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How do you get the most eggs from your backyard chickens?

Views: 2023     Author: LONGMU     Publish Time: 2023-09-19      Origin: LONGMU


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How do you get the most eggs from your backyard chickens?

It may sound like a difficult question but if you have kept chickens before you already know the answer – you treat her like a queen!

To get your chickens to lay lots of eggs, there are several things you need to do.

Yes, there are management practices and feed choices that can help your birds maximize their genetic potential.  However, there is no magic button that turns on egg production.  A combination of strategies is the best way to make sure your girls are lying at a rate that works for you and works for them!

                                          Plasson Chicken Drinker (11)H30a3706037c541edb27b874cbe20c187a

Some of these things will be obvious to you, others perhaps a little more obscure, but they are all important to your chicken.

Chickens can get stressed by small and inconsequential things such as a change of feed, loud noises, a squirrel in the run, and other trivial things that we would not even think about.

Because chickens are a prey species they have good reason to be extremely cautious of anything different.

It is your job to try and keep the stress down to a minimum if you want your chickens to lay eggs.

An incident such as a stray dog running through the yard can deter them from lying for several days sometimes. That is not something you want happening on a regular basis.

Chickens that suddenly stop laying have usually experienced something causing them stress.

Things we do not think about can cause anxiety. Someone unknown to them walking in the yard, new flock arrivals, or a cat wandering by, can put them on edge.

As an example, a friend and I were checking out the new chicks in the yard. The hens were very upset because they had not seen this person before and they scattered to the very edges of their field. They did not lay for a couple of days and scolded me for bringing someone new to see them.

                                                                chicken drinker Barrel (3)1000        feeder with leg

Chickens thrive on routine.

If you can get them into a steady routine of daily activities, they will be happy and will be productive egg layers for you.

A high-quality complete layer feed is the absolute best way that you can help your chickens lay more eggs.  Great chicken feed is essential to keeping your birds in peak physical condition so that they can produce beautiful, wholesome eggs for you and your family. The physiological process of producing eggs zaps a lot of nutrients from a hen’s body and it’s important to replenish those nutrients through her feed.  Multiple vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients are required for proper egg production and if your hens are not receiving the proper amount of those nutrients, egg production will suffer.

When evaluating the best feed options for your flock, look for high-quality feed.  High-quality chicken feeds have a well-rounded nutrient profile.  This means that the feed inside that bag contains all of the nutrients, in the correct proportions, that your birds need to stay healthy and productive all year long – even during the hottest of summers and the darkest of winters!  Another advantage that you may want to consider is a feed that is fixed-formulated.  Fixed formulation means that the ingredients AND THE NUTRIENTS in that bag do not change on a regular basis.  This consistency in nutrition helps your birds lay eggs at their peak potential.

We can do lots of amazing things with nutrition, but we can’t overcome genetics.  Certain breeds of chickens and ducks have been genetically selected to be excellent egg producers.  Examples would include White and Brown Leghorns, Rhode Island Reds, and many of the new crosses that use these high-producing genetics.  If egg production is one of your primary goals, look for breeds that are high or very high egg producers when adding new birds to your flock.  

                                               19pigeon feeder (3)

Age is also a really important factor to consider when helping your chickens lay more eggs.  It is very common for older hens (3+ years) to take longer breaks between eggs or to have longer molts.  It doesn’t necessarily mean there is anything wrong with how you are feeding or housing your hens.  It’s just a natural progression in the life and the productivity of older birds.  Adding new birds to your flock every 1-2 years is a great way to ensure that you have more consistent egg production throughout the year.

Although most chicken feed contains calcium, some hens still need more calcium to lay eggs.

The easiest way to supply this is by providing oyster shells as a free-choice supplement.

A hen that lacks calcium will lay soft-shelled or shell-less eggs. Soft shell eggs look like regular eggs but when you pick them up, they are not hard they are quite malleable in the hand. A shell-less egg looks exactly like it sounds, there may be a thin membrane holding everything inside, but there is no solid shell.

This can be easily fixed by providing calcium to the hen.

You should not add calcium directly to the feed. Instead, you should put it in a separate feeder and let them pick at it as they need.

Another source of calcium is, of course, their own eggshells.

I wash eggshells then bake them in a warm oven for 15-30 minutes. I then remove the shells from the oven and when they are cool smash them into tiny pieces that are not recognizable as an egg and feed them back to the ladies.

Never feed whole shells back to them, it can possibly cause egg eating.

Certain breeds have a tendency towards broodiness

This in itself is not a bad thing however if you are only interested in eggs then it is a problem.

Hopefully, you have chosen your breeds wisely and you will never (or rarely) get a broody hen, but if you have a hen that is determined to sit on eggs that will significantly reduce your egg output.

When your hen decides to set she will lay enough eggs to satisfy herself (she may gather other eggs too) and then she will stop laying and sit for 21 days until they hatch.

Then she will care for them and possibly go into the molt after that.

In total, this is around ten weeks when she will stop laying eggs.


Another thing about broodiness is that it is sort of infectious – once one does, your other chickens will join in. To keep your egg supply you will need to break broody hens.

Chickens do not like to be crammed together.

They like having enough space to flap their wings!

Inside the coop, each chicken should have 4 square feet of space, and outside in the run, they each need at least 8 square feet.

If you let them free range then you might be able to get away with slightly less coop space.

Just remember that crowding them can lead to health and behavioral issues.

They may start pecking and feather plucking, egg eating, and a host of other anti-social behaviors. The weaker birds get trampled on too and can suffer from injuries.

By giving them enough space you are providing for their mental and emotional wellbeing. A happy and content chicken is going to be healthier and more productive than a hen who is unhappy and depressed.

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