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Here’s What to Do With Chickens When They Stop Laying

If you’re like most people, you probably got chickens because you wanted fresh eggs. And for as long as you can remember, your little flock of hens has been providing you with plenty of eggs. But lately, things have changed – your chickens aren’t laying like they used to. So what do you do now?

Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered! In this blog post, we will discuss the different things you can do with your chickens when they stop laying eggs. So don’t let those chickens go to waste – read on for some great ideas!

Allow Older Hens to Contribute to the Farm in Other Ways

Just because a chicken isn’t laying eggs doesn’t mean she’s useless. In fact, there are plenty of other ways that chickens can contribute to the farm!

For example, older hens tend to be more docile than younger ones and make great pets for children who want a friendly companion but may not have time or space for larger animals like dogs or cats.

You can find good deals online for Chicken Coops, Chicken Feeders, and Chicken Waterers on Amazon.

Other ways older hens can contribute to the farm include:

Catching Bugs

Chickens are natural omnivores and love to eat bugs.

Not only does this help keep the bug population down, but it also provides them with much-needed nutrients. So, instead of locking them up in a coop all day, try letting them roam free around your yard or even inside where they can catch some flies.

Fertilizing the Garden

Chickens also provide excellent manure for gardens.

Their manure is high in nitrogen and phosphorus, which helps promote healthy growth. Therefore, if you have chickens that are no longer laying eggs, don’t lock them up in a coop all day; let them roam free around your yard so they can fertilize it.

Watching Out for Predators

Older hens tend to be better at checking for predators and warning the flock. So, keeping hens around for a few more years can help protect your younger chickens from coyotes or other animals that might try to attack them.

Some people even use older chickens as “guard” hens while they’re raising new chicks.

They keep their older hens with their new chicks until those chicks are ready to go out and fend for themselves, then they let the older hens roam free.

Controlling Weeds in Your Garden and Flower Beds

You may also want to keep older hens around to help with weeding your garden and flower beds. Chickens love to eat bugs, but they also enjoy eating weeds or anything else that’s green.

As long as you keep them out of your vegetable garden, letting them scratch around in the dirt can be a great way to control weeds without using chemicals.

They’re Better Broodies

Older hens will also prove invaluable when it comes time to hatch eggs.

Hens that are no longer laying often become broody, meaning they’ll want to sit on eggs until they hatch. This can be a great way to increase your chicken population without having to buy new chicks from a store.

They’re Excellent Mothers

Older hens are also great mothers due to their experience. If you’re looking to breed your chickens, you’ll want to let one of your older hens do the job. She’ll be more likely than a younger hen to hatch eggs and raise chicks successfully.

Note: Although older hens seem independent and low-maintenance, you should pay close attention to ensure the younger ones are not pecking at them or bullying them. You may also want to lower her roost for easier access and ensure they have adequate warmth and comfort.

Here’s a video showing another view point of what you could do with the chickens:

Use Your Chicken for Meat

You also have the option of using your older hen for meat. Although not everyone has the stomach to eat their chickens, you can use them instead of buying chicken from a grocery store or butcher shop.

Alternatively, you can sell your older hens to your local butcher or have him do the honors for you. This way, you can feel better about disposing of your chickens if it’s something you don’t want to do yourself.

If you simply cannot bring yourself to use or eat the meat from an older hen, consider giving them away. There are plenty of people who would be more than happy to take in older hens to expand their flock and have more chickens around the farm or eat the meat.

Humanely Dispose of the Chickens

Even if you choose to keep your chickens around until they die, there’s no guarantee that the chickens will die naturally. You may have to dispose of them if they fall sick, or get attacked by predators.

There are a couple of humane ways to dispose of your chickens when the time comes:

  • Wring the chicken’s neck: You’ll want to do this fast and with as little pain as possible.
  • Stun the chicken: This can be done by hitting it on the head with a blunt object or cutting its throat.
  • Use a quick chop to the neck: This is a very fast and humane way to kill a chicken.
  • Kill the chicken with an injection: If you have a veterinarian nearby, they may be able to give the chickens an injection that will quickly euthanize them.


Other Reasons Chickens Stop Laying

Before you take the aforementioned steps, you might want to first consider some of the other reasons why your chickens have stopped laying eggs. If your chicken isn’t old, then it could be due to other reasons.

Some of the most common reasons for this include:

Poor Diet and Nutrition

One of the most common reasons chickens stop laying eggs is a poor diet. If your chickens aren’t getting enough protein, minerals, or vitamins in their feed, then they may stop laying eggs altogether.

This often happens when you change their feed to something less nutritious, such as using a low-quality store brand or just not feeding them enough.

Therefore, if you’ve recently, changed your chickens’ diet, then this may be the reason they’ve stopped laying eggs.

If you think this is the case, simply switch back to their old feed or give them a higher-quality brand. They should start laying again within a few weeks. And don’t forget adequate hydration. Your chickens also need plenty of water to lay eggs.

Insufficient Daylight

Another reason your chickens may have stopped laying eggs is a lack of daylight. Chickens need around 14 hours of sunlight per day to lay eggs regularly.

If you live in an area with short days during the winter, or if your chickens are housed in a coop without any windows, then they may not be getting enough light.

In this case, you can use artificial lights in their coop to give them the light they need. And if you tend to have them in an enclosed space for extended periods of time, make sure to open the door or windows for a few hours each day to let the light in.

Alternatively, allow the chickens to free-range for part of the day to get natural sunlight.


So, you’re certain that your chickens’ food isn’t the problem, and all of them get plenty of sunlight, but your chicken still won’t lay eggs. What gives? Another common reason chickens stop laying eggs is broodiness.

Broodiness is a term used to describe when your chickens want to sit on their eggs and hatch them, rather than lay more. The chicken will typically sit on the eggs for up to 21 days until they hatch.

  • This behavior is very common in chickens, but it can make things difficult for you if the chicken doesn’t lay eggs during this time.
  • You may even find your chicken sleeping on the eggs overnight!
  • The best way to overcome this challenge is to remove the eggs from underneath the chicken.
  • Alternatively, you can block off the nesting box or remove the chicken entirely from it.

Source: The Happy Chicken Brood

You’ve Added New Chickens to the Flock

If you add new ones to the flock, your chickens may stop laying eggs. This happens because chickens love routine. When you abruptly add new chickens to the coop, they may not know how to behave in their new environment.

Consequently, your chickens will be under a state of stress. Since stress negatively affects a chicken’s egg-laying capabilities, you should expect your chickens to stop laying eggs in this situation.

If you’re experiencing this problem, the best thing to do is allow your new chickens and old ones to get used to each other for at least two weeks.

Don’t remove any existing chickens from the coop or add any new ones for at least two weeks. By the end of this period, your chickens should have gotten used to their new living arrangements and will start laying eggs again.

The Chicken’s Breed Could Be the Issue

There are various breeds of chickens, and some have been bred to be egg-laying machines. For example, Leghorn chickens are known for their high egg production rates and can lay up to 300 eggs in a given year.

Other breeds like the Rhode Island Red aren’t as productive but still produce enough eggs for most families. These chickens typically lay up to 250 eggs per year.

If you’re getting low on eggs, it might be worth considering purchasing a different breed of chicken that is known for being a good egg layer.

Source: Somerzby

Illness or Infestation Might Be the Problem

Chickens can stop laying eggs for a number of reasons, including illness or infestation by parasites. For example, if your chicken has been infected with lice, it may stop laying eggs as it focuses its energy on trying to get rid of the lice.

Likewise, if your chicken is sick with something like coccidiosis or avian influenza, it is common for the bird to stop laying eggs.

If you suspect this may be the case with your chicken, quarantine the animal and take it to a veterinarian for treatment.


Stress is also a common reason for a decrease in egg production. It may be caused by an attack from predators or loud noises. Other causes of stress can be changes in the environment, such as a new rooster in the flock or moving the chickens to a different location.

In most cases, when a chicken is stressed, decreased laying won’t be the only symptom. The animal may also become nervous, scared, or hyperactive and could even try to escape the coop.

It’s also not uncommon for the chicken to go into a stress-induced molt. This can happen if an animal is not provided with enough nutrients and vitamins.

To reduce stress in your chickens, make sure they are protected from predators by putting them in a secure coop at night and keeping them safe during the day as well.

Changes to their environment should be kept at a minimum and done gradually a well.

You can find good deals online for Chicken Coops, Chicken Feeders, and Chicken Waterers on Amazon.

Other Possible Reasons for Fewer Eggs from Your Chickens

The above are not the only explanations for a decrease in the number of eggs your chickens are laying. Some other possible reasons include:

Someone is Stealing the Eggs

You may think your chickens are not laying eggs, yet they do but someone is stealing them. Put a stop to it by locking up the eggs at night inside of a secure container. It may also be a good idea to install a security camera to catch the thief in the act.

Extreme Weather Conditions

Extreme weather conditions can also affect how often your chickens lay eggs. When it’s too hot, they will take a break from laying eggs. The same is true for very cold weather.

Source: The Happy Chicken Coop

Wrapping Up

It can be devastating when your chickens stop laying eggs. However, by investigating the possible reasons why this is happening, you can take steps to correct the problem. Keep a close eye on your chickens, and be sure to provide them with a comfortable environment in which they will lay eggs regularly.

And if it’s an issue with age, consider the alternative ways to make use of an older hen on your farm. Now go get your chickens laying again.

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