Anyone who raises chickens has this problem from time to time. Especially when your hens are molting or the weather gets cold. There are a few things you can do to prevent your hens from shutting down the egg factory and keep them laying eggs.
You’ll be glad you did!!!
Make sure you give your chickens good healthy food. Make sure your mash or pellets are high enough in protein, 15% or more. Organic food is always best.
Provide a good quality scratch, with cracked corn in it in the winter. This is a good treat for the afternoon, to get them back in the coop. Corn helps them raise their body temp and keep warm.
Make sure they have access to grit for digestion if they are cooped up and oyster shell for calcium.
Give them plenty of good table scraps, greens, sprouts, etc.
On the cold mornings, give them a hot mash of pellets, hot water, oatmeal, a bit of poultry spice, garlic powder and dried peppers. It will really warm them up and get them going.
Give them some plain yogurt occasionally for good digestive health.
Pick Up Those Eggs
As it gets closer to spring, your hens will have thoughts of peeps in their heads. Make sure you gather the eggs several times a day. The eggs can freeze if you don’t collect them regularly as well.
If you want a hen to go broody, just get some fake eggs and leave those in the nest to inspire them. Golf balls, stones or toy Easter eggs work fine as well. Just something round to keep their minds on laying.
In the winter, it’s important to keep your hens warm and cozy. Normally 3-4 inches of straw, hay or wood chip on the floor is alright. In the winter make sure it is more like six to eight inches of fluffy bedding for them to scratch in and to keep their bare little toes off the cold floor. Scratching is good exercise too. It all helps.
Make sure the floor is dry under the bedding too. Check that you don’t have leaky roofs or water seeping in the chicken coop.
Commercial hatcheries know that extra hours of light help the hen produce more eggs. Hens do need a resting period, so winter is typically when they do that.
If eggs are important though, just set a timer and have lights on in the coop about 14 hours a day. The eggs will keep on coming.
Make double sure they are getting good nutrition though, so the hens don’t get run down and become susceptible to disease.
These tips to help keep your chickens laying throughout the winter months should help you get your hens back in the nests and clucking.
Happy hens lay eggs and lots of eggs make owners happy. Nice trade off.
Photo of Welsummer hen. – You lookin’ at ME?