The practice of raising your own chickens is becoming increasingly popular all around the world. While it is a good way to ensure self-sustainability, egg production has seen a decrease in the past couple of years.
In most cases, you should expect to see your hens starting to lay eggs at about 18-22 weeks of age. An average hen will then peak around 6-8 weeks later, where her production will reach peak yield. There are many factors that might affect the production yield of hens. This article will explore the different factors that might affect the production of eggs. We recommend checking in with your hens to see if there are any ways that you can improve their living situation. It is important that you identify the possible problems as leaving it will impact your profits.
Stress and Change
If hens are under pressure or stress, it can have a big impact on their production yield. Try to avoid moving your hens around too much and provide them with the best possible environment. Even a slanted pen can greatly affect the stress levels of hens. Similarly, a change in environment can put your hens in stressful situations, where they will need to take time to re-adjust. Once your hens have started laying eggs, try not to move them around too much. Knowing what can cause stress to your flock can be useful. Some factors that affect the stress levels of chickens are the fear of predators, diet, brooding, space constraints and weather.
Introducing New Animals into the Flock
When adding a new hen or rooster into the flock, this might put the rest of the flock into a state of distrust. They would think that their owner is up to something sketchy and might raise their guard. This change of state could also place unnecessary pressure on the animals, which affects their ability to produce their usual amount of eggs. Before you think of adding more to your flock, make sure you consider this factor. If you would like to introduce new chickens into the flock, we recommend doing it slowly. Do not rush, as it might cause unnecessary trouble and fighting.
Overcrowding, Change in Weather, Feed composition and Time of Feeding
Take note of weather changes as it might drastically affect the production yield of your hens. Try to regulate the temperatures of your pens. That means, increasing temperatures of the environment when the weather gets cold and decreasing the temperatures in summer. Similarly, overcrowding can reduce the amount of space that these roosters and hens have to roam about, which can result in increased stress. Lastly, make sure you feed your animals at a specified time with regular intervals. Roosters and hens are very particular animals and are able to notice when their feeding times are irregular. This can also greatly affect their production yield. To help you with this, consider getting a planner or set a reminder on your calendar.
Noise and Decreased Lighting
It is common that birds get easily frightened by loud noises or unfamiliar sounds. For hens, in particular, the only sound familiar to them will be the cooing noise when they’re about to lay eggs. If possible, try to reduce making loud sounds in order to not startle your hen. In addition, lighting is considered a very important factor when it comes to the production of eggs. Hens are particularly sensitive to daylight. If the light is absent or irregular, hens can register the change as a shorter or longer day. Based on scientific research, the amount of laid eggs is directly proportional to the length of sunlight that hens receive. It is recommended that healthy hens get exposed to an average of 14-16 hours of daylight each day to help stimulate egg production.
Poor or Unbalanced Diet
Just like humans, animals need the right amount of nutrients to flourish. Their diets should be pack-filled with calcium and proteins in order to give them the energy to function optimally. If any of these elements are absent from their diets, they might not be able to produce a high yield of eggs. If you find that the lack of nutrients is a persistent problem, you can consider adding egg-production boosters in their drinking water, which works as supplements that can help them produce more eggs. The boosters have the right nutrients such as amino-acids and minerals crucial for the laying period.
The term ‘broody’ refers to the state when hens have the tendency to incubate her eggs. You might notice your hen getting annoyed every time you approach her and will not leave her nesting box. If you aren’t planning on having chicks, this could be probably problematic for you when you try to take her eggs away. Along with this innate behavioral tendency, the mother hens will temporarily cease eating. The fall in feed consumption can also eventually trigger a fall in egg production. In order to prevent this behavior in your mother hens, we recommend exposing them to more light.
Diseases and Parasitism
Often, diseases and parasites can attack a hen when she’s about to lay eggs. In order to prevent this, you will need to keep a close eye on the mother hens and make sure that she is well and healthy. Lice and fleas are comment pests that you’ll need to get rid of and remember to deworm your roosters and hens regularly. Chickens that are affected by worms can look unhealthy and thin. Even if they eat more than other chickens, they might take a longer time to gain weight. Some people prefer to deworm their chickens twice a year and that includes the whole flock to be safe.
Keeping a look out for your animals can be quite a challenge sometimes, but it is necessary. Especially if egg production brings in the bulk of your profits, having a decline in egg production can affect your profits by quite a bit. If it’s not identified early, the problems might develop into bigger problems.