Caring For Laying Hens

Caring for laying hens is a relatively simple procedure and will help ensure your hens continue to produce good quality eggs for many years.

Most importantly your laying hens, as well as the rest of your flock, should have access to a fresh and clean supply of water. If your flock is confined to a fenced area, make sure that no applied chemicals are in the pen area. Chicken feed must be stored in waterproof and rodent-proof containers. Feed that is not stored in waterproof containers can easily become moldy and become a health hazard to your birds. Rodents can spread disease and bacteria if they are not kept out of your flock’s food source.

Laying hens need an adequate source of calcium in their daily diet to form an adequate shell for the egg. Too little calcium in a laying hens diet causes the shell to be thin and easily broken. On the other hand, too much calciumĀ  will make the eggshell too thick and the chicks can have a difficult time hatching. A good source of calcium is ground oyster shells, but most commercial foods should contain the proper amounts of calcium without having to supplement your birds diet.

Keep in mind that chickens use their gizzards to grind their food. In order to properly complete the digestive process, they must have access to grit. Grit is simply another word for dirt. If your chickens have dirt to scratch around in, then they are getting an adequate amount of grit, if not supplementation is necessary. This can easily be accomplished by simply adding a few shovelfulls of dirt into the area the birds are confined in. Needless to say, this will not be a concern if your flock is free ranging.

There are really no secrets to caring for laying hens, just use good old fashioned common sense and the rest will take care of itself. Laying hens that are properly cared for should continue to produce a good supply of fresh eggs for at least five years after they start laying. Their productivity will vary from breed to breed, but most hens will be productive egg layers for at least that long, and some will continue well past that point.

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