Originally Posted by duluthralphie
Do not disagree with anything you said. However, the statement "Others in this thread have mentioned that 200 years ago, chickens weren't nearly as productive as they have been since."
While true, it implies something that is not strictly true.
Productivity of eggs began to really take off in the 1930's which is about the same time as the REA and electricity began to hit rural areas. I maintain it was the addition of a light bulb to the chicken coop as much or mare than any other event that increased production. If I want to increase my egg production, I need simply turn on a light 8 months of the year. Regardless of what I feed them I will get more eggs.
That is analogous to saying "I can raise vegetables with nothing more than good sunlight". Anyone that has raised crops or gardened the same land year after year will tell you that fertility needs to be replenished with manure, compost or chemical fertilizer.
I've raised livestock and exotics most of my life. If I don't feed them properly, they won't be productive or thrive. You don't have to believe me. The next time you go to a poultry show or county fair, find an old poultryman and ask them if they get good production from feeding only scratch. They may humor you and explain what is needed in regards to nutrition for good production and flock health - or they may just laugh.
You may get more egg with more light, but that will only be until their stores of vitamins, macro/micro minerals and amino acids are depleted.- AND only after their annual molt.
A chicken requires proper levels of fat, energy, proteins, vitamins and minerals. Light won't replace those.
Deficiencies of water soluble vitamins show up quickly. That would be B complex.
Birds with a B-12 deficiency have reduced weight gain and feed intake, along with poor feathering and nervous disorders.
Choline deficiency presents in slow growth and twisted hocks.
Niacin deficiency slows growth and causes skin and digestive disorders.
The liver becomes atrophied with a pantothenic deficiency.
In hens, signs of riboflavin deficiency are decreased egg production, increased embryonic mortality, and an increase in size and fat content of the liver.
A folic acid deficiency results in a macrocytic anemia and leukopenia. Poultry are much more susceptible than other livestock.
Biotin deficiency results in dermatitis of all exposed skin.
Fat soluble vitamin deficiency won't show up for several months since they may be stored a while. However if they were never supplied sufficiently in the diet, it won't matter.
With a vitamin A deficiency, birds become emaciated and weak with ruffled feathers. Egg production drops and hatchability decreases.
Low levels of vitamin D prevents proper absorption of calcium and phosphorus. Shell weight drops by 150 mg/day till eventually egg production stops. It also causes stunted growth and leg weakness in growing birds.
Muscular dystrophy occurs in chicks without sufficient vitamin E.
Any vitamin deficiency will cause dramatic effects on hatchability.
Adding light after the fall equinox can stimulate the pineal gland and thereby egg production if they've recovered from molt. That won't help without proper nutrition.
Chickens closer to the equator don't experience a difference in day length. They still molt and still need good nutrition to be productive the rest of the year.
You can't make eggs without the raw materials.
Light alone doesn't make tomatoes or eggs.
And, by the way, hormones have never been used in egg production since the 1940s. There isn't a lab in the world producing a hormone for increased egg production.
Good egg production has come from genetic selection and proper nutrition.
Originally Posted by shortgrass
I'm sorry, I disagree. We don't use hormones on our cattle. At all. Ever. Very high demand for organic beef
Agreed. Cattle have been raised for meat and milk for tens of thousands of years. No hormones needed. We barely dabbled in milk production but a friend had a 200 cow milk farm. We raised beef. Never a hormone in either herd. No need. They eat, they grow, they breed, they produce milk. In fact, our farm was exclusively a grass fed operation.
Edited by ChickenCanoe - 9/18/15 at 2:28am