Keeping chickens for their eggs is quite an enjoyable endeavor, but undoubtedly also provides owners with the means of making a great deal of profit. If you are considering raising egg-laying hens, you need to have a comprehensive plan which addresses the proper environment, quality of feeding and stress management, to ensure the best results of egg production.Prior to proceeding with a contingent plan, the fundamental facts should be understood regarding the laying of eggs. This can be impacted by several factors.
The leghorns breed are the first to start laying eggs, which is usually about 5 months. However, the bantams and silkies start laying in about 8 months. This knowledge will assist in the necessary preparations before the quantity of eggs starts to increase. It should be noted that hens which have just started, lay eggs in a haphazard manner, which usually progresses to a normal rhythm in a few days.
After about two years, commercial hens are usually replaced, however, some owners continue to keep the hens as pets, even as they approach the last stages of their lives. The hens are still capable of laying eggs in their later years, although at a little slower rate, so this will not pose a problem, and will eventually stop.
Owners need to be aware of the signs that are present when chickens stop laying eggs suddenly. This allows the owners to act accordingly, or let things take its natural course.
The process by which chickens shed their feathers is called molting, and this leads to them growing new ones. This process usually takes place during the autumn/fall season and lasts for about a month. Egg production will resume normality after the chickens have grown new feathers.
In the life cycle of a hen, there will come a time when it remains in its nest box and does not move around much. This is referred to as brooding, and during this time, the hen can stop laying eggs for a period of time. After about two to three weeks, the hen will snap out of its “catatonia” and commence the laying of eggs again.
The less stress the hen experiences, the better the eggs that are produced will be. The stress can affect the quantity of eggs produced, so a favorable environment can alleviate this problem, as well as the presence of constant companionship.
There is an internal mechanism within the hens, which enable them to keep themselves warm. This uses some energy which would otherwise have been used to lay eggs. It is recommended that a heat lamp is kept in the coop during the winter season, in order for the chickens to have the necessary energy required to lay eggs. As was discussed previously, as the chicken ages, egg production lessens, and will cease in its fifth year. If this occurs, the hens should be allowed to “retire” themselves, and enjoy the luxury of living for the remainder of their years with a happy disposition. Hey, its the least that we could do after all the egg production that they have facilitated!