Answer: There are three primary components of a successful laying season: nutrition, egg collection and light. 1. Nutrition: The number one tool we can give hens is a complete and balanced diet when they begin to lay eggs around 18 weeks of age. Complete layer feeds, like Purina® Layena® Premium Poultry Feed, are formulated to include all of the nutrients hens require while laying eggs. The diet should include: calcium for strong shells; amino acids, vitamins and minerals for enhanced egg quality and hen health; and probiotics and prebiotics to promote the hen’s digestive function. The complete layer feed should comprise at least 90 percent of the hen’s diet. The remaining 10 percent can come from supplemental feeds, such as scratch grains, good quality table scraps and oyster shells. We don’t want to feed too much ‘extra’ feed, like scratch grains or table scraps, because it can dilute and unbalance the complete nutrition in the hen‘s pellets or crumbles, affecting her production and health. 2. Egg collection: Once hens begin laying eggs, be sure to gather eggs at least in the morning and in the evening. This helps to keep the eggs cleaner and reduces chances for eggs to get cracked by hen traffic in the nests. Egg cracks can allow bacteria access to the interior of the egg. Microscopic cracks and large cracks can be a result of an inadequate diet and infrequent egg gathering. We’ve found that feeding a complete layer feed can improve shell strength, helping to address microscopic shell cracks and keeping bacteria from entering the egg. Gather eggs 2-3 times per day. This helps prevent eggs from getting stepped on and thereby cracked or broken, which can lead to egg eating. Egg eating generally occurs when a hen finds a broken egg, tastes it, likes it and begins searching for other broken eggs, then learns to break them herself. Address egg eating by feeding our hens for strong shells and gathering eggs frequently. 3. Light: Light is a critical component in egg laying. As days get shorter, egg production may drop because hens need a minimum of 17 hours of daylight to sustain strong production. Without supplemental light, hens will naturally stop laying eggs when daylight drops below 12 hours per day due to a hormonal response in the hen that is triggered by light. To address this problematic hormonal response and promote long-term egg production, provide one incandescent 40-watt or LED 9 to 13-watt bulb (brighter light is neither necessary nor advantageous) per 100 square feet of coop space. Use an automatic timer to keep light and dark hours consistent so hens stay on a laying and sleeping schedule.