Tips for Laying Hens

Tips for Laying Hens

A customer tells you their hens are not laying eggs….. Here are some helpful points to help you through the conversation:

  1. Laying Hens are reproductively mature between 16 and 22 weeks of age depending on breed.
  2. Laying Hens are “day light sensitive” meaning they need long days to produce eggs. Maximum egg production can occur at 16 hours of day light.
  3. Laying Hens can produce 1 egg every 24 hours
  4. Prime age for egg production is between 6 mos and 18 mos of age. A laying hen can lay her whole life. Life expectancy is 6-8 years.
  5. Stress will cause hens not to lay eggs– what are “stressors” to a hen?
    1. Lack of fresh, clean, unfrozen water
    2. Lack of feed—offer free choice
    3. Predators
    4. Moving/Relocating/New Coop/Intro to new birds
    5. Illness– presence of disease ( Cocci, Respiratory, Parasites, etc…)
    6. Molt– first molt happens at 18 mos and will happen every fall there after

Complete Layer Feeds/Commercial Feeds

  1. Designed by a PHD Nutritionist
  2. Formulated for Egg Production in Laying Hens
  3. Vitamin & Mineral fortified for the dietary needs of a Laying Hen
  4. Guaranteed levels of Calcium ( for the egg shell )
  5. NutriVantage– Pre/Probiotics, Nutrition Optimizer, Organic, decreases death loss in young birds
  6. Fixed Formula– we do not substitute ingredients
  7. Quality Protein and Essential Amino Acids (Feather and Skin)
  8. Tagetes Extract– Marigold for yolk color
  9. HIGH ENERGY– a bird will consume to it’s energy needs everyday
  10. Delivers nutrition in a pellet, crumble or meal
  11. Designed to be the sole diet of the bird– no supplements or additional ingredients necessary

Here are the top 15 reasons why you could see less eggs:

  1. Chickens need 14 hours of light to stimulate the hypothalamus part of the brain
  2. Molting – egg production will slow or cease during this annual phase. Use a higher protein feed like Better Feather to jump start them again
  3. Broody hens will stop laying and try to hatch any eggs she is sitting on
  4. Egg Eating – so they are actually laying but eating them before they get picked up
  5. Predators – some prefer the eggs
  6. Egg bound – potentially fatal if not resolved
  7. Overcrowding – not enough space causing stress among the flock
  8. Additions to the flock – adding or subtracting hens can be stressful to
  9. Illness/disease – respiratory diseases can occur if a coop has been closed up tight in the winter months. Coops need ventilation
  10. Temperatures- too hot or too cold or highly variable temps
  11. Ventilation, ventilation, ventilation! Coops need to have air exchange to let the warm moist air out and replace it with fresh low ammonia air. Vents at the top of the coop are so important
  12. Poor Nutrition – hens eat to meet their energy needs. Feed a balanced diet that is labeled for laying hens
  13. Lack of fresh available water. Frozen water will lead to egg production drop
  14. Age of the hen. Most hens will lay well from 6-18 months. Then production will slowly decline as they get older.
  15. Stress – any stressor can lead to egg production drop. Dogs, predators trying to break into the coop, new hens in the coop, etc.