My hens stopped laying eggs completely in late October of last year, which was extremely odd, but I attributed it to the change in the weather and the shorter days. Then, in the first week of the New Year, they started to lay again, initially only a couple a day, and within a couple of weeks, they are each laying one a day as per usual.
I didn’t really give the matter much attention, I was mildly irritated to say the least as I have kept hens before and never known them to stop laying completely in the UK in the winter months, but I just thought it was one of those things.
I stumbled across some posts on social media within the last week regarding people with the same experience, unusually their hens had completely stopped producing eggs around the same time as mine. I had a bit of read, thought it a bit of a coincidence and again didn’t give the matter much attention.
It’s just popped up at me again just now on Twitter, and now there is more information; people are attributing the lack of eggs to the feed given to the hens. There are people in the US and Europe saying this. Reflecting upon this new insight, I realised I got new feed for my chickens around the same time that they started laying again at the end of December/start of January. Prior to this, I had noticed that they didn’t seem to want to eat the layers pellets I’d been feeding them, instead gorging themselves on the mixed corn.
So, as crazy as it may sound, there are people around the world whose hens stopped laying at pretty much the same time as mine, and everyone is saying this is unprecedented, and upon changing the feed, they started laying again. Some have been giving them goat feed and everything goes back to normal.
For the record, the last batch of feed that my hens were consuming when they went off lay was a sack of Dodson & Horrell Layers Pellets and a Mixed Corn. My normal retailer had no stock of either at the end of December/start of January, so I went to a local pet store and got a Dodson & Horrell Mixed Corn and a Heygates Country Layers Pellets.
I’d say that if this were just my experience, then it wouldn’t be that unusual, but considering that this seems to be an issue spread across the world, it’s more than a little concerning. Especially considering the egg shortages and pricing here and in the US, and the negative press eggs are getting for health reasons.
Maybe a little concerning is understating the situation.