How to keep your hens laying??
Keeping your hens in lay is important for you and your family,you always love to go in the coop and collect those delicious free range eggs so don't let your hens slack off keep them happy and healthy. These tips are easy and helpful for anyone raising hens.
*One way to help keep your hens in lay is make sure they have enough space in the coop and run,a good rule of thumb is about 4 square feet in the coop and about 8 square feet in the run. Overcrowding will cause stress which results in no laying.
*Another way is to keep your hens happy,you can do this by making sure they have enough room and not overcrowded,give them somewhere to dust bath,give them some outside roosts or stumps cause chickens love to roost and look around and preen themselves,give them treats like any scraps or fruit,veggies,cereal,meal worms,seed block etc. Let them out to free range,time out and able to chase down bugs and eat grass and take dust baths are very enjoyable to all chickens. Make sure they are cool in summer and warm in winter. They will be happy and keep laying those amazing eggs!!
*Make sure they have the right diet,give them a good quality laying feed with plenty of calcium,minerals,and all the good stuff. Give them free choice grit and oyster shell in separate containers or mix it in with there feed cause all birds need grit to help digest food and the oyster shell is a great way to give your hens plenty of calcium. Give your hens scraps to save on feed and they love it (just avoid caffeine such as coffee and soda plus chocolate). In the warm months give your hens some cold treats such as watermelon and add electrolytes to there water,you can buy some in pill,powder,or liquid form at your local Tractor Supply company or feed store. In the cold months give your chickens some higher protein treats such as meal worms and before they go to roost at night give them some scratch grain because the digestion will keep them warmer when sleeping. A variety is the spice of life and your hens enjoy the variety so keep it up.
*Make sure your hens have enough nest boxes usually 4 per every 8 hens is good but more is better,make sure they have enough bedding in there nest box such as wood chips or straw. You can give them boxes,baskets,plastic totes or whatever you prefer.
*If you have an egg eater that will obviously stop eggs from heading to your skillet so if you find a empty shell in your nest box you most likely have an egg eating hen. To find this out you can wait and watch,or set an egg in the nest box that is opened a bit and pour some color die in the egg so when the hen eats it her beak will be colored and you will catch her. After you get her you will have to decide what to do you can rather cull her or do other things to brake her of this. You can poke a hole in a good egg and blow the egg out than fill the shell with dish liquid soap or mustard which hens hate than place it in the nest box than when the hen pecks in to it she will get a nasty surprise. Or another reason for egg eating is that there bored,don't have enough bedding which results in the egg cracking or the hens don't have enough calcium in there diet and there eggs brake from being to fragile. All these can be fixed with a few minutes than your back on track with all your eggs.
*Keeping your hens stress free,if your hens are stressed out they won't lay so make sure there happy. Keep using loud chainsaw's,mowers,or dogs at a minimum cause they will put your hens in a frenzy. Keeping any scary animals away will help such as barking dogs that run around the pen or predators. Raccoon's,possums,coyotes,foxes,hawks,owls,snakes,mice,mink,weasels,cats etc. They can obviously cause a ruckus in the coop and will stress your hens out like no other so make sure your pen and coop are very secure and safe. If your allowed in your area add a rooster to your flock if you don't have one cause the hens will feel protected with them around and will relax more knowing there protector is around. Sometime on rare occasions a hen will stop laying and kinda be the rooster and watch over the other hens. The rooster's will help find them food,alert them of any predators and brake up scuffles between the hens,not to mention your eggs will be fertilized for hatching and the beautiful sound of a rooster crowing. Just keep your hens happy and not stressed and you will be pleased every day.
*If you have a hen that's broody you won't get eggs either,a hen that is sitting on eggs or rearing chicks won't lay eggs until the chicks are a bit older. A hen will want to sit on eggs and hatch them out to raise the chicks and it takes around 21 days to hatch a chick so the hen won't lay from the time she sits till the chicks are at least a couple months old so if you want your egg productivity to stay up don't let your hens go broody. But it's a great experience and it's a way to keep your flock thriving and keep you in new birds each spring and summer.
By following these tips your hens will be in top productivity,happy,healthy,and enjoying there life's and keep giving you delicious free range eggs you and your family love. Hope this helps you out low egg rate's and anyone in need of help in the future. Thanks for reading and hopefully you'll get more eggs and have happier healthier chickens!!