Our Chickens Stopped Laying…And It’s All Our Fault

Why Our Chickens Stopped Laying

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Our chickens stopped laying, and we couldn’t figure out why.

It was the week leading into Thanksgiving, when I was baking and cooking and preparing to host overnight guests (and serve them lots of eggs).  Obviously very bad timing!

Winter is always a time of low production because of shorter days with less sunlight, but this year we accidentally stressed our laying hens and they stopped laying, just like that.

It was time to move them from free ranging in the cow field to their winter home in our far garden. This spot offers more wind protection when temps are low, plus we need their help to clean up the garden, fertilize the soil, and eat overwintering pests.

We did the same thing last year and it worked great. But here’s where we went wrong…

Our Chickens Stopped Laying | Roots & Boots
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Why our chickens stopped laying

This year we have more chickens and more coops, and we combined them all together in the garden. Apparently combining flocks causes stress. Oops!  The chickens have to reestablish pecking order, and there are multiple roosters, and it just stresses them out.

Plus, it’s winter. Plus, a bunch of them are molting. So we basically caused a triple whammy, and we have no eggs.

What we’ll do differently next year

Oh well, now we know. Next year we’ll make two changes:
1. Wait until AFTER Thanksgiving to move the chickens to their winter home.
2. Use electric netting to confine each flock to a separate area of the garden.

For now, we just have to wait for the ladies to sort themselves out and get accustomed to their new surroundings.  I sure hope they’re back in business soon!

Why Our Chickens Stopped Laying
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Kathleen Henderson

Let's get real! I’m Kathleen Henderson, your Natural Living Mentor. I’m on a mission to help families see the joy in real food, while finding natural remedies and creating a nontoxic home. Learn more about my story >>


  1. cwcara on 04/23/2020 at 7:10 pm

    We live in SW Florida where it doesn’t ever get very cold. We have 5 large hens and 2 Sebrights. We were getting 3 – 4 large eggs a day and now we are lucky to get 2 and it’s very warm now, April 23. Some days recently we only got one egg! I’ve started giving them soaked puppy food for protein and hope they continue to give us more eggs. Any suggestions?

    • Kathleen on 04/24/2020 at 3:40 pm

      Hi there, I had to check with my husband, aka our resident chicken expert. The following is from Greg: If they’re molting, which they do once a year, then they won’t lay. Second, if it’s hot, I’d make sure they are getting enough water. Also, I would suggest getting them out onto grass so they can forage. Sometimes if it’s hot and they’re cooped up (literally) then they’ll stop laying. You could also consider adding a little apple cider vinegar and/or oregano essential oil in their water to treat for possible parasites.

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