With proper management, the mortality rate for your poultry layers should be very low. At rearing, the mortality rate generally does not exceed 5%. At lay, the mortality rate shouldn’t exceed 8% with proper rearing techniques. The age of lay in your chickens should start at between 18 to 20 weeks for the commercial layers.
However, one issue that some farmers may grapple with is where the chicken starts to lay eggs and then stops along the way. There are several reasons why your chickens can stop laying eggs. Typically, a high performing hen should lay over 24 eggs per month. Chickens lay 2 eggs every 3 days in their peak performance as the egg formation process takes anywhere from 25 to 26 hours.
But egg production may reduce below this level or stop entirely for a number of reasons. These include the following:-
- The hen has been laying for more than 12 months.
- Change in the weather condition that leads to stress. Chickens react badly to stress and this can severely affect their productivity resulting in fewer eggs or the hen stopping to lay altogether.
- Stresses caused by transportation, vaccination or debeaking. As stated above, chickens are creatures of habit and have very poor coping mechanisms. If you will be taking your laying or point of lay hens through a stressful experience such as transportation, make sure that you take precautions to reduce the stress as much as possible.
- Disturbances in their surroundings such as litter removals, noises or even predators.
- Feed Rationing: Are you rationing the feeds to cut down on costs? That will just result in a sudden drop in egg production.
- Poor quality feeds: Take care where you source your layer mash. If the feed is poorly formulated, it is most likely going to impact the layer performance.
- Lack of sufficient clean drinking water: Your chickens need lots of fresh and clean drinking it water. An insufficient amount of it or poor quality drinking water is going to impact egg laying performance.
- Lack of sufficient lighting.
- Internal and external parasites in your poultry such as dust mites can impact egg production.
As a farmer, you can always make an intervention in order to address many of these factors and restore your egg production to the previous levels.