If you are a livestock farmer who raises chicken for business in egg sales or chicken sale, then increasing egg production should be your preoccupation. This is because an increase in production rate would lead to an increase in the profits made. Most times we feel discouraged when a hen lays nothing at all in a day. This should not be the case. First you should know that there are factors that limit the production of eggs in chickens as well as factors affecting egg size. Knowing how to make chickens lay more eggs would be knowing how to deal with these factors. Here’s what you need to know to increase quality and quantity of eggs produced in your poultry.
Separate the chickens into different flocks.
In other to be more effective in making your chickens lay more eggs, you must start by separating the chickens into different flocks. Among the chickens, there are good egg layers, pullets, aging hens and infected chickens. This will help you to know the ones that need breeding and the next step to take.
Good egg layers are hens which are usually very noisy. They hunt for food all day and are the first off the roost and the last to return. They are always very active and keep themselves up to the greatest possible pitch. You should separate such hens from the aging ones. Aging is a big problem in egg production. A hen may live for many years and it may surprise you to know that though it lays eggs throughout its life, after a period of 2 or 3 years, its rate of egg production reduces. Older hens would molt more often and lay less than expected. Molting is a period where a hen takes a break and does not lay at all. It may largely depend on the quality of the hens you are raising. Good egg layers on the hand lay eggs continuously for about 50 to 60 weeks and then takes a break. You should be able to separate these active hens from the inactive words. In order to know if a hen is laying, you can check its pelvic bones. They are soft and pliable. Put hens aside that are healthy with combs wattles and face red, hens that have their backs long and broad with neck not too short but medium long. The importance of selecting these hens is to be able to know the ones that can be good breeders. Many farmers may prefer to select from pullets but the truth is that the breeding flock can still be selected from among these active hens rather than from the pullets. Some make the mistake of selling these hens while keeping the younger ones for egg production.
Pullets and hens should be separated and put in their quarters early enough and special care should be taken to make sure that there is no overcrowding. Make sure you manage pullets very well. They can be fed more highly than the layers during their early weeks of growth. They need enough protein because they are not only growing the fleshy parts of their bodies but some are filling out their bones and preparing to lay eggs whereas others are actually laying eggs.
Hens that are infected with diseases or parasites should be separated from the healthy ones and taken care of before joining the rest of the flock. This will help to avoid the spreading of the diseases or parasites to the healthy ones.
Provide your chicken with basic needs like feed and water
Chickens need a balanced diet just as humans do. Improper nutrition is one of the biggest factors affecting egg size. Improper diet can cause problems like oviductal prolapse which happens when the chicken is too fat and sometimes the eggs appear too small. It usually causes permanent damage to the chicken and is fatal in some cases. Feeding whole grains, table scraps and scratch feeds can cause the hen’s diet to become imbalance and also inadequate. If you want to know how to make chickens lay more eggs, then you must know how to provide them with the necessary amount of feed and water.
Hens consume a very insignificant quantity of food every day. This therefore means that their feed should be nutrients dense. Flocks need a constant supply of nutrients every day. This will help their body to function properly but one has to bear in mind that an excess consumption of these nutrients may do more harm than good to the chicken’s health and even its reproductive life. So care should be taken. Let’s take a look at some of the essential nutrients or elements chickens need in order for their egg production to increase.
Calcium. We have to know that one of the components of the egg shell of hens is calcium. Hens need an increase in their intake of calcium as soon as they start laying eggs. The pullet’s requirement for calcium is relatively low when it is still growing but when it starts laying eggs, the need for calcium increases. This therefore means that inadequate calcium will lead to a reduction in the rate of egg production and even when the eggs are laid, the quality of the egg shell will be lowered and in some cases, the pullet egg size becomes too small. Deficiency in protein is one of the factors affecting egg size in both pullets and mature hens. You can mix calcium with the food you give to your hens. A good example is limestone which is set to contain a lot of calcium. The larger the particle size of the calcium source, the longer it will stay in the upper digestive tract and be released more slowly. This is necessary for the continuity of the formation of shell especially in a time when hens do not normally eat. You can mix the limestone in the feed you want to give to your hens. If you want to know how to makechickens lay more eggs, then you must be ready to learn how to feed your hens with the amount of calcium required at a specific time. You should note that good egg layers need more calcium than the pullets and aging hens. When chicken starts layingeggs, it is an indication that it needs more intake of calcium.
Dolomitic limestone which is used in steel industry should not be given to hens. It contains at least 10% of Magnesium which competes with calcium for assimilation sites in the intestines and this can lead to calcium deficiency.
Salt. Every flock needs salt. The reason why there is low rate of egg production and an increase in feather pecking is because there is usually little or no salt in the food given to hens. In salt, we find the sodium element. Sodium is an important nutrient which plays an indispensable role in the maintenance of body fluid volume, proper osmotic relationships and blood ph. Your hen can start losing its appetite when there is a low intake of salt. Sodium deficiencies affect the assimilation of dietary protein and energy and it as well interfere with the performance in reproduction. Therefore, when your chicken starts laying eggs, provide it daily with salt. Set aside the good egg layers and provide them with enough salt but not in excess. Excess salt turns out to be toxic to the hen’s body.
You can as well get the blue type of salt. It is called the Cobalt iodized salt and it is often used in the diets for swine and ruminants but it can be very helpful for poultry. Iodine itself is not usually added as a separate ingredient. The iodized salt should be used routinely.
Chlorine is as much very important. Chlorine plays an indispensable role in maintaining osmotic balance of fluids in the hen’s body. Its deficiency in hens can cause them to be more nervous and they end up showing increased sensitivity to sudden noise.
You should be careful not to feed with your hens with excess salt. Excess dietary salt intake can cause wet droppings and wet litter. Beware of feed ingredients like fish meal, corn gluten meal, whey, sunflower meal and meat meal because they contain high level of sodium. When you plan using these feed ingredients, then you should be ready to reduce the addition of supplementary salt in the diet.
Protein. Hens need protein because of the presence of the amino acid in this nutrient. Though hens may produce amino acid but it is not enough to meet their requirement. This will mean that poultry farmers will have to supply food to hens which contain a lot of amino acid and the intake will depend on the type, age and strain. When chicken starts laying eggs, endeavor to feed it with protein daily or you may start feeding the good egg layers with enough protein after you have separated them from the pullets and aging hens.
On the other hand, when young pullets grow and start laying eggs, there should be a relative increase in their intake of protein or there will be poor egg production. The pullet egg size may turn out to be too small if care is not taken. This is one of the factors affecting egg size. Therefore, to know how to make chickens lay more eggs, you must know how to feed them with enough protein because the egg yolk contains much protein.
Vitamin. Vitamin is in the form of D3 and D2. Birds need more of the D3 than D2. This will mean that you have to supply vitamin in the form of D3 to your hens. Excess vitamin D3 can lead to an increase in calcium absorption thereby reducing egg production.
Phosphorus. The role of phosphorus to the body of chickens is closely related to that of calcium. They are both constituents of bone Phosphorus plays a role in carbohydrate metabolism and it is as well very active in fat metabolism. It also regulates the acid-base balance of the body.
Carbohydrate. During cold weathers, add carbohydrates to the normal ration in order to increase the energy content. This is because as the weather goes colder, large amount of energy is used to maintain the body heat. Carbohydrate should not be given in larger quantities to the hens because what they really need is protein since the egg contain a high amount of protein. Egg production can increase even during cold weathers if you feed your hens with the right stuff at the right time.
Here are some treats for your hens to keep them happy and healthy and always laying eggs for you:
Egg shells. What do you do with the egg shells from your poultry? Do you just throw them away? There are better things you can do with these shells. They are a great component of protein. Have you ever thought of getting them dry and crushing them for your hens? You can do this and put them in their feed. This is not costly at all because the shells come from your own poultry. You can use the money in buying other nutrients source which you cannot easily find around you. It is always good to use heat to dry up the shells. The heat kills off any salmonella or other bugs lurking in the snails. You may decide to bake them dry.
Greens. Cabbage, chickweed and dandelion leaves are high in vitamins and minerals that are necessary for maintaining good health in the hens.
Watermelons. Watermelon is a healthy snack for your fowls. It is rich in Vitamin C, B1 and anti-oxidants. It has high water content. On a hot day, watermelon will provide much water to your hens and keep them cool. You can also get them pumpkins to keep them happy and healthy. When hens are happy and healthy, they lay more eggs.
Cracked corn. Chickens will happy eating cracked corn. They should not be fed more of it since it is not rich in protein. An intake of corn will help increase metabolism and this keeps the hens warm during a cold weather.
Much attention should be given to what goes into the hens because it will determine to a great extent what will come out. If you want your hen to increase in the rate of egg production, then you must be ready to feed it with the right stuff and the right quantity. There is no magic in making your chickens lay more eggs. You just need to know the right feed to give it and that’s all.
Water. Water is mostly taken for granted and it has been proven to be the most essential nutrient. A constant supply of fresh and clean water is necessary for maximum egg production. This is because half of the eggs volume is made up of water. This therefore means there will be a reduction in egg production if the hens do not consume much water. When chicken starts laying eggs, endeavor to give it water every now and then.
The amount of water needed also depends on the environment’s temperature and relative humidity and diet composition. High environment temperatures can pose severe problems for your poultry. The pullet egg size for example may be too small due to severe heat stress. Such condition does not only affect the pullet egg size but as well those of other mature hens. Hens therefore will need more water during hot weather and so as a life stock farmer, you have to be aware of this and always provide them with water. As earlier said, it is said it is necessary because the egg contains much water. If you want to know how to make chickens lay more eggs, then you must be ready to know how to give them water every now and then. One of the factors affecting egg size is the inability of the farmer to know when and how to feed his flock with good and fresh water.
What you feed your chicken with should be very clean and necessary. You may give them a balanced diet but the uncleanliness can lead to related diseases which may instead reduce egg production. All your efforts will be of waste if this happens. Sometimes, you may be feeding your flock with the wrong stuffs and this will endanger their health thereby reducing the rate of egg production. Here are some diseases which arise in such cases.
Botulism. This occurs when chickens are feed with spoiled feed or when they consume carcasses or other decaying organic materials. Decaying materials that contain this toxin are mostly found in ponds and other stagnant water. This happens with domestic chickens which are left loose to hunt after food themselves. When hens consume the wrong stuff, their egg production rate drops and sizes in eggs become small. The pullet egg size may turn out to be small not because it is a growing pullet but because it is not fed with the right stuff. This is one of the factors that affecting egg size.
Mycotoxins. Mycotoxins affect egg production and general health in chickens. They interfere with metabolism or assimilation of some nutrients. When mycotoxin contaminated feeds are given to laying hens, calcium deficiency occurs and some have hormonal effects which cause a fall in egg production. These mycotoxins are produced by molds. The mold infects corn both in the field and in storage. A type of mycotoxin called Aflatoxin can be detected by examining the grain under black light because it fluoresces under ultraviolet light.
Provide enough light source. Light is needed for an increase in the rate of egg production. It has a direct impact on egg production. We discover that hens at winter season reduce their egg production due to insufficient light and intensity. The solution to this can be to install an artificial light source to provide 14 hours of light with sufficient intensity to your farm. If you do this, you will experience an increase in the rate of egg production on your hens.
Disinfect the environment. The environment where you are raising you chicken must be disinfected. You should make sure it is always clean to avoid parasites. This is because when hens are infected, the rate of egg production drops. Let’s look at some of the infections or parasites that may arise attack the poultry.
Lice. Various species of chewing lice can be found on chickens. They feed on dry scales, feathers, or the scabs on the skin of the chickens. As the lice move over the body of the chicken, their sharp claws and mouths scratch the skin of their host. Most at times we see our hens behaving abnormally and become too nervous. It is because of the irritation caused by these parasites. Egg production in infested flock as reported may drop as much as 10% and some infestations may cause it to drop as much as 20%. If you want to know how to make chickens lay more eggs, then you must be ready to know how to keep the environment clean to avoid lice. Lice comes as a result of dirt. When chicken starts laying, make sure you keep the environment clean and disinfected.
Fleas. Stick-tight fleas may be a difficulty to eradicate. The flea attaches to the skin around the face and the head and cause severe irritation to the chicken and sometimes it blocks its vision. Always do your best to disinfect the area.
Fowl pox. This is a viral disease which is characterized by scab-like lesions on the skin of the body parts of the hens not covered in feathers. This causes the chickens to experience a fall in egg production rate. It is transmitted by direct contact with an infected chicken or by mosquitoes. If you identify a fowl with fowl pox, make sure you remove it from the flock before it contaminates the other chickens. Always do your best to disinfect the environment. That will help.
Infectious Bronchitis. This is a highly contagious respiratory disease. The virus responsible for this may appear resistant but some disinfectants can terminate it. This particular virus occurs only in chickens and can affect all the age group whether pullets or aging hens. You can detect this virus in laying hens when they start gasping, sneezing and coughing and there is also a noticeable decrease in egg production and low egg quality. You can use broad spectrum antibiotics for 3-5 days to control secondary bacterial infections.
Making your chickens lay more eggs is not different from following the above steps.