One of the most important reasons why people keep chickens is to have a regular supply of delicious farm fresh eggs. This article is here to give you a few tips on how you can produce farm fresh eggs from your backyard flock.
First of all, it is not necessary to have a rooster in your flock in order to have eggs as you can have eggs with or without a rooster. This is true if your only goal is to have eggs to eat. However, if you want to hatch eggs, then you will need a rooster.
Your hens will start laying eggs when they are between 5 and 6 months old. The young hen eggs are usually smaller and get bigger as the hens become bigger. Hens usually lay eggs until when they are four years old and even longer at times. However, they reach their peak between 1 and 2 years.
In order to have a good egg production, you need to provide proper nutrition for your hens. The hens need plenty of protein which should make up about 16-18% of their diet. Even if your chickens free range, you need to supplement their diet with a good layer feed.
The feed is specially formulated with additional calcium which gives the eggs strong shells. If the layer feed you are using does not provide a the proper balance of calcium, you need to consider another source of calcium such as using oyster shell or ground up egg shells. You also need to ensure that your chickens also have plenty of fresh water at all times.
Another important thing you need to consider is nesting boxes. This is due to the fact that hens prefer to lay eggs in a somewhat enclosed area. You need to have a separate the perching area so that the hens will not sleep where they lay their eggs.
Have some sort of bedding preferably hay, for the hens to scratch out their nests and lay their eggs. It is a good idea to collect your eggs frequently unless you want the hens to go broody and hatch them. Hens will lay eggs in a series until they have a clutch of eggs to sit on.
If you don’t collect your eggs frequently, your hens may end up feeling like they have laid enough eggs and they need to stop laying eggs.
There are many reasons why the egg production may decrease. The most common reasons include poor nutrition, change of seasons, disease, molt, stress and age. For maximum egg production, your hens will need 14 hours of daylight. When days become shorter in the fall, you need to provide artificial lighting so that the hens may not stop laying eggs altogether.
Stress can reduce egg production and can be caused by several factors including moving the chickens, changing their environment, the dynamics of the flock like adding chickens especially roosters or a change in weather conditions. Stress can also be caused by loud noises and predators.
Disease is one of the most life threatening conditions. Contact a veterinarian for help if you suspect that your hens are sick. You also need to be very cautious when adding other chickens to your flock to avoid any spread of diseases.