Eggscellent Layers!

You love getting tasty eggs from your hens. So how can you keep them healthy, happy, and laying? There are a number of factors that can influence how many eggs a hen lays in her lifetime. Let's take a look at some of those today.

Breed

The number of eggs you can expect per bird depends partially on the breed you choose. Certain breeds or hybrid strains produce large numbers of eggs.

  • Heritage, dual-purpose breeds, including Orpingtons, Plymouth Rocks, Australorps, and Wyandottes, are bred for both meat and eggs. They produce a good number of eggs over their lifetimes.
  • Hybrids offer high-powered laying ability because they are crosses between two pure breeds that are good layers. These include ISA Browns, Red Stars, Gold Stars, and Amberlinks.
  • Henderson’s Breed Chart (available here) provides more information on chicken breeds and their laying abilities.

Diet

Egg quality is closely linked to a chicken's diet. And while many people mistakenly assume that brown eggs are "healthier" than white eggs, the fact is that shell color makes no difference in the quality of the egg. Your birds’ diet, however, directly influences the content of their eggs.

  • Free ranging generates healthy activity while your birds look for bugs, worms, and other tasty goodies. This helps them produce eggs with better nutritional content, including higher levels of vitamins A, D, and E. It also improves omega-3 fatty acids and ensures deep orange-yellow yolks rich with beta carotene.
  • A good layer ration supports egg-laying by supplying essential nutrients that aren't as easy to find in nature. These include carbohydrates, fats, minerals, vitamins, and amino acids.
  • Extra ingredients that benefit your hens include enzymes, probiotics, essential oils, and yeast culture. These additives help keep your birds’ digestive tracts healthy, support healthy growth, and benefit the immune system.

Water

Believe it or not, eggs are 75% water! So having a clean, fresh source of water available to your birds at all times will help keep them happy, healthy, and laying. Some things to keep in mind:

  • Clean waterers help prevent disease. It is super important, especially in summer, to prevent the growth of toxic blue-green algae and other harmful microorganisms.
  • Prevent freezing in winter. Cold weather and shorter days provide enough of a challenge for your ladies. Don't let their water supply become inaccessible as well!

Stressors

Your birds need as stress-free an environment as possible in order to lay their best. Stress often causes hens to stop laying until the main stressors are removed.

  • Know your birds' stressors. Extreme temperatures, a move to a new coop, changes in feed regimens, the presence of predators or new flock members, and construction projects are just a few common examples.
  • Stick to a routine. Changes are stressors! Chickens like daily routines, which are dictated by the time of day. It’s best to let them out at dawn and close them in at dusk.
  • Make changes gradually, like switching to a new diet or moving your birds to a new coop.

Don't forget that our team is standing by to help as you work out the best care program for your hens! We have have high-quality layer feeds and all the coop accessories you need to ensure a productive flock all season long. Call or stop by today, and we'll be happy to take care of you.

 

NOTE: This post is adapted (with permission) from content proudly brought to you by our partners at Nutrena and Cargill Animal Nutrition. The original article appears here.


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