Help Your Chickens Lay More Eggs

Written by Brandon Garrett

If you start to raise chickens to be more self-sufficient, you want them to be as productive as possible. But what if they aren’t laying as many eggs as you’d hoped?

The most common reasons that chickens aren’t laying eggs is because they are too young, too old, the hours of daylight are too short, it is molting or the feeding is not of sufficient nutritional value. You might not be able to affect those first points, but you can help contribute to a stress-free environment for your chickens while keeping them healthy and well.

Chickens will typically lay one egg or less during a day and that will decrease with age. Their egg-laying years will typically last for 2-3 years.

If you are experiencing a low yield of eggs from your chickens, check out these tips below to see what you can do to help them lay more eggs.

Chicken eggsQuality Feed
You don’t have to go crazy with some cutting-edge feed that’s guaranteed to make your chickens produce eggs the size of a garden gnome. It’s recommended that you use a diet of premium laying mash or pellet, along with occasional fresh fruit. vegetables, meal worms and other healthy treats. If you’re going to change your tin foil, do it gradually substituting it in slowly.

Clean Nests Boxes
One of the most important factors to helping chickens lay eggs is a clean nesting box area with comfortable bedding. You can also make a soft surface with recycled-newspaper pellets which also are easy to toss and replace.

Open Areas
The idea behind free-range chickens is that if they are more comfortable, they will produce more healthy eggs. While free-range chickens might not be a possibility for some urban homesteaders, it’s a great idea to have a larger area with enough area for the chickens to graze on a lawn while still being protected from hawks or other predators.

Calcium
Egg-laying takes a lot of calcium from a hen’s body. Be sure to provide them enough calcium in their diet to keep a steady flow of eggs. Besides a high-quality feed, you might consider mixing crushed oyster shells in a cup of of feed. Or even placing a cup of oyster shells in the coop for the chickens to eat when they need it.

Inspect Regularly
Try to handle your hens often checking for problems. If they have large cuts, broken bones, etc. it will give you a better idea of how you can help. Are they uncomfortable? Have they been pestered by predators? Handling your hens on a regular basis will help you know how to best help them.

Coop Security
Along with the previous point, make sure your coop is secure from predators.. Make sure that animals like raccoons, cats and other animals can’t burrow or find their way into the coop.

Fresh Water
To stay healthy, chickens need constant access to water. Change the water every day. It might be a chore to do it every day but it will lead to healthier chickens who will lay more eggs.

Parasite Control
Parasites love to prey on chickens. Mites are the most common and can take control of your coop without you even realizing it. Make it a habit to inspect your chickens at night when mites are most active. Mites are small, reddish-brown insect that scurry around a chicken’s head. If you do have a mite infestation, use a dose of ivermectin (available from a veterinarian) for each chicken.

What Have You Found?
How have you helped your chickens lay more eggs? Comment below to help us know what we can do to make our chickens more productive.

Updated April 16, 2013

29 Comments

  1. Dan wrote:

    Another important thing to avoid is stress some of which is covered under Inspect Regularly paragraph but any issue not taken care of can cause stress.
    If you have a rooster and he gets stressed so do the girls. Our rooster got out of their run and all the girls where following him back and forth along the fence. He was loose for a couple of hours. No eggs the next day.

    April 17th, 2013 at 3:45 pm
  2. Reid wrote:

    grandma saved all our egg shells washed them crunched them up and fed them to the chickens mixed with their feed thereby recycling the Mg, & Ca.

    April 17th, 2013 at 8:55 pm
  3. fauna wrote:

    A few years back we were raising Araucanas and, out of 18 chickens, were getting 6 eggs a day. When winter set in that went to zero a day.
    We were newspaper deliverers then and didn’t have the funding for chicken feed. However, on our route was a large pumpkin field. After Halloween the pumpkins were free. We were excited to get a truckload and can them. The cannery never opened its doors to us until it had snowed on our pile twice and rotted our crop…so, we started feeding them to the chickens along with some weevily wheat. In no time flat the chickens began producing an egg a day or more and all of this in the dead of winter. We shared our stash with our neighbors who had turkeys and chickens – lo and behold, they achieved the same results!!

    April 18th, 2013 at 5:12 am
  4. Kathleen wrote:

    I know about the stress too. I broke my back two years ago this coming July. My cousin volunteered to tend to the chickens for me. I didn’t know she was afraid of them or I would not have agreed. My girls were laying less and less eggs every day until they weren’t laying at all. I was finally able to start moving around again and went out with her to feed and gather eggs. She said “do you see that stick over there, I have been using it to keep the chickens away from me”. It was a 2″ diameter branch she had used to keep them away from her by hitting them. She didn’t know they always come to you when its feeding time. Needless to say I asked her to leave after explaining to her they were not trying to attack her until she had beat on them a few times. I am happy to annonce that they have recovered from there stress this month and are starting to lay eggs again. I was stressing at the thought of having to butcher my girls until the eggs started coming. Each day there are more eggs to collect. My girls are “pets” they follow me all over the yard, and when I stop to do some gardening they wait for me to dig up some good juicy bugs. Do you think they might be spoiled?

    April 18th, 2013 at 8:59 pm
  5. Randy wrote:

    I have found that if while mowing the lawn I dump a bagger full of grass clippings in the coop it helps immensely. even though our chickens are out often having this grass in the coop for them to play in gives them a more diversified diet rather than letting them pick and choose what they want while grazing…what they don’t eat becomes bedding…

    May 22nd, 2013 at 2:03 pm
  6. Melissa wrote:

    I’m new to chicken owning and would welcome any advice. I have a large coop and bought 19 hens from a man who lost the rest of his chickens to bob cats. I have feed from farm supply,and bins for egg laying and they laid 16 eggs in two days. I think thats pretty good. Some of the eggs are very small, they are good and normal eggs but tiny{2 inches long and 1 inch wide. Maybe stress from bob cat attacks @ previous home and moving to my house? I am open to any and all suggestions that will help me take great care of my lady chickens.

    June 3rd, 2013 at 7:37 pm
  7. Ruth wrote:

    I use to have chickens years ago when all my children were young but now my husband will not let me have chickens but one of our daughters who lives near about 500 ft away says she would love them and i can buy a coup and put it on her,but she has 4 dogs two being labs and i am afraid of the stress that would cause the chickens,Is there any solutions?

    June 23rd, 2013 at 2:33 pm
  8. Vern Walters wrote:

    Ruth I have barredrock chickens and have a male king black lab and a female regular black lab. I have no problems with the chickens being stressed from them. It does depend on weather the dogs are trained to leave the chickens alone or not. Another way to help with a dog that isn’t trained to leave them alone is to put a covering down the fence so that the dogs do not see the chickens and chickens do not see the dogs. It is possible to have chickens and dogs and still get eggs from your chickens and have healthy chickens as well. Good luck Ruth.

    June 30th, 2013 at 1:46 pm
  9. Lisa Mennenger wrote:

    Help!!! We went on vacation for 4 days and a friend was supposed to water and feed the chickens. He didn’t! Grrrrr now they are not laying. Any advice?

    July 15th, 2013 at 9:22 am
  10. Patricia Mixon wrote:

    I don’t know if this is where I need to ask questions at, but I am going to ask one. I need to know if you are feeding your chickens laying mash can you feed them anything else? We’ve been told that if we feed them anything else then they will stop laying. Also, my hens are young just really started laying. They are 21 weeks old to 23 weeks old all have not started laying.

    July 30th, 2013 at 8:37 am
  11. Name Robin Shirley wrote:

    Help!!!! My girls are not laying. I got 15 new hens over a month ago that are supposed to be around 10 months old by now. I have 2 bard rock roosters in with all the hens. I have 3 older hens that give me an egg or two some days but have not got one single egg from the new girls. They were in with all kinds of hens & roosters from the man I bought them from. I feed them crumbles, oyster shell, Omega 3, scraps from the fridg, cracked corn occasionally & bread. They get fresh water everyday. Have had chickens all my life & can’t figure this out. Could u tell me what is going on, they are not molting either.

    August 27th, 2013 at 8:21 pm
  12. mina wrote:

    hi umm I was just looking for some tips to make my chickens happy and healthy if u have any ideas on how to inprove my coop let me know also um not to be mean but u said cups of of feed lol

    September 1st, 2013 at 9:55 am
  13. Kathleen wrote:

    I hope this eases the anxiety of you new “mommies”. And “daddys”. My girls range in age from 5 months to 3 years. We initially went through straw in the nesting boxes, then shredded paper, the girls wanted nothing to do with it. Then I tried wood shavings, ta dah! At first they were sceptical of it and then they all moved to the boxes with the wood shavings. I don’t know why but they liked it best. It seems that the more stress you remove from their environment the more eggs they produce and the larger they get. There is a breach in the wire around their yard that I do not patch so they can get out and when they are ready they can get back into their pen. They go in and out all day and still have the security of their home if they see a bird flying overhead. On really hot days I open both doors (they occupy the horse barn, no horse)so they can have a cool breese, but they prefer to stay close to home. I have about 65 hens and one rooster, soon to get 2 more roosters. I’m getting a dozen +/- because of the heat. I am adding “bird netting” to their yard to give them a slight shade but mostly to keep preditors from stressing out my girls. People fail to realize that they can calm their flock by talking to them in a soothing voice while you check on them or when feeding them. Some of my girls feel that they have to be up close and personal by sitting on my arms, shoulders, or head. Yes, I do think they are spoiled.
    P.S. When feeding them I throw their feed on the ground. This allows them to pick up grit at the same time. Chickens also enjoy digging around in the dirt and ground feeding seems to allow them do this and has a calming effect on them. Enjoy your “kids” and have a happy day.

    September 5th, 2013 at 11:18 am
  14. Steve wrote:

    I put up with alot from my chickens, they love me and I love them.
    I have always added a small amount of bleach to the large watering can because of the Green Slime that appears very quikly it seems. My 95 year old grandmother did the same. I have done this for 20 yrs. and has not hurt them. Arizona is HOT and the slime comes quickly. Be nice to your chickens, keep them clean, stress free, and they will lay eggs when they lay eggs. Thanks for all the hints. Steve

    September 13th, 2013 at 2:06 pm
  15. Cal wrote:

    Feed your chickens greens – not any that have been sprayed with anything – all that they can eat in a day, grass, broadleaf plants, lettuce, carrot tops (and shreded carots), bugs, seeds, worms (bait shops if you do not have a worm bin).

    Chicken need about 2-3 percent of their body weight in fodder; grit and calcium supplements.

    Sprouting and growing grain for your chickens is another simple and efficient way to feed your animals a more natural and fresh diet. Sprouting fodder for livestock is similar to sprouting seeds for human consumption, but in an extreme degree.
    When you sprout grain as fodder, harvest it (feeding it to your animals) right before the sprouts get their second leaves at about 7-10 days, you do not need to use anything more than water to grow them –not even fertilizer.
    The action of sprouting amplifies the natural proteins, vitamins, mineral, enzymatic activity, omega 3’s, amino acids, natural hormones, and stimulates immune response. The increase in these benefits will vary grain to grain.
    The sprouted fodder, no matter what seed or grain you choose to use, is fed whole; greens, seeds, and sprouts as a whole. Commonly used grains for fodder are barley, wheat, and whole oats. Barley, which is the easiest to grow, has a crude protein percentage of 12.7 percent and a crude fiber percentage of 5.4 percent as a seed. These percentages jump to a crude protein percentage of 15.5 percent and a crude fiber percentage of 14.1 percent after an average of seven days of sprouting.

    This is the way chickens were raised in the past (not with sproutiing). Make sure that they have lots of fresh air, but no drafts when it is cold. Fresh air is important!

    Another good idea when you cannot free range your chickens is a chicken tractor – a movable coop that can be pulled to a new spot when needed. Inside it, the chickens scratch and eat weed seeds and bugs while depositing their droppings directly on the soil. This way they get the type of food they need while enriching your soil. Online are many plans to build simple and easy chicken tractors.

    I learned a lot of this from my grandparents and parents practicing it, and also from researching heritage ways of raising HEALTHY chickens.

     

    October 14th, 2013 at 10:31 am
  16. Name wrote:

    Hi

    October 28th, 2013 at 11:31 am
  17. Name wrote:

    Hi how’s life

    October 28th, 2013 at 11:34 am
  18. fatim wrote:

    i have 12 chicken- they used laying 5 eggs a day, but now since 3 months hardly lay one egg.
    beaside two died just in the last two days, i dont know what to do to let them lay more eggs..pleas advice.

    October 29th, 2013 at 2:20 am
  19. Jessica L wrote:

    I’ve found that fresh herbs in the laying boxes on top of the hay helps (lavender, rosemary, mint, eucalyptus). When they get in and they step on and scratch around on the herbs, it releases the scents… Kind of like aromatherapy :)

    November 8th, 2013 at 12:13 pm
  20. jitender shekhawat wrote:

    We start laymore product to our chiken from 12 days and our production now dicreasing so kindly tell me is this a regular process or we need to stop that product right now

    November 23rd, 2013 at 8:29 am
  21. GuamGal wrote:

    My daughter and I moved into a neighborhood where there is free rage chicken. This is Guam, so they are practically everywhere. We never had an issue with them laying eggs on our yard until now. About 3 wks ago we found 1 egg below a utility sink. My daughter thought it was cute and says to leave it as the momma will come and tend to it. Needless to say, no momma and some pest poked at it. Last week I cleaned out our back porch and placed two rattan tables. This morning I opened my back door and low and behold, 3 eggs were on one of the tables and one was in my neighbors yard along a fence. I don’t know anything about chickens so I’m searching the net and came across this blog. Questions; shall I leave them alone? Are the eggs ok to eat? I’m almost tempted to place them in my fridge being that cost of living is high here.

    December 13th, 2013 at 10:33 pm
  22. dan wrote:

    Aromatherapy? Wow lol!!

    January 3rd, 2014 at 9:07 am
  23. Brenda wrote:

    I would like to have chickens, I have 3 acres, but I live in NW Montana & there are several months where there is snow on the ground. I know a light to keep them warm, but what about them having to walk around in the snow? Is it possible to have hens in this cold?

    January 8th, 2014 at 10:30 am
  24. Lambert wrote:

    @guamgal, eggs from free range chickens should be fine. Sometimes my chickens lead their eggs at different places in the backyard. When we find them we collect them.

    February 8th, 2014 at 11:56 pm
  25. Robin wrote:

    Here are a few natural products I have found work very well. I use Diatomaceous Earth to prevent parasites. I sprinkle some in the food and in the coop. I also use Raw apple cider (Bragg) in their water about once a month. The cider has a number of benefits. In the winter I will make sure my girls have some extra fat. I use either suet or ground meat scraps. Since starting to give them the fat in winter I now am getting eggs almost every day. My girls seem to be healthy and happy even though the days are short and it is very cold. Even though mine are free range I give them a bit of scratch feed and meal worms. It may seem excessive however they don’t eat a large amount of pellets so it seems to balance out.

    February 15th, 2014 at 4:56 am
  26. Barbara wrote:

    We were given 75 bales of year old hay that was deteriorating. After hauling it home, we discovered about half was still frozen and had worms all inside. Instead of putting it into the garden as planned, we put it in the chicken yard. We didn’t even spread it out. The hens did that. First day they hunted worms all day and we heard their constant clucking in delight as they found another tasty treat. Hay has been inside their yard for a month now and every morning when they are let out, they begin the scratching and re-arranging. When they tire out, they gather hay around them and make a temporary nest and relax. This is the most peaceful our hens have ever been. Am now actively searching for more old hay for them.

    April 13th, 2014 at 7:35 am
  27. MarieGrace wrote:

    I have gone from no eggs to 8 a day after one use of this recipe! 2 cups live culture vinegar, 2 cups black strap molasses, 2 gallons water, egg layer crumbles until all the water is absorbed but the crumbles are still significantly wet. Let stand and soak for a few hours and feed to your chickens. Adding a cup or two of oyster shell is a good idea too. Soaking it will allow the chickens to absorb more calcium from it. But it will need to soak longer.

    April 24th, 2014 at 9:24 pm
  28. Jas wrote:

    Hi I just bought a chicken and she hasent laid any eggs I’m worried. What can I feed her to help her produce eggs and what can I do??

    August 25th, 2014 at 9:17 am
  29. Teri wrote:

    Hi i got 3 chinkens from my daughter in AZ
    and we NM ,they went from hot to not so hot , Made them a coop and a cover yard, been in there new home for 2 weeks and no eggs yet.

    September 23rd, 2014 at 9:49 am

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