Raising Chickens for Eggs

Information on Raising Chickens for Eggs

FAQ about Raising Chickens

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Question I have six young red production hens.  My husband is building a hen house and it should be operating by the end of this month. Where can I find egg lights to check for blood spots? When (at what age) can I start feeding the chicks apple cores and other vegetable clippings from my food preparations?  I appreciate any information you may have to help me succeed at this new adventure.

Answer I would recommend that you start feeding your chickens kitchen scraps when they are about 8 weeks old. Continue feeding them their normal commercial chicken food and start giving them small amounts of green vegetable scraps. Try to avoid bread at this stage as this might clog them up when they are small.

Gradually increase the amount and variety of scraps as they grow older and larger. As for Candlers, (egg lights) you can go to my website under the Incubator Category and you will find a Candler for sale there.

Here is the link http://www.raisingchickensforeggs.com/incubators/incubators Scroll down till you see the heading Candling and you will see an example of a Candler.  Click on the link and you can find more information on the product.

Question I bought  some chicks when they were 2 days old at my country store. I was told they are all female.  Do you think they know that for sure?  I will not be too popular in my neighborhood with a rooster. The hens will only deliver unfertilized eggs right?  Do I need the light if I already know they are infertile?  Maybe blood spots in the egg could be found before I open one up would be helpful to find with the light.  We have built a brood box for the little chix and my hubby is finishing up a portable run that should be ready in the next day or so.  Is that ok to let them be under that protection now as they are nearing a month old.  Will it be ok to let them be under that protection on the lawn? Thank you so much for helping us be successful egg producers.

Answer If your local store says they are all female I would believe them as the chicks can be sexed as it is called, when they are just born. When your hens get all their feathers you will be able to tell if you have a rooster in your flock and you can then give him away as unless you are going to breed chickens, having a rooster can get very noisy and your neighbors’ will not like it. If you don’t have a rooster then you will not get fertilized eggs and you will not get bloodspots in them. You therefore will not need to buy a light.

If you are going to put your chicks out on the lawn you must make sure that no predators can get to them . At their age they are vulnerable to hawks and other large birds taking them so make sure that your portable run has a wire roof so that nothing can get in there. They will love being on your lawn and will love to eat the tips of grasses. They make very good lawn mowers if you move their run around. As long as they have somewhere warm and protected to go to at night they should be fine.

 

Question I am have trouble with my hen having impacted eggs.  Lost two and now seem to have another sick one.  Looked close and do not see shell but she is sick. HELP

  Answer If your hen is egg bound-try the following A hen is said to be egg bound when she doesn’t lay her egg. This is a common condition, and may result from inflammation of the oviduct,malformed or double yolk er egg, or a too large an egg in a young pullet She will tend to stand all hunched up. She will be restless. Her vent will look quite red and protrude. She will drink & eat very little. Her oviduct may end up protruding due to excessive pushing by her to eject the egg; internal haemorrhage or exhaustion may occur and she may die. She may smell badly. She may have faecal matter that has built up behind the egg, if you see white liquid that will be her urates trying to pass (urine in chickens)

Sit her in a tub of warm soapy water Make sure the vent is submerged for about 30 minutes. This may seem like a long time, but you have to relax the vent area and make is easier for the egg to pass through, it really does help the hen, 85% of the time this will be all that you will need to do for her and the egg will pass out with a little push. You can rub some lubricant around the vent area if you think that may help too. KY jelly, petroleum jelly, Vaseline or Olive Oil all work fine .

Make sure you isolate her from the other hens, or they will peck at her vent causing more damage Put her into an isolation cage, put plenty of news paper down first and then put heated towels down. They will act like a heat pad for her, no drafts when she is wet or she will catch a chill. You can heat up towels in your microwave, it works well or a wheat heat pack is good too. Just put towels over it. Leave her for a little while to see if she passes the egg, if not, repeat the warm water and soap again Some people just use the heating pads, this sometimes seems to relax the muscles and allow the egg to slip out

If this doesn’t work, you may have to resort to removing the egg manually, which is not a pleasant task. You will need two people to do this. Using KY jelly, Petroleum jelly or Vaseline, insert your finger in the vent. With your other hand you can press gently on her abdomen moving the egg down the oviduct towards the cloaca. Once you can see the egg, if it won’t pass, then rupture the egg and gently remove all the shell Some people suggest using  a sharp instrument. I would not recommend this at all as it could result in causing the hen internal injuries. The shell of the egg will be very sharp when broken and could also damage the chicken internally.

Once you have broken the shell, you must make sure you remove every particle carefully. The cloaca should then be washed with a weak warm water/salt solution. This is to make sure all the egg contents and shell has been removed from inside the hen. If it isn’t it could cause bacteria to start growing inside her and then you’ve got an even bigger problem to solve Once the egg has ejected you will want to keep an eye on her for a while There may be another egg backed up in her oviduct system, especially if she lays an egg every day or every other day. If it has ruptured inside her, you should look for small pieces of shell, or evidence of any cuts around the vent area Be careful you don’t cut yourself or her.

 If you do find any cuts around her cloaca, rinse with hydrogen peroxide and watch her for listlessness, dull eyes, and signs of fever. Infection can come on pretty quickly. Keep a close eye on her, this could happen again to her and she will need immediate action to fix the problem

 

Question Hi, wondering if we need to give chicks any meds to keep them healthy?  Our water has some chlorine in it does that cause a problem?  Some animals are given antibiotics, is that necessary in a backyard environment?

  Answer You can buy feed that has medicine in it to prevemt diseases such as coccidiosis. This disease can wipe out your flock. However you don’t have to give your chicks feed with medicine in it and some people choose not to. It depends on how large your flock is and if your chicks have been exposed to the disease. I would ask the store you are buying your chick feed from. It may be in the food you are already giving them. As I said many people prefer not use any medicines until it is necessary (they get sick).

If you keep them in a clean environment with plenty of food and water and room to scratch around in you will generally be ok. If your water is fit for human consumption then it will be fine for your chickens. Chlorine in levels found in normal drinking water should not be a problem.

Question How long can we keep the fresh eggs before they need to be refrigerated and eaten before they go bad?

Answer I would put your fresh eggs straight in the refrigerator. They will last  a lot longer. Some chefs say that it is better to use eggs that are at room temperature but you can take out the eggs that you are going to use for cooking and let them warm to room temperature before you use them.

The USDA recommends a maximum of 5 weeks in your refrigerator before you discard your eggs. Eggs can remain edible for even longer than a month but the freshness of the egg with an egg yolk that sits firm and high, and a thick viscous egg white will be noticeably less after two weeks.

Here is a how to test for freshness: Get a bowl of cold water. Put the whole egg in the water. If it sinks to the bottom and lays on its side its fresh; if it floats to the top, it is old. You can see the age of it by how much it floats.

Eggs in a Basket

                          Lovely fresh eggs.

37 Comments

  1. Hi, I need help. I get about 20 eggs a day, collect them every 1-2 days. When I crack the eggs, some of them are beautiful, but some of them are watery. The yolk and white is just a mess with no solid form at all. Can anyone trouble shoot for me why?
    Thanks

  2. Can you tell me how to or how much of the chooks wing do i cut to stop it from flying. I don’t want to hurt them just stop them flying over the fences.

  3. My husband and I have been debating whether to raise our own chickens for a couple years now, and although we are leaning toward starting, I’ve been told by my sister who has been raising chickens for a few years now, that they only produce eggs for a few years and that then you have to either butcher them (which there’s no way I could do), or keep them as pets and keep adding more to keep production going.
    Is this true, and if so, any recommendations, cause I know we will get attatched.

  4. I have 6 hens about 30 weeks old 5 are dark in colour and 1 is light Isa Browns. The light one has been ostracised from the rest and when I approach the coop she hides and won’t come to collect the goodies I always bring from my vege patch. I think she is also the one who is not producing any eggs as I get 5 eggs every day. Will she ever produce and can I do anything about her situation.
    Also 2 days in a row I have 1 hen who has produced an egg with a very thin she’ll yet I give them all she’ll grit in their food weekly. Should I be worried about this hen

  5. I have three brown hens that I’ve had for a few months now. I want to know if there’s anything I need to do as far as cleaning them? or the coup area? The hen house has a removable pan that I clean of course. I have wood shavings on the ground inside it. Lots of it is now on the ground outside of it now too as they scratch it out, and the fenced in area has sand in one part. Don’t know how I would clean the ground. And do the chickens like to be in a shower or keep them dry and count on them cleaning themselves?

  6. I have 5 chicken. Today they laid 2 eggs which I think is good considering that one always lays a soft shell egg, one survived a raccoon attack and seldom lays. But I cooked a bad egg this morning. I think it was laid about 8 days ago. It really is discouraging. eek The chickens to me are better then their eggs. I enjoy them but I expect good tasting eggs and have no idea what has caused this.

  7. I recently started raising chickens for eggs. I have found that my eggs are watery when I try to fry them. they look cooked but when I cut into them a lot of water comes running out, like the white isn’ cooked. today I notice that my egg yolks are not gold but very light yellow. Any answers to my questions?

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  9. Thanks for all the great info about chickens. I am trying to figure this whole thing out before I take the leap and get some. I really am excited for fresh eggs! I live in Utah where we have pretty warm summers and a few months of snowy winters. Do you have any suggestions for over wintering? I have been thinking of building a tracktor so we can move it around the yard but I’m not sure if that’s the best option for winter. Any thoughts on that?
    Also, it would be awesome if the admin would delete all these spam comments so your readers don’t have to wade through them to get to the real comments, questions and admin answers. Thanks for a great site!!!

  10. Can you have baby chicks in a child pool with some kind of pet bedding inside it with a light food and water

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  17. I love to read blogs like this to learn more about raising chickens! I have 40 laying hens right now (my first batch), hatched on May 5, 2010. I live in southern Canada where temperatures frequently reach minus 25 C at night. The barn is well insulated and the chickens are well fed and comfortable. The inside temperature is usually around 50-60 F. Although I have read a lot about chickens slowing down with laying in the winter, I am happy to say that I am getting 40 eggs a day. Friends joke about the fact that I spoil my chickens by talking to them and having a radio in the barn (sometimes I also make them a vegetable stew). Whatever I’m doing right now seems to work!

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  31. hello, I have raised chickens for awhile now. And I am always learning new things. Today I got some older hens. I know that mites can get in their legs. But these ladies were really bad. Their combs are very pale. One hen on her underside it looked like xtra skin but very red. I have never seen anything like that. Another hen had what looked like a hernia but very scaly. I know where the birds originally came from and they are very good at taken care of the chicks they get. So I put alot of bag balm on their legs.. I think they were crowded in their old shed. Most of them as far as feathering they look good other than their legs & feet. I also bought some mite dust and put dusted them and my shed. If I remember correctly you can use vinegar to disinfect the shed. My shed is nothing fancy its basically plywood with a roof. Needs the ends enclosed at the top but they have lots of room. I can eventually let them out to run. If you have any ideas of their issues and what else I can do I sure would appreciate it..

  32. Every year as the days get shorter your hens will begin to molt. They stop laying for about 8 weeks as they grow new feathers. They then start laying again.

  33. We have 3 year old hens that have almost stopped laying eggs in the last few months. We feed them good organic layer food and lots of scraps and greens. Are they done laying for good or is there something we can do to help them lay again?

  34. Hi, i am a young teen and would like to start my own flock of chickens. my best friend has 7 and i have convinced my dad to let me begin my own little chicken family. the only problem is that we cannot find a coop suitable for us. i would like it to be quite roomy for easy access to cleaning and feeding and egg collecting of course, but do not want it to cost too much money. we have found one that we can build, but are not quite sure about it yet. plz give any suggestions you have to nice, coop for a young teen for easy access. thanks!

  35. I’ve had eight little ladies now for about 10 months. Two weeks ago they stopped laying eggs and I cannot figure out why. I’m not doing anything different than when they were laying. Any help will be appreciated. Maggie in Colorado

  36. Hi Janet
    The most common reasons for chickens to stop laying eggs are decreasing day length, disease, broodiness, poor nutrition, and stress. Moving them into a new environment 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. Make sure that you feed them layer pellets as this ensures they have the correct nutrition to lay eggs. If they don’t start laying after a couple of weeks then you may want to check out the other causes listed above that do affect egg production.

  37. My friend and I just got 11 “floor layers” from an organic farm. We’ve been told that they have been laying since January but the farmer was tired of collecting eggs from the floor, since the rest of his birds lay in nesting boxes. In three mornings we’ve only got one egg a morning. We are pretty sure it’s from the same chicken. Is this a normal reaction to being moved? I’ve had chickens before and I know they have eggs in production inside, so I don’t think they could hold them in for so long. They don’t have any signs of impaction, and that would seem unusual for 10 birds to be impacted at the same time. Maybe they are duds? Or roosters in disguise?

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