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Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by K-Chick, May 3, 2010.
Is there anyway to help the hen lay bigger eggs?
The eggs do tend to get larger as the hen ages, but there's no way to force it to happen.
Thats what I figured. My RIR's are taking forever to lay larger eggs.
How about production? Is there anyway to increase that?
I have a Australorp hen. When she first started laying, the were very small. Now shes 4yrs and is laying LONG eggs. Not fat ones. I guess it depends on the hen. I'm not sure.
Not only is there not much of anything you can do to increase egg size, you probably shouldn't ought to TRY either, as larger eggs are more apt to result in a hen becoming eggbound. Chickens that lay very large eggs tend to have a somewhat higher mortality rate.
But yes, they generally are a bit smaller in the first few months of laying than subsequently.
Egg size and production are largely genetically determined (assuming the hen is getting sufficient nutrition and daylength).
Good luck, have fun,
I have heard that the most significant element in increasing egg production and egg size is percent of protein in hens diets. I got two Buff Orpington hens at 5 month of age 3 months ago. Apha started laying two weeks and Beta started laying 4 weeks after I got them. They were being fed a diet of 50% Purina Layena (16% protein) and 50% Purina Flock Raiser (20% protein)....so it averaged out to 18% protein. Alpha has been laying small eggs (1.6 to 1.7 ounces) and Beta has been laying large eggs (2.0 to 2.1 ounces). I average a little over 13 eggs per week (they have good colored yokes and really taste good). Both hens are really good looking and as healthy as can be. They do not free range but receive grass cuttings and limited treats. They average very close to 0.25 pounds of feed a day (per hen). They also receive oyster shells and granite grit free choice. I was extremely happy with productivity but wanted to try to increase egg size. So 6 weeks ago I started an experiment of increasing the protein to 19%. I've made a 5% increase in my Flock Raiser proportions every 4 days and allowed the hens to adjust for 8 days at the same level. Over the past six weeks I have increased the protein level from 18% to 18.6%. The results...Apha is now laying medium size eggs (1.8 to 1.9 ounces) and Beta has increased her large eggs to 2.1 to 2.2 ounces....not dynamic change but I believe significant changes....and still averaging a little over 13 eggs per week. I am looking forward to seeing how the next 4 weeks show up in egg size increase.
I mix Layena Pellets to Flock Raiser 2:1 ratio and the eggs went from pullet looking to just a respectable large size eggs, same as you get at the grocery store, not the XL or anything. They just look normal. Never have had any egg binding trouble, and the hens keep a bit better condition, with some decent flesh on their breast, legs and wings. I have not eaten them, they just feel better filled out when I feed them like that.