Raising chickens for eggs is one of the main reasons people raise chickens in the first place. Those who are new to raising chickens for eggs may not be aware of the special dietary needs of the hens. This lack of knowledge can have a profound effect on the quality and number of eggs that your hens lay. In this article, we are going to look at one of the most important issues when it comes to raising chickens for eggs.
Unless you are experienced in preparing your own chicken feed, you should purchase commercial chicken feed. When you visit the feed store you will see that there are many different types of chicken feed. Selecting the right one for your laying hens is important.
Among the types you will see are chick starter feed, adult feed, and feed specifically prepared for laying hens. Feed that is prepared for laying hens will have added calcium, and this is the feed you want to give to your hens.
By purchasing a good quality laying feed, you avoid all the confusion and headaches of trying to prepare your own feed. This is the best option for virtually all owners, and especially good for those new to raising laying hens
As you shop for your laying hen feed, you will also notice that many brands are labeled as “Complete”. This labeling ensures that the remainder of the feed is developed with all of the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that your hens will need.
You may not know it, but the shell of an average egg is nearly ninety-five percent calcium carbonate. This is the main reason your laying hens need that extra calcium in their daily diet. Hens that do not receive this calcium boost will often lay eggs with weak shells and weak chicks inside those shells.
But other problems can arise as well. For instance, a hen that did not get enough calcium may discharge the embryo without any shell at all.
Another issue to consider when raising chickens for eggs is the age of the hen. As your hen ages, she will produce fewer eggs. This is simply nature taking its course. Also, your hen may lay fewer eggs during the hot summer days and during the very cold winter days. Again, this is natural and should not cause alarm.
Some experienced growers who are raising chickens for eggs set up feeding stations that contain ground up oyster shell or special limestone preparations to help get the calcium into the hens. If you buy a good quality chicken feed, you do not have to do this as the feed will have everything you need already in it.