The most common reasons for chickens to stop laying eggs are decreasing day length, molting, disease, broodiness, poor nutrition, and stress
Molting is a natural process that allows the hen to replace old, worn feathers and at the same time it rejuvenates her oviduct, the organ that “makes” eggs. This allows the hen to increase its rate of egg production and produce higher quality eggs when it returns to lay. With they molt, the hen puts all of her energy into feather growth, leaving little for egg production. Every year I have first time chicken owners contacting me and asking why the hens they have that have been laying all year have suddenly stopped.
Decreasing Day Length
Natural molting is a seasonal process related to changes in day length. Once the daylight hours begin to decline this will trigger molting and consequently your hens will stop laying eggs for a few weeks. This usually occurs in the fall after chicks have fledged. Often your whole flock will stop laying at the same time. Commercial growers use artificial lighting to prevent their hens molting all at once and consequently they may often molt at any time and not necessarily all at once.
There are many causes of stress, from predators hanging around or even a loud noise which can cause the hens to stop laying. You may have moved them into a new environment which is definitely stressful for them. Not only do they have to get used to their new home they also have to establish a new pecking order. Do everything you can to make their life comfortable and they should reward you and start laying eggs.
Some hens of certain breeds are prone to becoming broody. This means that they will try to incubate their eggs to make them hatch. When this happens, they stop laying eggs. They are more likely to become broody if they are allowed to accumulate eggs in a nest. The hens will sit on the eggs and get very annoyed when you try to take the eggs from the nest. To avoid this situation it is best to collect the eggs at least once a day which will prevent the hen from building up a clutch of eggs. This is also important to preserve the freshness and quality of eggs for human consumption.
Diseases will stop your hen laying even if the symptoms they have are not obvious. Keep an eye on the hen and if any disease symptoms appear you will need to treat the disease before your hen begins laying again.
Hens need a balanced and adequate diet to maintain egg production. Many backyard flock owners don’t realize how much calcium a hen needs to produce eggs. You need to feed your flock a prepared layer ration or at least provide some source of calcium. e.g ground limestone or oyster shell that birds can eat when they need to. You should be able to source layer ration or oyster shell at your local feed store. To maintain egg production, flock owners should feed only a prepared layer ration balanced to meet a hen’s nutritional requirements, or at least provide a particulate source of calcium, e.g. suitably sized ground limestone or oyster shell that the birds can eat selectively according to their needs. The layer ration or calcium source should be available from your local feed supply store.
Hens can live for many years. As with other species, an aging hen eventually will eventually lose its ability to be reproductive and will stop producing eggs.
Protect your hens from the elements and predators. Make sure that their hen house is clean and well maintained and make sure that they have a constant supply of nutritious food and water. This will result in high egg production and many quality eggs for your family to enjoy.
Raising Chickens 1. IS IT LEGAL
An important factor when you start to raise chickens for eggs is to make sure that you are allowed to keep chickens in your backyard. You will need to check with your local authorities to make sure that you are able to keep chickens and see what restrictions they may have. i.e. some councils will not allow you to have roosters but will allow hens. The reason why this is important is because you don’t want to go to all the trouble of setting up your chickens only to find that you are breaking the laws in your area. If you don’t check with your local authority then you may run the risk of prosecution.
Roosters are not allowed in some cities.
2. CHICKS OR CHICKENS
Another important consideration when raising chickens for eggs is whether you raise your chickens from eggs i.e hatch them yourself or whether you buy them as baby chicks and raise them. You can also buy chickens that are ready to lay. For those who are new to raising chickens I would recommend buying chickens that are ready to lay. One, you don’t have to wait long for your chickens to start laying and two, the older chickens are not as vulnerable as the young chicks and are much more likely to survive. It’s critical that you buy from a reputable supplier; because the health of the laying hens is important for their egg production and also makes it easier for you to care for them.
3. CHICKEN COOPS
You don’t have to have an expensive chicken coop for your chickens. There are many ready made chicken coops for sale out there but it is really not too hard to build your own. If one of your motivations for raising chickens for eggs is saving money then buying an expensive chicken coop will defeat that purpose. There are many books on building your own chicken coop with easy to follow plans using cheap easily available materials. All you need to do is decide how many chickens you want, (I would recommend 2 to 4 chickens for a city backyard.) and make sure that you find a chicken coop design that will suit that amount of chickens. The less space you have available means the less chickens you should have.
4. HOW MANY CHICKENS
Instead of complicating raising chickens for eggs by having a huge flock, concentrate your efforts on a small number of chickens. Most chickens in full production will lay an egg each day. If you have too many chickens you may find it difficult to use all the eggs that they will produce. I have found that having 2 to 4 chickens will give you plenty of eggs for your family and friends and you will not be overwhelmed with eggs that you cannot use. Concentrate your efforts by only having a few hens and you will find that raising chickens for eggs is not as hard as you may think.
5. FEEDING CHICKENS
Chickens need to have a place to roost at night which is protected by the weather and they need to be fed and their water checked every day. They also need a nesting box to lay their eggs in which you put in your chicken coop. If you have children, you will find that they love collecting eggs as it is a lot of fun and you can also get them to help with feeding and checking the water as well. Chickens need a variety of foods to produce great tasting eggs and the best way to achieve this is to feed them all your kitchen food scraps. Chickens will eat just about anything and what they are doing is transforming your food scraps into fantastic garden fertilizer. Chickens will also benefit from eating layer pellets or grain to maintain their egg production and will quickly turn any weeds and garden waste you have into fertilizer as well.
Chicken Coop Plan Reviews
To find out more about this ebook and read some more reviews and testimonials, Click Here….
How to Build an Incubator and Incubate your Chicks
Informative and Helpful online videos
Price : $39.97 To find out more, Click Here……
If you are planning on raising your chicks from eggs then you will need an incubator of some kind. Fertile eggs should hatch approximately 21 days after the hen has begun to sit on them. You can leave them with your broody hen to hatch or you can incubate them yourself using an incubator.
1. Heat up Incubator
You will need to get your incubator ready by heating it up and making sure that the temp is at 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit before you put your eggs in. You can buy an incubator that does not require you to turn the eggs or you can buy
one that does require you to turn them. Some people prefer to turn them themselves so that they are more involved with the process and can keep an eye on the eggs.
2. Position the Eggs
An incubating egg should be set in a normal position as it would if you laid it on a flat surface. The large end should be slightly higher than the pointed end.
7. Hatched Chickens
To check if your chicken eggs are fertile or not, you can put them through a procedure called Candling. Candling is the process of shining a light through the egg to see if there is any sign of an embryo inside.
The fertility of eggs cannot be determined before you incubate them, so after 2 to 3 days in the incubator, you can candle white-shelled eggs to see if embryos have developed.
Eggs that are damaged do not hatch and often develop odors and they should be removed when found.
White-shelled eggs may be candled by placing a light bulb under a box. Make a hole slightly smaller in diameter than the egg through which light will pass. Place the egg over the hole, if a cloudy spot is observed, this can be assumed to be a growing embryo. If the contents of the egg allows light to pass uniformly through it you can assume that the egg is infertile. If an egg is candled at 7 days or older and is absolutely clear it is dead or was never fertile.
If you prefer you can buy a Candler, which is a sophisticated product specifically designed to show you if the eggs are fertile or not.
Here is an example of a Candler below:
If you are not a handy person and don’t want to build your own chicken coop, you may want to buy a pre-made chicken coop. When you add up the cost of materials and your time it often works out cheaper than designing and building your own. Most of the pre-made chicken coops available have everything that your chickens will need such as roosts and nesting boxes. They often have handy design features that you may not have thought of such as storage areas. These Coops below are a good cross section of what is currently available and offer good value.
Solid construction, weather resistant, predator proof. Provides a healthy, natural home for up to 3 laying hens or 5 bantams.
Solid construction, weather resistant, predator proof. Provides a healthy, natural home for up to 5 medium laying hens or 7 bantams. Flat-packed for easy shipping and simple assembly.
Constructed from top grade lumber with tongue and groove construction. Roof is constructed with waterproof shingles to withstand the elements. Two removable screened front panels and removable side wooden panel for easy access. Simple to assemble with all hardware included
Constructed from top grade lumber with tongue and groove construction. Roof is constructed with waterproof shingles to withstand the elements Covered porch provides a safe & secure “free range” environmentFeatures an attachable access ramp & convenient storage compartment
Constructed from top grade lumber with tongue and groove construction. Roof is constructed with waterproof shingles to withstand the elements. Features an attachable access ramp & convenient storage compartment. Designed to assemble easily with only a screwdriver.
The Eglu Go is the simple, stylish, straightforward way to start keeping chickens. It is designed for you to keep up to three medium chickens and they will be very happy and healthy in their new home. The Eglu Go comes complete with everything you need to get started. It has plastic roosting bars and a discreet nesting area which can be filled with straw or shredded paper. You can collect freshly laid eggs through the door at the back of the house
4′ x 6′ Chicken Coop Holds 12 – 15 Chickens. Ceiling height 59 inches and it sits 14 inches off the ground. Features include :6 Roomy Nesting Boxes and a Double Roost, Door Size: 18in x 49in. Asphalt Shingles, Keyed Entry Door, Chicken Door with Latches, Hinged Ventilation Lid, Glassboard Floor for an extra layer of protection to the floor surface and easier cleanout, 22 Slider Windows Chicken Ramp, 4×4 Pressure Treated Runner and Legs. You may also call for additional color combinations. Custom built for you by Amish Craftsmen.
Chickens have different nutritional needs at different stages of their lives. There are a few basic types of chicken feed. Mash which is grain based and ground into powder, pellets which are compressed mash made into pellets so that there is less waste, and crumbles which are pellets broken into pieces. There is also a whole grain feed called scratch which is a bit like a treat for the birds. If they have too much of this though they can get quite fat. Many people mix their own feed for their chickens but you do need to have a fair bit of knowledge to get this right. I would recommend that people just starting out with raising chickens should buy their chicken feed premixed.
Starter Feed for Chicks
From the time your chicks hatch until 6 weeks of age you will need to feed them chick starter mash with a protein level of 20 percent. It is important that you feed your baby chicks different food to your laying hens as the extra calcium that the older birds need for laying eggs is actually detrimental to baby chicks. So you will need to separate your chicks from the laying hens until they get old enough. Commercial suppliers provide starter feeds especially made for young chicks. These feeds will provide the chicks with all the minerals and vitamins that they require. Most people use a medicated feed for the first few weeks of a chicken’s life. This is to prevent Coccidiosis which is a parasite that chicks are particularly vulnerable to up until 18 weeks of age. A chick that is from an egg laying breed will eat about 2 pounds of starter feed in its first 6 weeks.
Chick Starter Feed
Once they turn six weeks of age you can start them on pullet grower feed which has only 14 to 17 percent protein. You feed them this until they reach twenty weeks old. You can then start supplementing the grower feed with grain. This will reduce the overall cost of rearing your chickens. Pullets may begin to receive grain as soon as they start eating growing feed. Corn, wheat, barley, oats, millet, grain sorghum, or combinations of these may be used. Begin with 10 pounds of grain for each 100 pounds of growing food. Increase the grain until they are getting equal parts of growing food and grain. It is at this point that you can also start introducing your pullets to vegetable scraps, garden weeds, grasses and any plant material. This also helps to reduce your costs and it is also a very important part of your hen’s diet. Vegetable peelings, stale bread, and leafy vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, turnips,broccolli etc are excellent sources. Avoid strong smelling vegetables such as onions or garlic unless you want onion or garlic flavored eggs. Don’t feed them food that is rotten as they can get food poisoning which can kill them very quickly. It is best to feed your scraps to your chickens daily.
Chickens eating Scraps
Chicken Food for Layers
When pullets are 18 to 20 weeks old, gradually withdraw the growing feed and replace with laying feed over those last two weeks. Layers need a quality balanced ration to maintain their egg production. If you are new to raising chickens then it is advisable to use a mixed feed purchased at a poultry feed store. This feed will ensure that your chickens are getting the nutrition that they need to produce eggs. Laying hens need a mixture with a 15 percent protein level with the vitamins and minerals blended into the commercial feed to complete their diet. This food can be supplemented with grain as before. Just make sure you do not feed too much grain as this can make your layers fat if you are feeding them both types of food.
There is growing evidence that supplementing your chicken’s food with grasses and other vegetable matter, will produce eggs with a higher ratio of omega three’s than those hens fed just on commercial food. We all know that the taste of eggs from chickens allowed access to weeds and grasses, insects and vegetable matter, is far superior to commercially grown eggs. Now we are starting to see evidence that eggs produced from chickens (who are allowed to eat the food that they would in the wild) are more nutritious and actually benefit your health.
If you can achieve it, give your chickens access to your yard for about 30 mins every day. If you let them out about half an hour before their roosting time at sunset you will not have to chase them back into their coop as they will go in by themselves. All you will have to do is shut the door. By limiting the time they have access to your garden, gives them less time to actually damage your plants. They are more likely to feed on grasses and insects in the time given to them. If you have plants that you don’t want damaged, put a bit of wire mesh around them to protect them.
Another way to ensure that your chickens get enough greens is to have a portable chicken coop that you can move around on your lawn. You have to move it quite a lot so you need to be prepared to do this but they will mow your lawn and keep the bugs out as they go. If none of this is practical, pulled up weeds and garden refuse plus scraps from your kitchen will still do the trick and give them that extra nutrition they need.
Layer Feed for Chickens
The design of your Chicken Coop is very important. There are so many styles and designs of chicken coops, it can all get very confusing. Do you buy one, and if you do what is a good design? If you make your own, how do you know you have everything you need to keep your chickens healthy. A good way to start is to make sure your chicken coop fits the basic principles outlined below. Whether it is the most luxurious or the most basic chicken coop you won’t go wrong if you follow these tips.
A chicken coop can be very simple as this mobile coop above.
If you don’t have much space then you need to restrict your flock to two or three chickens. Chickens need between one and two square foot each in their chicken coop and between two to four feet each in their chicken run.
Bantams need less space and the larger breeds need more, so the size of your hens does matter. If you don’t take this into consideration you risk your chickens getting diseases and fighting each other. If you can let your chickens roam during the day in a large enclosed area then all the better. Just make sure that they are locked up in their coop at night.
This is so important as chickens are extremely vulnerable to all types of predators. From dogs and cats to wild and feral animals that may live in your area, they will all love to get a hold of your chickens. Foxes especially love chickens and because they can climb fences, the coop must be completely enclosed and be secure along the bottom, so that predators cannot dig their way in.
Here is an example of a very secure chicken coop and run, totally enclosed with bird aviary wire.
3. Protection from heat and cold
If you live in a cold climate having insulation or a light may be required in your coop to keep your chickens warm. Recent studies have proven that chickens will lay much more consistently if they are kept warm than those who are not This may sound a bit too expensive for some people so a cheaper way to get around this is to buy a heap of straw bales amd when winter comes place these around the outside of your coop. This will prevent drafts and also insulate your coop really well. If you live in a hot climate your coop will benefit from being either shaded by a tree or by a building.
Fresh air is vital so along the top of your coop have a thin strip of bird wire that allows the coop to receive fresh air but not cause a direct draught onto your chickens. Do not have your vents down the bottom of your coop as they will create a draught directly onto your chickens. Toxic fumes can build up inside an unventilated chicken coop from the chicken manure so this is very important and is something that can often be overlooked.
This Chicken Coop has excellent ventilation at the top of the coop with bird wire making it secure.
If you are only going to have a few chickens and you have decided on a mobile chicken coop then the floor can be just the ground the coop is placed on. As you will be moving the coop around the chickens will be quite happy with the new grass they get every time they are moved. A dirt floor covered in straw or hay is also acceptable in a fixed coop but it has the disadvantage of allowing rats and mice in and can be difficult to keep clean. A concrete floor is the best and will keep out rodents and is easy to clean. Straw or hay is still a good idea to put on the floor as it soaks up the manure and apart from providing warmth the combination of straw and manure produces fantastic compost.
This fantastic chicken coop has a concrete floor, bricks around the bottom so no predators can dig their way in, great looking nesting boxes and a roost.
6. Nesting Boxes
Nesting Boxes for your Chicken Coop need to be at least a foot long by a foot deep. Wooden boxes are the best but they could also be made out of plastic if necessary. Place them at least a foot off the ground and if necessary have a wooden ramp so the chickens can get into them. To make it easy to collect the eggs you may want to make a box with a hinged lid that you can open from the outside of the coop. This means that you don’t have to go inside the coop to collect the eggs. This can save you a lot of time and means that your children can collect the eggs without letting the chickens out. Put some straw, hay, woodshavings or even shredded paper in the boxes so that the chickens are comfortable and the eggs don’t crack.
These nesting boxes have a hinged lid on the outside of the coop so that you can collect the eggs without going into the chicken coop.
Chickens roost at night so you need to provide them with a roost to sleep on. Roosts are best made of wood and can be made from small tree branches, wooden poles, dowel, or even an old wooden ladder. Just make sure that the chickens are able to hang on with their feet and that they can sit there comfortably. Metal roosts are not suitable as they can get freezing cold in winter and very hot in summer.
Automatic feeders are very handy, or you may choose to scatter the hens food daily in their run when you collect their eggs. This has its advantages as there is little waste. If you are going to buy an automatic feeder you may want to place it in the chicken coop to minimise rodents who will love to share your chickens food and also the local bird population who won’t be able to resist a free feed. For this reason I also like to use bird avairy wire rather than chicken wire as the aviary wire has much smaller holes and other birds won’t be able to get into your chicken coop. It is also good to hang your feeder from the ceiling about six inches from the ground. This also will reduce waste, discourage rodents and stop the chickens from scattering the food far and wide.
If you need a chicken feeder click on the link below.
The Automatic Feeder hangs from the ceiling.
Fresh water is vital for keeping your chickens healthy. They need their water checked daily especially in hot weather. You will need a bowl that is deep enough for the water not to heat up too quickly but shallow enough so that the chickens are able to reach it easily. It also has to be in something large enough so that they can’t tip it over. Having an automatic waterer is a good idea but you still need to regularly check that it is working properly and that your water source is reliable. Another hint if you are raising baby chicks. Their water bowl needs to be very shallow as they can drown if their bowl is too deep.
This automatic waterer has two nipples that release water when the chicken presses on it.
Your Chicken Coop should have a place for the birds to roost, good drainage, nesting boxes, a feeder, a waterer and enough space for the number of birds you are raising. You can have a permanent chicken coop. a mobile chicken coop, a premade chicken coop, a homemade chicken coop and they come in all shapes and sizes.
Having an Automatic Chicken Waterer is a must when you are raising chickens. Chickens need clean water, it is essential for their health and these waterers below guarantee that your chickens always have access to clean uncontaminated water. If you live in a cold climate a heated automatic waterer is also available.
This Automatic Waterer is very easy to fill and clean.
The edges are rolled for safety and feature arched inner handles for added strength. Brass valves and rubber seals produce a positive water shut off. Seams are constructed and tested to prevent leaks. Founts also feature a locking pin. Ingredients: Galvanized Steel.
Thermostatically controlled to operate only when necessary