Chicken egg production rates depend both on the conditions in which it is contained and on the physiological characteristics of each species.
If suddenly the breeder started such a problem as a decrease in the level of egg laying in the winter, you should not despair - you can listen to the main tips for correcting the situation.
Microclimate of the chicken coop
In winter, it is important to maintain optimal levels of humidity and air temperature in the chicken coop. Due to the fact that most of the time birds spend indoors, care should be taken to ensure that the inside is regularly ventilated and heated.
Keep the air humidity at 50-60% and the temperature at least 8-12 degrees to ensure good conditions for laying eggs. It is important to regularly update the air in the chicken coop, without overcooling it at the same time. Ideally install ventilation to ensure good air exchange.
Walking chickens is not only for the sake of obtaining a sufficient number of eggs, but also so that in the spring you do not get a herd swam with fat. Indeed, obesity is a big problem that is not so easy to solve.
There are several tips for organizing bird walking in the winter:
- the air temperature in the street should not be below 8-10 degrees of frost;
- Do not let the birds out for a walk if there is rainfall or a strong wind blows;
- on the walking yard you need a bed of hay, sawdust or sand;
- must be present baths with sand or ash to prevent infection by parasites;
- to prevent frostbite of scallops and earrings, they are lubricated with petroleum jelly.
Layers are fed according to their mode. It is considered very bad if from time to time the birds begin to either overfeed or underfeed. As well as feed at different times of the day.
Chicken feed no more than 2-3 times a day. Moreover, three meals a day are necessary if it is not possible to often take chickens for a walk, in other cases, twice a day is enough.
In the absence of an established feeding regimen, chickens trample at the feeder in anticipation of when the owner will feed them. If feeding occurs stably at the same time, the hens quickly get used to it and come to the feeding place exactly on schedule.
The first feeding is carried out after the bird awakens, and in winter, with additional lighting, as soon as the light turns on.
In the morning, it’s more advisable to give a mash of boiled potatoes, various ground grains, crushed eggshells and bran, but in winter, give a little less mash.
In the evening, chickens are fed an hour before perching. Time is calculated so that the chickens have time to eat the norm set by them.
Follow the quality and norms of feeding the bird. The quantity and quality of eggs obtained from laying hens in most cases depends on this. To increase egg production in feed, the following main components are added:
- Minerals Mineral additives are mixed with grain or added to wet mixers. They contain fluorine, calcium and zinc. As such additives use salt, limestone, shells, feed chalk.
- Protein. Everyone knows that the bulk of the egg’s mass is protein. It is found in legumes, oilcake, milk and fishmeal.
- Carbohydrates. This is the main source of energy for the body. It is found in potatoes, cereals, vegetables and root crops.
- Vitamins They help maintain immunity and increase the activity of birds. The breeder can either mix special additives in the feed, or use greens, carrots or herbal flour.
The largest number of eggs in the end is obtained from the bird that received all the nutrients. For example, a chicken can carry up to 100 eggs on an unhealthy diet, but it will cost 500 grams of grain for each egg that it will lay, while on a good one - 250 grams. Plus, if an unhealthy diet is used, the eggs are small and less tasty. .
Feeding rates for birds are compiled based on actual or estimated productivity - the greater the egg production of chickens and their mass, the more feed goes to them for food.
Many factors influence the feeding standards, such as the level of productivity, the age of the bird and its weight, time of year and conditions of keeping - young individuals need more nutrients, and more food is needed in winter than in summer.
Read more about balanced feeding of laying hens - read here .
Considering that in winter the daylight hours are much shorter than in summer, the initial task of the breeder is to artificially increase it. For every 10-12 square meters of the chicken coop, there must be at least one lamp with a capacity of 100 watts. In industrial poultry farms, an established automatic lighting system is used for this.
It does not matter if the light turns on and off automatically or not. It is important to observe the rules for daylight hours and light intensity. In winter, chickens are provided with at least 12-14 hours of light so that they can normally carry.
However, do not go too far with daylight hours, as this can cause depletion and premature aging of layers.
Vitamin Supplements and Minerals
If the bird’s diet contains the right amount of minerals and nutrients, its health status and level of productivity will significantly improve. These vitamins and minerals include:
- Calcium is involved in the formation of eggshells. There is little calcium in the grain, so feed that contains minerals is added to the diet.
- Phosphorus is in sufficient quantities in the egg shell, but before you feed the bird, the shell must be washed, boiled, dried in the oven and grind. Also a valuable source is bone meal, which is made from bones, burning and pushing them.
- Chlorine and Sodium. Regular table salt is considered the best source of these elements. For feeding take only finely ground or dissolved in water salt. It affects the taste of feed, making it better, and increases appetite. But be careful, because in case of improper use, poisoning of pets is possible.
With the advent of autumn, poultry begins to change feathers, which is called periodic. At this time, there is a natural process of updating feathers in anticipation of winter. Natural molting takes more than 60 days, while forced molting is only 45-50. Among the advantages distinguish significant feed savings, improving the quality and weight of eggs, increasing the duration of egg production.
In order to stimulate forced molting, a whole range of activities is carried out, among which:
- change in diet;
- artificial starvation;
- change in daylight hours;
Forced molting begins and ends simultaneously at the whole herd. After these procedures, egg production first rapidly decreases, and then completely disappears.
To stimulate the rapid growth of a new pen, intensive feeding of chickens begins. As a result, a new period of egg production begins, which is characterized not only by an increase in egg mass, but also by an increase in hatchability and viability of the new generation.
Suitable age for laying eggs
Despite the fact that the life expectancy of chickens is from 12 to 14 years, the most active period of egg laying is a young age, up to a year. Fertile individuals can bring up to 300 eggs per year. After a year, egg production decreases on average by 10%, and disappears altogether after 5-7 years. There are periods of complete absence of egg production, which are called, as mentioned above, molting.
At large rural enterprises, chickens are kept exclusively for up to a year, just during its maximum egg production, and a year and a half are allowed to slaughter, because it makes no financial sense to keep a bird that brings a small number of eggs or does not carry them at all.
If the economy is smaller, then the owner can keep chickens until the age of 2 or even 3 years. However, then the chickens also go to slaughter, since after 3 years, egg production rates fall much more intensively than after a year.
As for the roosters, they are kept for no more than 4 years, while the period of their sexual activity lasts.
At a young age, hens carry small eggs, which are assigned a low grade (C2 and C3). But nevertheless, such eggs are considered the most useful.
Which breed to choose?
Often, it is worth taking measures to increase the level of egg laying even when arranging a chicken coop and choosing chickens. There are certain breeds that are considered very prolific:
- Leghorn broke the egg production record - 371 eggs per year. Reproductive age starts at 20 weeks. Of the minuses - they do not tolerate noise.
- Loman Brown is characterized by a high level of endurance to a cold climate, they have an impressive size, which at the end of the reproductive period makes them a good source of meat.
- Hysex is one of the Leggorn hybrids. Of the benefits:
- resistant to infectious diseases;
- tolerates low temperatures;
- not too demanding on the quality of the feed.
When choosing hens , one can be guided by the following criteria: the most egg-laying chickens have a small oval head, bright red earrings, a beak bent from below and a dense plumage.
Video Tips for Boosting Chickens
A video is presented to your attention, in which an experienced breeder shares his secrets on improving chicken egg production:
When using these tips for improving chicken egg production, keep in mind that they concern only healthy representatives, because there are reasons for the decrease in egg laying that are not related to the season change. And if the problems are related to diseases, then these recommendations will not help to solve the problem - then you will need to contact a veterinarian.