Editors Note: As we begin construction on our own chicken coop this week, I came across this article on the Ready Store Blog and wanted to share. This has some great and practical tips for making your chickens happy and stress free, which leads to more eggs.
If you start to raise chickens to be more self-sufficient, you want them to be as productive as possible. But what if they aren’t laying as many eggs as you’d hoped?
The most common reasons that chickens aren’t laying eggs is because they are too young, too old, the hours of daylight are too short, it is molting or the feeding is not of sufficient nutritional value. You might not be able to affect those first points, but you can help contribute to a stress-free environment for your chickens while keeping them healthy and well.
Chickens will typically lay one egg or less during a day and that will decrease with age. Their egg-laying years will typically last for 2-3 years.
If you are experiencing a low yield of eggs from your chickens, check out these tips below to see what you can do to help them lay more eggs.
You don’t have to go crazy with some cutting-edge feed that’s guaranteed to make your chickens produce eggs the size of a garden gnome. It’s recommended that you use a diet of premium laying mash or pellet, along with occasional fresh fruit. vegetables, meal worms and other healthy treats. If you’re going to change your chicken’s feed, do it gradually substituting it in slowly.
Clean Nests Boxes
One of the most important factors to helping chickens lay eggs is a clean nesting box area with comfortable bedding. You can also make a soft surface with recycled-newspaper pellets which also are easy to toss and replace.
The idea behind free-range chickens is that if they are more comfortable, they will produce more healthy eggs. While free-range chickens might not be a possibility for some urban homesteaders, it’s a great idea to have a larger area with enough area for the chickens to graze on a lawn while still being protected from hawks or other predators.
Egg-laying takes a lot of calcium from a hen’s body. Be sure to provide them enough calcium in their diet to keep a steady flow of eggs. Besides a high-quality feed, you might consider mixing crushed oyster shells in a cup of of feed. Or even placing a cup of oyster shells in the coop for the chickens to eat when they need it.
Try to handle your hens often checking for problems. If they have large cuts, broken bones, etc. it will give you a better idea of how you can help. Are they uncomfortable? Have they been pestered by predators? Handling your hens on a regular basis will help you know how to best help them.
Along with the previous point, make sure your coop is secure from predators. Make sure that animals like raccoons, cats and other animals can’t burrow or find their way into the coop.
To stay healthy, chickens need constant access to water. Change the water every day. It might be a chore to do it every day but it will lead to healthier chickens who will lay more eggs.
Parasites love to prey on chickens. Mites are the most common and can take control of your coop without you even realizing it. Make it a habit to inspect your chickens at night when mites are most active. Mites are small, reddish-brown insect that scurry around a chicken’s head. If you do have a mite infestation, use a dose of ivermectin (available from a veterinarian) for each chicken.
What Have You Found?
How have you helped your chickens lay more eggs? Comment below to help us know what we can do to make our chickens more productive.