Raising chickens should be fun and rewarding. You provide your hens with a clean coop, proper nutrition, and quality care; they lay you eggs and provide you with a livelihood. What is the best strategy to help your hens lay quality eggs?
Provide your hens with complete nutrition, which in return will bring you optimal year-round egg production and healthy poultry. Provide at least 90 percent of the diet through a high-quality layer feed that is rich in protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, and minerals, most especially calcium, phosphorus, and Vitamin D, which promote strong eggshells and healthy skeletal growth.
Your hens should have ready access to a constant supply of water. Water comprises more than half of an egg’s volume. To ensure stable egg production throughout the year, make sure your hens have a reliable water source in all kinds of weather and seasons.
Your hens also need protection from the elements, predators, and diseases. In short, they need a “productive work environment.” What your hens need is a secure, well-built and properly ventilated coop. This will not only offer them shelter from inclement weather and protect them from predators and even disease-carrying rodents but also provide them a safe place to lay their eggs.
Cleanliness and sanitation
To help your chickens lay more quality eggs, keep the coop as clean and dry as possible. Hygienic conditions promote healthier and more productive hens.
Clean out the nesting boxes weekly, the bird waterers daily, and the feeders weekly. Clean out wet litter in coop and replace them with deep clean litter. Regularly clean and replace bedding in nesting boxes to decrease contaminants on eggs. Clean and disinfect coop and all equipment every six months. Clean the yard and/or outside run area to prevent infestation.
To get—and gather—eggs easily, keep your hens in a fenced area so they will lay where you want them to lay. If hens are allowed to nest wherever they choose, you will not know how old the eggs are or even where to find them. Can you imagine your hens laying their eggs in some poopy corner of their coop or stepping on eggs hidden in some tall grass?
Provide at least one nest box for every 4-5 hens. Install the nesting boxes two feet off the floor and deeply layer each box with clean, soft litter, such as straw, hay, and wood shavings, to provide bedding for your hens and cushioning for the eggs.
Light is another important factor that affects production. One primary reason hens may stop laying during winter is the season’s decreasing hours of light per day. Hens need a minimum of 14 hours of light per day to maintain stable egg production. If they get less than the required hours, they will naturally stop laying due to a hormonal response in the hen that is triggered by light.
To provide supplemental light for your hens, you can install an incandescent or LED bulb or halogen lamp that produce yellow or orange-colored light. You can use a timer to set the hours.
Follow these tips for a successful laying season!