought or two to share to possibly help you. First, since they are free-ranging...Are you SURE that some are not laying in a nest of their own making somewhere on the property? Chickens, like people, don't always get along so they avoid each other. Maybe there are nests or spots they are using on the land and perhaps, other critters are eating the eggs. Other than that, chicken hens may stop laying if they get yeast, fungus, and/or bacterial infections or get mite infested or sore around their vents. Any kind of stress including fear of other animals (like snakes, etc.) could stop the laying. I recommend looking for things that might be stressing them if they truly seem to not be laying or laying less.

Oh, Kim! I've never heard of

Oh, Kim! I've never heard of hens being so incredibly stubborn!

A couple of things come to mind. Are you feeding a layer mash or pellet? Hens need calcium for shell production and the muscle tone to lay - you might want to give them some chicken grit (crushed oyster shell). Are they getting actual sunlight?

Are the hens suited to your climate? Some breeds want warmer weather, and some cooler.

If it's any consolation, my hens aren't laying up to expectations either this year. I have Harcos, which should be laying at 75% - nine eggs per day per twelve hens. I've had them before and got that kind of production. This year I'm getting two to four eggs from eleven hens.

If all else fails, you may want to start with new chickens.

Good luck - let me know how it goes!


I've heard that sometimes

I've heard that sometimes hens will find a spot to lay eggs out of the pen somewhere. I wonder if this is what is happening?

I have 18 hens. They are

I have 18 hens. They are divided into three seperate coops-the way I bought the groupings. I do spoil mine, more so in these colder months. I give them all the table scraps. I have heat lamps in all three coops. I have coops wrapped with clear plastic on all the wire area's in order to let the natural light in. If day is over cast I do turn on just regular 60wtt light for them to get that "sunlight" feel. Have been getting 11-12 eggs daily. Five of my "ladies" are 2yrs plus. I will also say they do enjoyed being talked to, so if you even leave a radio on for them-could possibly help. Good luck to you.

I am thinking about raising

I am thinking about raising chicks! I read all your information but I was wondering if you have any advice for me? I am planning on getting my chicks from Wilco. If you have any advice it would be greatly appreciated i have never had chickens before but I think it will be a great experience!Thanks!

i have 8 female chicken but

i have 8 female chicken but no egg what am i doing wrong please

Hi Eyenader, If you aren't

Hi Eyenader,
If you aren't giving your chickens extra (timed) light in the winter, they won't lay eggs. Or, you may not be feeding them the right kind of food. Talk to the chicken expert where you buy their food.

Hi, I wonder if my hen

Hi, I wonder if my hen hatches her own chicks, will they be safe in the pen or ranging free with the rest of the flock or do I need to keep her in a separate area?

The baby needs to be kept

The baby needs to be kept separate and safe from other hens who can get jealous and might kill the chick. Also: When the baby is ready to hatch do not assist!

I live in sunny north

I live in sunny north queensland austalia and I have 8 chooks. The chooks are not a year old and we are getting very few eggs. I thought maybe they were laying elsewhere so I have locked them up till 5 pm and have got no eggs. Why is this?

Hens need a lot of light to

Hens need a lot of light to lay eggs and light in your area is decreasing. The usual issue is that the hens are moulting and may not lay again for a few months...but they will eventually start again.

I live in North Florida,

I live in North Florida, which is beginning to feel - temperature wise - like living in Central Florida. Which breeds of chickens do best in very hot temperatures with high humidity?

Our readers like Rhode Island

Our readers like Rhode Island Reds for hot weather. You may find this breed chart helpful:

I have 4 hens a year old and

I have 4 hens a year old and get 3-4 eggs everyday they are free range but they have wondered to far lately so i bought a dog run and put the coop in the run across the yard away from the pourch and kept them in the run for a week letting them out in short sperts thinking they will stay home. Now I get 1-2 eggs. Did I blow it by moving the coop.. Are they unhappy now

Is it possible that they are

Is it possible that they are laying their eggs somewhere other than their Coop? Assuming their coop allows plenty of space, we would suggest that you only let them out in the early afternoon for a couple weeks. Then, do not let them out until 10 am or so--as chickens usually lay early in the day once they get established.

Sense the last time i wrote.

Sense the last time i wrote. My girls have started laying again. I spoin my chickens i also give them table scrapes being careful not to give them spicy foods.. They love cooked rice. They run to me when i come outside. I may one day get more, I heard they will pick on chicks or new chickens so I guess i will wait.

My 6 month old hens suddenly

My 6 month old hens suddenly stopped producing. I have 4 production reds. I was getting 3-4 everyday. The last week I am getting 1-2. I feed them 20% protein pellets but they free range my 1/3 acre lot and eat a very modest amount of feed. Days are getting longer not shorter. Any ideas?

I have 1 leghorn 2 sexlinks 1

I have 1 leghorn 2 sexlinks 1 barred rock. Every night i take all the left overs from the day, I call them they come running they go in the run and wait for the food they also get chicken feed. I also heard cat food has alot of protein so they eat the cat food. They will produce again be patient

Hello Elizabeth, I have 3

Hello Elizabeth, I have 3 Barred Rocks hens that are just over one year old. They all started laying at 6.5 months old last October with increasing regularity. As the length of day decreased, I supplemented with artificial light on a timer, and they kept laying. Then in December one pullet stopped laying. Her eggs always had a slight blood smear on the shell. She has not laid an egg since then and has gotten fat. Here it is May, she's a full-grown hen, and a nonlayer. Do you think she will ever lay again? Or, is she destined for the stewpot? Please advise, and thank you.

I have a 3 year old

I have a 3 year old roadisland red that wants to go to the nesting box, but no egg, i have checked and she is not egg bound, could she just be at the end of her laying cycle at 3?

My broody hen sat on 11 eggs

My broody hen sat on 11 eggs for 21 days and only one chick hatched out. She continued to sit for two more days...nothing more hatched. On the third day she pecked one egg open and there was a fully formed chick inside but it was not alive. The remaining eggs feel heavy so expect they also have chicks. Why are they not hatching? Any help would be appreciated.

I was wondering if someone

I was wondering if someone would tell me how to clip the wings I have 11 RIR they are 51/2 months old but seem to want to wonder to next yard and I have to go round them up each night even though I live on an acre fully fenced yard they seem to escape now and agan so any help for my wayward girls

Only clip one wing so their

Only clip one wing so their flight will be off balance. You don't need to clip a lot off, maybe about 1 1/2 - 2 inches. If the ends of the feathers are black, that is what you want to clip off. They will grow back when the birds molten but not before unless they lose a feather for some other reason.

my hen has been sitting in

my hen has been sitting in the same coup box for 3 days - when i lifted her she was sat on 2 eggs i removed them but she wont move from her spot any suggestions?

You can remove her from the

You can remove her from the nest holding her for awhile away from the nesting box this I heard works some time she will complain when u remove her she is in a brooding mode I do asume you have no rooster so removing her might work or put her so she can not get back in the nest go to backyardchicken.com thats where I read it

My dad told me that when they

My dad told me that when they had a broody hen, they would dunk her in cold water. He said sometimes they had to do it twice, but it always broke their broodiness.

She has gone broody.Usually

She has gone broody.Usually the hen will lay on other chickens eggs.Her system shuts down and she stops laying and prepares for hatching babies.If you keep taking the eggs usually they'll stop this after awhile or you can isolate them so there won't be eggs to lay on and she should snap out of it sooner.Some hens are more broody then others mine I just let them go through it and remove the eggs.If you do let her sit on them and you have a rooster she may hatch you some chicks.

i have 21 hens. they are

i have 21 hens. they are laying eggs about 8 months. now a days they go to lay the eggs in cage but after 15 to 20 mint they get up without laying a egg. this routine is about of 1month. only 2 of thems are laying regularly. and few of them try to lay an egg but he cannot lay egg. i dont know why. i think they have eggs production but cannot lay. i live in mountainy area. here my hens can wander here and there all the day. i think they took a long flight due which eggs get broke in there body. my hens are n0t the white colored. they are brown and red in color. ....

I have an old bantam we got

I have an old bantam we got from rescue. It was in fairly bad state but is so much better now. We are almost certain we have seen it lay eggs. I say it as it is now crowing and have not had any eggs for month any where near it. Any ideas. Hen or cockerel. Thanks.

When we recently moved I

When we recently moved I adopted two bantam hens, coop and all. They are about 5 years old. They had been using nothing but straw for their coop and nesting area all their lives. The urban farm store around here convinced me to try special, non-dusty pine shavings made specially for hens. I cleaned the coop thoroughly and replaced all the straw with the shavings. They are extremely suspicious of the new digs. They don't even want to go in there. Any suggestions?

Yeah, give them back their

Yeah, give them back their straw. Store owners make their money selling stuff that most of our animals don't need, don't want and won't use.

Straw can get moldy when wet

Straw can get moldy when wet and mites seem to like it because it has hollow stalks. Hay is better, however they will get used to the shavings. Try putting down some treats with the shavings, like dried mealworms. I think mine would walk through fire to get them!

Hi we live in Florida and

Hi we live in Florida and have several golden comets. They molted a few months ago and a few of them are not regaining their feathers. The skin color is pink on the back and a bright red on their bottoms. Is there anything we can do to help with this process. As far as I can tell they are still laying with no problems.

I recently got my hands on

I recently got my hands on six Rhode Island reds, The previous owner said they would lay about 3-4 a day, and at first they did. Well now they have completely stopped laying all together! I went to feed them earlier today and they didn't even want to eat! Im worried, I live in louisiana. Could it be the heat? But they have also lived in louisiana there whole lives. Could it be the move? But they were laying after the move! I need help!!

Please keep all comments on

Please keep all comments on topic, folks, or they will be deleted. And many thanks to the members of our community who have helped answer questions on this page!

Happy New Years to all and I

Happy New Years to all and I just joined today. As other members have posted my 6 hens only produce 1 or 2 eggs a day. 4 are cochin (with one cochin rooster); 2 are silkies, and a Rhode Island red. They went through molting about 2 months ago and I live in central PA; getting colder of course but have good size pen and protection from cold. I feed them mash, corn, and provide grit; always plenty of water. Should I try a different food? I give them some scraps but not a lot. I keep straw in their nests and they like some around the ground area. Any suggestions are most appreciated. They are nice pets but I'm still buying eggs!

When I was a boy, I had

When I was a boy, I had chickens for a 4H project. they quit laying in the winter and my grandmother, (part Native American) told me to go out to the hay manger and gather up some alfalfa leaves. She put them in a pot of water and warmed it up. I took it out to the chicken house and placed it in the middle of the pen. Bingo, they started laying again I continued this for the duration of the cold weather.

I have a chicken question

I have a chicken question that I couldn't find anywhere online. We live in Northern Idaho and the days get short quick in the late fall and winter. We have done pretty good in keeping our chickens laying, as we had a heat lamp and light in the coop. But a couple of weeks ago we lost our electricity to our coop. The egg production dropped off rapidly. They were out of the extended light for a couple of weeks almost. But we did get everything hooked up again. But it has been 10 days and still no eggs. Will we get more eggs this winter do you think or is it a lost cause until the spring?

It may be a lost cause until

It may be a lost cause until the spring, rest assured they will lay eggs in the spring

Why do all of my chickens

Why do all of my chickens want to lay in the same box? We have enough boxes for all of them but they all want in one box?

my three girls have a

my three girls have a "recycle" set up, I use the split lidded tubs that cat litter comes in, they get shredder paper bits for their nest box, and we use inexpensive solar shed lights to give them that extra bit of light in the winter! My girls laid all winter long! They come when i call and love the fresh sprouts i give them once a week!

Are chickens still good to

Are chickens still good to eat at 3yr old. They are black sex links which are good for laying and eating. So are they still good to butcher and sell?

Do chickens stop laying when

Do chickens stop laying when the nest get full? We were on vacation for two weeks and returned to 3 full nests. We have not gotten any new eggs since we returned.

hi! I am a newer chicken

hi! I am a newer chicken owner. We currently have 29 hens of mixed breeds that are about 18 mos old now (we got them as chicks). We have gone from 24 eggs/day down to 7-10 per day in the past 3-4 months!!! It's been a bit alarming as we thought we had another 6 months of good egg laying yet from our ladies. They all act healthy, lively and are eating good - both garden scraps and layer feed. I haven't seen a ton of feathers lately, but did notice some molting earlier this summer. Our breeds included Americauna, White Leghorns, Welsummer, Golden Laced Wyandotte, Speckled Sussex, and some other mixed breeds we can't identify. They have a large run, that is shaded with free access to water and I even have grass growing in boxes for them to get access to fresh grass when they want to, as well. No bug infestation, snakes, etc that we can find to cause stress. I do suspect that my Golden Laced Wyandottes are fighting as they're missing feathers along their heads (they actually look like Turkens!!), but haven't witnessed it myself yet. Would that be enough to stress the whole flock though? Thanks for any thoughts/ideas!

Your chickens are probably

Your chickens are probably molting (loosing their old feathers and growing new) while in their molt all the energy that normally goes into egg production goes into new feathers. They will start laying within 2-4 weeks, depending on the breed and age of the chicken.

Hi I live in Oak Point,

Hi I live in Oak Point, Manitoba. I was wondering if there is a way to find out if we are allowed to have chickens, and what guidelines we need to follow. Any help is appreciated.

There are a lot of questions

There are a lot of questions about and different answers for how long hens lay.

I have 8 hens: 1 3-y.o. Langshan, 1 2-y.o. Cuckoo Marans, 2 1-y.o. Ameraucanas, 2 1-y.o. Barnevelders, and 2 11-m.o. Black Copper Marans.

The Langshan hasn't consistently laid eggs since her first winter and she hasn't laid any eggs since this last spring.

The Cuckoo Marans has also not laid any eggs this year at all.

I fully expected the others to stop laying when going through molt, but not the new young, Black Copper Marans. I expected them to start laying in July, which they did, and keep laying through the winter. No dice.

What happened to the Langshan and the Cuckoo Marans? Why are they no longer laying eggs? Why did the BCMs stop laying so soon?

They are in a very large pen (30x90) and they also get rotated into other areas in my yard with netting (50x50). They get grass, bugs, table scraps (only fresh and what they like), and organic feed. I rarely find eggs in odd places.

A fox came through 5 weeks ago and grabbed one of the Ameraucanas, but I scared him off and saved the hen. She was already molting when she went on antibiotics. I did not expect her to lay again until the new year. She is back to laying and I can't use her eggs because of the antibiotics.

I'm so confused!

Please I need help.I have 60

Please I need help.I have 60 broiler parent stock which they are 8month old.they started laying at 24weeks old and for 2month d production is fine.and for d past 3 weeks d production drop drastically which I think is due to changing of feed.and am seeing only 6 egg now from 60 chicken for d past 3week and they they are not sick pls help me with any information to get them back please help me

Check if they are getting

Check if they are getting enough water--too little can cause the birds to stop laying. Is the water frozen? Also, make sure that the birds are getting a balanced diet, about 16 to 18-percent protein. Make sure the feed also has enough calcium.
Are they molting? If so, that may be a sign that their bodies are just resting and recharging for another round of egg laying. Good layers will sometimes lay for about 50 or 60 weeks and then go through a rest period.
As daylight hours decrease, egg laying is sometimes affected; hens need about 14 hours of daylight to lay eggs. If daylight is below that (usually October through February), providing a little extra artificial light for those lost hours, might help. One Cooperative Extension site recommends adding one 40-watt light per 100 feet of coop; turn the lights on in the morning for those added hours, so that the birds can roost at sunset.
Stress also can cause a hen to stop laying--are there any predators or other things about that might scare them?  New routines? Changes in environment (has their area become damp or chill, or too hot)?
Age and diseases may also affect laying.

with my chickens if I give

with my chickens if I give them,other food like scratch, they do not lay as often,hens need protein to produce all the time during laying, I would suggest taking them off laying mash when the weather get really cold ,that gives them a rest,when weather changes put them back on laying pellets, a light in the hen house will help keep plenty of water for them, I check them twice a day, hope this may help. CAL

How long does it take after a

How long does it take after a hen hatches out her chicks before she starts laying again?

hiii,,, i dont know, what i

i dont know, what i do,, i have four hens, three of them are golden and one is farm hen,, golden hens are of exact same age, but only two golden hen lay egg, while the third golden go to the box for laying egg, but after a while she come without giving any egg and makes a lot of sad noice,, looking she is weeping, 6th months gone,, but she dont gave any egg,, plzz tell something,,,,
At the same time,, i bought a farm hen from farm house.. the owne told me, that she gave egg daily,, but 1 month passed,,, i watch no any white egg,,, :( plzz tell something for them.

She may not be ready to lay

She may not be ready to lay eggs yet, they start at their own pace. Every hen is different, just as every person is different.

There are many factors that come into play.
She may not feel comfortable enough with you or the area she has to lay them. Many hens will not lay if they feel scared. The amount of day light may not be long enough. She may not be getting enough of something, malnourished. Or it could just be that she has one and cannot push it out. If that is the case. She may just absorb the egg back into her body and recycle it. She could be sterile, meaning that she cannot make eggs, it happens to a lot of animals. Of course there is the possibility that she is laying somewhere else, hiding them. Herself or other hens could be eating them.

I say just wait and see what happens.
Calm down.
It's just like human puberty, everyone starts at their own pace. Some won't start laying until they are a year old. Others start at 5 months. Give it time.

Until then, hold her. Get her used to you. Spend some time with her. Feed her from your hand every once in a while, to make sure she has enough. You should pick them up and hold them, almost daily, until they are about 10 weeks old. Then weekly after that, so they stay used to you.

A cuddled chicken is a happy chicken.

Lay a steel bar across their

Lay a steel bar across their neck right behind their head, step on both sides of the bar and pull their legs. The chickens head will come right off. We butchard hundreds of chickens this way growing up. Keep a turkey fryer with boiling water handy to dip them in before pulling the feathers. Keep your freezers full.

i am going to get chickens

i am going to get chickens please give me some advice thanks

I grew up with the chopping

I grew up with the chopping block and axe but was somewhat uncomfortable with it myself. We used "gentle" killing of our ducks so I decided to try the method with chickens - works great.

Caution: requires kneeling on the ground.

Kneeling, place the body of the calmed chicken between your legs. Bring the neck forward long and straight. Dig the fingers of one hand into the neck just below the head and hold the head and neck firmly. Taking a sharp knife - I used a hunting knife - draw it firmly across the neck from below. One good cut will do it; if you have to do a second it is usually merely to cut the vertebral column.

Result: dead chicken.

We hang them in the trees until they have bled out but that wouldn't be necessary as most of the bleeding occurs very quickly.

Is it true or false that

Is it true or false that keeping a rooster with my laying hens will keep them laying longer, and more regular than if I did not keep a rooster. The rooster keeps them safe from hawks and other predators and keeps a look out at all times. It seems beneficial to keep a rooster for these reasons. My neighbor disagrees and he keeps his hens without a rooster and is upset when my rooster comes over to mate with his hens. Please help me with these questions. Thank you!

To us, the question "to have

To us, the question "to have a rooster or not" is about whether you want fertilization and to hatch eggs -- or if you simply want eggs for the table. If it's the latter, a rooster is not needed, unless you just want one! A rooster will warn of predators but many folks who raise hens have a safe enclosure so that predators are already deterred.

There is at least one other

There is at least one other for getting a rooster. When I bought my current flock of laying hens (8 of them), it wasn't long before they were little more than clucking targets. A family of hawks dive-bombed the, an opossum killed one, local dogs and cats stopped by for a free chicken dinner. It wasn't pretty.

And then, I got Rudy-the-Rooster; 1/2 game cock 1/2 bantam. The little dude made the hens his within 24 hours. He acts like a LA gang-member. He took on the biggest hawk the first day. No more hawks. Ever. He took on two big dogs and a medium size cat within two weeks. They packed up and left too. There were two additional benefits: this year we (they) hatched our first chicks and I did nothing. Mama and Rudy handled it all. Chicks are doing fine. The second benefit was that the various dogs and woodland creatures that were always tipping over my trash cans finally had to go out, get a real job and make an honest living. Go Rudy!

I have a flock of buff

I have a flock of buff chickens of different age. I purchase about 6 new ones every couple years to keep up with egg production.my question is how do I know which chickens have stopped laying eggs. as it is not cost affective to feed chickens that are not laying eggs and I am also running out of room.

Get leg bands and mark your

Get leg bands and mark your birds by year acquired. Keep track of which color is which year. When they're 4+ yrs old, you can make stew.

I have one rooster and

I have one rooster and different kinds of hens. I found a hatched chick today and none of the hens seem to want to be the mother. Sooo, I'm taking care of it inside. When it gets large enough to go out, I'm sorry kinda embarrassed, does the mating with it's father affect anything or should I coup the new chicks separately? If they mate do I need a different rooster?

Once the chick gets old

Once the chick gets old enough to fend for itself, it should be fine with a rooster. Every rooster is different. Some are too aggressive and others are nurturing.
In terms of mating: Many people interbreed but professional breeders often won't breed parent/chick or siblings. Here's a popular program called line breeding:

I have some chickens,

I have some chickens, recently I had one sitting on a nest
She wouldn't eat or drink anything unless I hand fed and watered he. She wouldn't get off the nest, yesterday I found her dead in the lot and 1 baby hatched. Can you maybe tell me what happened, her comb kept getting dull and faded

It's possible that she had

It's possible that she had mites. I have a mite issue -- they're awful small in the spider/tick family, and exceptionally hard to spot. I'm lucky my birds have red mites, but many are clear colored and you just can't see them. My birds are OK until they're broody. Sitting around in the nest box all day being bloodletted gets them anemic. I noticed that just as babies were hatching my bird was looking exhausted. I thought the peeps kept her up all night, I gave her food, water, etc. then I noticed the itsy bitsy dots running around on my arm. I had no idea why I was getting bug bites. I knew my birds were itchy after the long hard winter -- but keeping them cooped up with the heavy snows led to dirty oily birds and tons of bird mites. They need to bathe. I messed up. I caught her before she was too far gone, started cleaning up around her and her babies, now her babies are 8 weeks and she's OK, her color is back in her comb. I used diatomaceous earth, boric acid, and offered them sand, DE and wood ash in addition to their normal dirt for bathing in. Sunlight, dust bathing, etc. and it's calmed down. But the 2nd hen to set a nest -- I kept an eye on her. Yep. Still mite issues. I might never get rid of the buggers. I kept her hydrated and fed, cleaning up around her, etc. Got her and her babies out of the nest as soon as the hatched. It's about 2 weeks later seems OK. 3rd is a broody I'm not letting hatch eggs -- she's been on the nest a bit. Sure enough - mites. But she's still getting out and sunning/bathing -- she hasn't gone to "lock down" because there's no eggs. Good luck! Look for them, check information online -- there's some bug bomb type of stuff but I didn't want to subject birds and babies to it.

we bought two red layer

we bought two red layer chickens. When we first got them right away the next day we were getting on average of 2 eggs a day. Then after a week they stopped. We were just giving them some sweet feed we had, so then we bought laying mash, which was pellets. Meant to get the chopped. Anyway we don't know what to do.

i have a hen that has been

i have a hen that has been injured on her backside. she is walking around and seems to be eating. i have moved her to a separate location. she actually went back to her coop and got in the box on her own. in cleaning her i noticed she has a white yellow discharge in her feathers. what is this ? i dont know if she has been laying
because they all want to share the same box. what can i do to help
her? it to me looks like yoke. i am so concerned.

I have 8 Rhode Island Red

I have 8 Rhode Island Red hens that are a little over 2 years old and I was getting 7 to 8 eggs a day, now I get 1.
Any ideas?
Thank you

Fall is molting time. If your

Fall is molting time. If your chickens have been laying nicely for a year or longer then they'll shed some feathers and stop laying for a while. The molting is triggered by decreasing daylight. They'll return to laying. Adding a lighting program could also help in the future.

Hi Elizabeth, I have 2 isa

Hi Elizabeth,

I have 2 isa brown chickens. one of them stop laying egg for almost 7 months now. The chicken was about 3 months old when I purchased last year in July 2014. Can you tell me whether she is too old to lay any more eggs or there may still be a chance to lay eggs, after such a long period of time ?



Fall is a normal time of year

Fall is a normal time of year for chickens to stop laying eggs as the sunlight decreases and they molt, but 7 months is a long time.  She's not that old. Another common reason is dietary, though it sounds as if your other chicken is laying.
See this page to learn more. http://www.thepoultrysite.com/articles/450/several-reasons-why-your-hens-may-stop-laying-eggs/