If you are a frequent customer of the CYCFM, then you know to arrive early to get farm fresh eggs as they sell out fast. This year has been a peculiar year in terms of egg production. Many of our egg vendors are telling us that production is down this year.
MANY FACTORS CAN CAUSE A HEN TO STOP LAYING:
Shorter Days - As Fall & Winter approach, the days get shorter. A hen needs at least 14 hours of daylight to stimulate egg production.
Molting - Molting happens in the Fall. The hens will loose their feathers in order to regrow more in preparation for the cold winter. Hens will stop laying while they molt. Molting lasts for weeks and sometimes months.
Broody Hens - Broody hens are hens that want to start a family. A broody hen will lay on the nest 24/7, sitting on the eggs in order to hatch them out. (21-23 days later) Some breeds of hens are more "broody" than other and prefer to hatch eggs than actually lay them.
Predators - the fear of predators sometimes is enough to cause a hen to stop laying.
Too Hot/Too Cold - Hens prefer Spring and Fall weather 50-75 degrees). Too hot and they reserve their energy to help keep cool. To cold and they use their energy to keep warm.
This year, farmers in the Tennessee/Mississippi area have seen a decline in egg production due to the extremely hot Summer which continued into the Fall. Temperatures were in the 90's for a long period of time without any relief. When Fall finally did come around, it was still hotter than normal. The hens internal clock can get confused and not know what time of year it is.
Hopefully the hens will get their internal clocks back in gear and increase egg production before the cold Winter months get here..... but..... unfortunately, this is about the time they start molting.