Will Chickens Stop Laying If Coop Is Dirty?
One of the most spectacular yet often undermined creatures is the chicken. Until recently, people only thought of this bird as a source of eggs and meat. However, studies have shown that chickens are intelligent with emotional IQ and social order. As such, when your birds stop laying eggs, there is often a reason for this form of sudden rebellion.
One reason for the cessation of egg laying by healthy chickens is living in a dirty coop. Few animals have the intelligence to rebel when their owners leave them to live in dirty surroundings.
However, chickens will rebel against a dirty environment by stopping their egg production. Here is information to boost your knowledge of this behavior and help you know what you can do about it.
Why Chickens do Not Lay Eggs in a Dirty Coop?
A dirty coop usually has wet or filthy nesting materials. As expected, this coop is often stinky and too cold to be comfortable for your intelligent chicken. Other dirty coops are infested with parasites and bugs that make it hard for chickens to sit still or sleep.
These issues cause your birds to become stressed, which in turn lowers and even stops their egg production. The psychological disturbance triggers several physical and chemical reactions that reduce the number of eggs laid.
Like other animals, chickens have reasonably developed physical senses. Still, you cannot expect them to reason out like humans and get mechanisms for coping with the stress a dirty coop induces. As such, without human intervention, the birds will keep laying few or no eggs.
Will my Chickens Lay Eggs Elsewhere if the Coop is Dirty?
Yes, chickens will lay eggs somewhere else if your coop is dirty. This might sound like a coping mechanism that still works for you because you do not have to clean the coop after all.
However, this means that most of your eggs will be broken, unable to locate, dirty, or stolen by predators. Therefore, you will be counting considerable losses even if your hens continue laying eggs. Moreover, if the hens are still stressed because they sleep in a dirty coop, this can cause them to stop laying the eggs altogether.
Other Reasons that Chickens Stop Laying Eggs
If you have visited your clean coop but do not find any eggs in the nesting boxes, here are the other reasons why hens might stop laying eggs:
- Age: Most hen breeds start laying eggs at six months, so if yours is not laying, she might be too young.
- Breed: While some chicken breeds are excellent layers, others have the best meat. If you pick a broiler breed rather than a layer, you will not be harvesting as many eggs. Some of the best layer breeds are Rhode Island Reds and White Leghorns.
- A new bird: Sometimes, even the best layers stop laying eggs when a new bird is introduced to their flocks. The new bird disturbs the perfect balance and rhythm in the flock. If this is the issue, be patient because the hens will start laying again when they adjust to the new birds.
- Excess light in the nesting box: Though daylight triggers egg laying, the nesting box should be dimly lit for your bird to feel comfortable when laying eggs.
- Winter: Hens need exposure to not less than sixteen hours of daylight to lay eggs. Understandably, with less sunlight in winter, egg production falls. You can handle this by installing accessories like lamps in the coop to create the illusion of daylight.
- Lack of nutrients: Like humans, chickens need enough nutrients to support egg production. The best choice is layer pellets containing proteins. You can also include treats like pumpkin seeds and meal worms in their diets.
- Empty feeders: Even when your chickens are full, they love seeing full feeders. This somehow brings them peace. When they see empty feeders, they become stressed, thinking they will starve. The stress affects egg production.
How Often do You Clean Chicken Coops?
The frequency of cleaning your chicken coop will depend on how big the enclosure is, the litter method you are using, and your number of chickens. The common cleaning technique is the deep litter method.
In this, a deep layer of bedding is left to accumulate on your coop floor. The bedding and manure decompose with the microbes in them reducing any smells. You only need to thoroughly clean the coop once a year. Though sustainable and convenient, the deep litter technique works best for large coops in cold climates.
Irrespective of your chicken coop type, a thorough monthly cleaning is recommended. To know whether it is time to clean, smell the chicken coop. If you can smell it, so can your neighbors and the chickens. In this case, you should clean it because the smell comes from ammonia, which can cause respiratory issues in chickens and humans.
How to Keep a Chicken Coop Clean for Longer?
You will not have to clean your chicken coop frequently with the following tactics.
- Invest in dropping boards. These are basically shelves that collect the chicken coop deposited overnight. You can scrape the pop from them every morning and add it to your compost pile.
- Invest in removable roosts that you can detach and thoroughly clean so that you do not clean them often.
- Opt for sand as the litter material. This has lower bacterial counts, moisture levels, and fungal populations than pine shavings.
- Dust the coop regularly with a stiff brush and feather duster.
If you have been harvesting fewer eggs from your flock, the above article has hopefully helped you understand why this is happening. Building the best possible chicken coop is only part of the work when you want the highest levels of egg production.
You should also keep it clean so that your birds’ stress levels are low or non-existent. With the right steps, you can make handsome profits from the many eggs you will get from your flock.