This post is written by Jordan Walker for GraceandGravy Blog. To learn more about Advertising/PR with GraceandGravy click here.
Jordan Walker is very fond of animals. As the lead content curator for Coops and Cages and other animal-related blog sites, he has written several articles about them. In this post, he shares tips on how you can help your chickens produce more eggs.
It would really be frustrating to raise egg-laying chickens, and at the end of the day, you don’t even get at least one nutritious. So before you decide to go for roasted chicken as your second business option, there are actually some things you can do to help your hens lay more eggs and recoup the most from your investment.
Factors that Affect Production
Before we get to the different tips for better egg-laying, you need to understand there are several factors that affect your hens’ productivity. These include genetics, age, daylight hours, nutrition, and stress.
Genetics – Some hybrids are just great layers. These are the California White, Production Red, Production Grey, and others. As for heritage breeds, your best choice would be the Rhode Island Red or the White Leghorn.
Age – A hen is usually most productive between six and 18 months. At around one to two-years-old, the hen will go through molting, where it loses a lot of its feathers. And to grow new feathers, it will need more protein, which greatly affects her production. Thus, you have to expect very little numbers of eggs at that time. Once the hen is back in shape, she will start laying larger, but fewer eggs. And as she grows older, the number of eggs will again decrease.
Daylight Hours – Naturally, hens lay eggs during the summer and spring when days are longer. Their instincts say that these are the days to best raise their young. Nonetheless, you can still try to mimic the longer days on other seasons by setting up a timed light that turns on for 14 to 15 hours per day.
In addition, some breeds can produce well in cold seasons. So if you live in an area that has a generally cold climate, be mindful of the breed you choose. Also, make sure to collect eggs as often as possible because these might freeze and crack during winter.
Nutrition – Of course, your hens will not lay eggs if they are not healthy. Therefore, you need to feed them with the right food according to their life stage or age and make sure that the products you choose are of excellent quality.
Stress – Always keep in mind that happy hens lay more eggs. People tend to be less productive when they are under stress, unhappy, or depressed. Just like humans, hens will not be productive when they are always under stress. A concrete example of a stressful situation is when they are constantly being chased by your dog.
With all these factors in mind, we proceed with the tips that help your hens lay more eggs:
#1 – Quality Food
As a responsible poultry owner, it is your duty to give them the best you can afford. But this does not mean that you go all out and give them everything you can think of. As long as you make sure they are getting some quality feed and that they are fed on time, then it would be fine.
Good food is not only for vital to help them lay eggs. It also needed to keep them healthy and stress-free. When choosing a chicken feed, it should at least the essential elements, such as carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals. If in doubt, you can give them a premium laying pellet or mash, supplemented with occasional vegetables, fruits and other treats.
But, take note that treats should be minimized for laying hens because it makes them gain fat tissues in their abdomen. Aside from being unhealthy for the hens, these will also significantly lower the number of eggs they produce.
Furthermore, make sure that your hens are supplemented with calcium. Egg-laying chickens require a lot of calcium intake. So, aside from providing them with high-quality feeds, you might also want to give them crushed oyster shells.
If your hens are receiving quality feeds and are supplemented with calcium, yet still produce thin-shelled eggs or low in number, you can add vitamin D3 in their diet. This is great for better calcium absorption.
#2 – Fresh and Clean Water
Water is as essential as their food. Provide your hens with a constant supply of water because this helps them stay productive and healthy. Also, make sure you provide them with a fresh, clean water every now and then. Hens will not consume dirty water, and if they could not find a clean source, they will go thirsty and possibly become dehydrated.
#3 – Clean and Secure Coop
Build your hens a nice coop and make sure it stays clean and dry. Avoid the formation of mud in the pens by regularly eliminating litters in the coop and raking up droppings. By doing this, you will not just minimize the possibility of chickens bringing mud and feces into their coop or nest boxes, you will also keep the coop clean and prevent it from smelling bad. This will help keep the eggs clean as well.
Also, make sure that your chickens are not overcrowded by providing adequate nesting boxes at a ratio of at least one box to four chickens. Finally, keep the coops safe from other animals. If hens are constantly in fear, they will not be very productive.
#4 – Regular Inspections
Inspect your chickens regularly for possible health problems, because any condition can greatly affect their productivity. Check every body part as much as possible – wings, feet, bills, head, body, womb, etc. Always be very observant. If a chicken has acquired a fracture, an infected wood, or seems to lack energy, then visit your avian veterinarian immediately. When you do regular inspections, you can identify problems earlier and the proper treatment will be rendered as soon as possible.
Another thing to inspect is parasites. One of the major nuisances is the mites. If you see tiny, reddish-brown crawling insects in your chicken’s head or body, better treat them and their coops. Ivermectin is one of the common remedies for body mites, while the food-grade Diatomaceous Earth is used for the coops.
#5 – Stress-Free Living
When your hens are happy, their productivity will boost. There are several ways to a stress-free living for your chickens. As mentioned earlier, one way is to keep other animals from their pens or coops. Another is to let them roam in your yard. However, if you are concerned with safety, then you can build a secure pen where they can at least stay loose and “graze” on your yard. You may also let them loose just before dark, but be sure to let them in at night.
If you are having trouble with the number of eggs your hens are producing, don’t give up right away. Try the simple tips above. Hopefully, these will help you rip the fruits of your labor. Good luck!