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What You Need to Know : Chicken Egg Production and Egg Gathering

As you get started with your family flock, there are a few important facts and tips you need to know about chicken egg production and egg gathering.  Here is a helpful article from our Purina Mills Nutrition Experts.

"Healthy hens will begin laying eggs at about 18 to 20 weeks of age. Here are some quick facts and tips about egg production and gathering.

It is not necessary for a rooster to be present for egg laying to begin, but without a rooster, all eggs will be unfertilized.

Hens will be at peak production at about 30 weeks.

80 percent to 90 percent is considered excellent egg production (100 percent = 1 egg per hen, per day), but breed, housing, weather, management, parasite load and nutrition can all affect the rate of lay of your hens.

Eggs should be gathered three times daily, and even more often in hot weather.

Eggs for hatching should be stored at 55ºF and 70 to 75 percent humidity.

Eggs for eating should be refrigerated.

Eggs are laid with a protective coating, which helps keep bacteria out. It is best if this is not disturbed. Excessive washing can force bacteria through pores in the shell and into the egg, greatly reducing its chance for successful incubation and hatching. If washing is necessary, be gentle and quick, using water only. Be sure to use water that is warmer than the egg. Dry and cool the eggs as quickly as possible.

Frequent egg gathering serves two purposes. First, it helps keep the eggs cleaner by reducing exposure to environmental bacteria and potentially eliminating the need for washing. Second, it lessens the opportunity for hens to learn the bad habit of egg eating. This is when a hen finds a broken egg, tastes it, likes it and begins searching for other broken eggs, and then learns how to break them herself. Frequent egg gathering is your primary weapon against this behavioral problem."


Saturday, February 15, 2014/Author: Kristin O'Leary/Number of views (102449)/Comments (0)/
Categories: Family Flock
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Getting Started : Preparing a Space for Your Backyard Chickens

Are you thinking about raising chickens?  As you prepare, one of the most important things to consider is how and where you will house your chickens.  Here is a helpful article from Purina Mills on preparing your backyard for chickens.

"Raising chickens is a great experience for the whole family. One of the primary requirements is providing housing that is comfortable for your backyard flock. Young chicks can be raised in a variety of structures, but the area should be warm, dry and ventilated, but not drafty. Also make sure it is easy to clean. 
 
Warming:
  • Small numbers of chicks can be warmed adequately with heat lamps placed about 20 inches above the litter surface.
  • Bigger groups of birds in a large room, such as a shed or a garage, should have a supplemental heat source such as a brooder stove. 
Before you bring them home:
  • Several days in advance, thoroughly clean and disinfect the brooder house and any equipment the chicks will use. Doing this in advance will allow everything to dry completely. Dampness is a mortal enemy to chicks, resulting in chilling and encouraging disease such as coccidiosis (parasite infection).
  • When the premises are dry, place 4 to 6 inches of dry litter material (wood shavings or a commercial litter) on the floor. 
Feeders and Waterers
It’s important to ensure your chicks have access to fresh feed and water. Positioning the feeders and waterers along the edges of the comfort zone will:
  • Keep the water and feed from being overheated
  • Help keep water and feed cleaner (chicks milling and sleeping under the warmth source often scatter bedding and feces)
  • Encourage the chicks to move around and get exercise 
Saturday, February 15, 2014/Author: Kristin O'Leary/Number of views (101546)/Comments (0)/
Categories: Family Flock
Tags:
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