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When do chickens stop laying eggs?

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June 12, 2008 5:17PM

Did you know they have a laying season? This is dependent on the length of the daylight hours. In the north when days are shorter in the late fall, winter and early spring, the hens take a rest and build up their reserves. You can get them to start laying earlier, by purchasing an electrical timer and attach it to the lights in the hen house. Set the timer to give fourteen hours of light a day. But do give the hens a deserved rest in there sometime!

The hens will lay seasonally (fullest production starts in the spring) for about 18 months before their first molt when they shed their tattered and worn feathers for a new coat of feathers. It is important to feed them a laying pellet formula that is high in protein at this time since the feathers are made of protein. While molting they do not usually lay. You may get the odd egg here and there but not regularly. Then when the molting session is over, they lay again for another season.

They will continue to lay for 3 to six years depending on feed and breed of hen. It is good to get new chicks to replace the older chickens before their production tapers off.

Do not put the baby chicks in directly with the older hens. Without their own mama to protect them the older hens will try to establish the "pecking order" and will kill them. Wait until the new chicks are fully feathered with the mature feathers, not the fluffy down, before you try gradual introduction.