Today I gathered 9 eggs, more than I've been getting each day this past week. Yesterday I gathered only 5.
Why the slowdown, you ask? My hens are mostly older birds. I've got a few young ones, which are most likely my egglayers right now. All the senior birds have stopped. That's just the way it is with old chickens. I do have some young girls that are 3-4 months old but it will be a few more months before they are old enough to start laying.
What causes the slowdown? I suspect it's the short day length. The birds' diet and routine hasn't changed. The only change I can see is that the length of daylight is getting shorter.
If I were primarily interested in egg production, I would buy two dozen new layer chicks every January. I would expect them to start laying just about now, taking up the slack. But eggs aren't my number concern. Instead, they're a bonus. So I happily take what I get and don't worry about it.
Why do I keep these non-productive hens? Manure. It's my number one reason for keeping chickens. The pen litter goes into the compost, producing fertilizer for the gardens. Chickens can turn a lot of garbage, waste, and grass clippings into something very useful.