I read this entire thread....hoping someone would answer the same question posed above by Lorije1.
I'm new to keeping chickens, so still have a LOT to learn. That said, I have read on this site more than once that a hen is born with all the eggs she will ever produce (like a human female), so if we feed them cayenne pepper to "increase" egg production, aren't we really just shortening the number of years they will lay? In other words, 300 eggs a year x 7 years vs. 360 eggs a year x 5 years - or something like that?
We bought these girls with the intention of keeping them for egg production. That said, once they stop producing eggs for us, we will continue to love and care for them as we do the rest of our pets. So unless you plan to eat your hens once they stop laying for you, I don't see how this is useful, as you are not going to get MORE eggs, you are just going to get them SOONER.
Correct me if I am wrong, please, but that's my understanding...
Michelle in Massachusetts
An old post, I know. My hunch is most folks on this thread are not raising their chickens for pets. It's an issue than can create misunderstandings. It's just a matter of personal preference. Nearly our whole flock are not pets to us, though we love them dearly. Just not the same way we love our dog.
Aside from that, I have fed our flock, free choice in a separate dish, crushed red pepper flakes. They gobble it down like candy. Since the capsaicin acts as a worm control and many birds in the wild will eat hot peppers, perhaps they know a good thing when they find it.
We raise a lot via natural methods, but when it comes to egg laying, we do choose to manipulate. We use lights during winter. We can really fathom paying a LOT of money for the premium organic feed they get and not getting any eggs for it. They seem to take a break for about 2 months anyways even with the light. I'm curious though if the hot pepper thing here might be a pseudo-alternative to the light.