Backyard Chicken Seminar at Rieger Farms.
Consistent egg production is a sign of happy, healthy hens. Most hens will lay their first egg around 18 weeks of age and then lay an egg almost daily thereafter. In their first year, you can expect up to 250 eggs from high-producing, well-fed backyard chickens.
Overall, 80 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 the lay of your hens. Remember, most hens will naturally slow down in the fall and winter unless you add supplemental light for a consistent 16 hours of light per day. There’s nothing like the first egg happy dance. Around 18 weeks of age, you can switch to a complete layer feed and expect your first farm-fresh egg. Laying hens: How many eggs to expect production goals by laying hen age, starting with the highest production in year one and fewer eggs each year after. High-producing, well-fed backyard hens can lay up to 250 eggs per year. This is because it takes 24-26 hours to create each egg, and hens take a natural break each year for molting – often as days get shorter in the fall. How to race chickens, ...more
Three tips for molting chickens1. Pack the protein just like humans, birds need a different diet depending on their current activity or life stage. Protein is the key nutrient in a flock’s diet during molt. Feathers are made of 80-85 percent protein, whereas eggshells are primarily calcium.
When you notice your chickens losing feathers, switch to a complete feed with 20% protein, probiotics, prebiotics, and key vitamins and minerals. Purina® Flock Raiser® is a great option for molting chicken A high-protein complete feed can help hens channel nutrients into feather regrowth and get back to laying eggs. For organic flocks, try switching hens to Organic Starter-Grower when molting begins in order to maintain organic status and provide a higher level of nutrition for feather regrowth. 2. Keep stress low While on vacation, people generally want plenty of comfort and room to relax. It isn’t so different inside the coop during molt. Keep molting chickens comfortable by preventing stress. During molt, the area where the feather shaft meets the skin can be very sensitive, so reduce handling and provide plenty of clean bedding. Offer enough space for your birds to rest and relax in private. For each bird, four square feet inside the coop and 10 square feet outside of the coop can keep them comfortable. In addition, provide access to plenty of fresh, clean water and proper air ventilation. Hydration and ventilation can help keep the backyard coop spa-like for feather regrowth. Avoid introducing new flock members during this time, as adding in new friends and potentially re-shuffling the pecking order could add stress.
3. Transition back to layer feeding birds are ready to return from vacation and begin producing eggs, it’s time to adjust the nutrient profile to match their energy needs once again. When hens begin laying eggs, transition back to a complete layer feed that matches your goals. Gradually mix the complete layer feed with the high-protein feed over 7-10 days. This can help avoid digestive upsets and allows birds to get used to the taste and texture of their new feed.
WHITE Rieger Eggs are laid by white-feathered hens or other hens with white earlobes.
BROWN Rieger Eggs are laid by brown-feathered hens or other hens with brown earlobes