How to increase eggs in backyard Chicken farming

Backyard Chicken farming

Rural poultry farming using native breeds is being practiced in many developing and underdeveloped countries throughout the world . Importance of native birds for rural economy is immense in different countries . Though these birds are being used for rural backyard poultry production, their genetic potential has not been fully exploited. Improvements of native breeds through selection are being carried out, but still it has to be given more importance in different countries of the world. 

Backyard farming has over the years contributed to a great extent to the agrarian economy of different countries. In the same way, rural backyard poultry production plays a vital role in the rapidly growing economy. It provides livelihood security to the family in addition to securing the availability of food. Unemployed youth and women can also earn an income through poultry farming. Indigenous breeds are well known for their tropical adaptability and disease resistance, while their plumage color helps in protecting themselves against predators. The first priority of today’s rural poultry farmer is not only having birds which lay just more eggs but also having birds which lay eggs with an optimum size as well as birds which grow to an optimum body weight with plumage color similar to indigenous birds. Producers thus have a choice out of a number of native breeds.

Backyard chicken farming


A hen lays only one egg in a day, and in some days it may not lay any egg at all. It totally depends on the hen’s reproductive system. A hen body start to form a new egg after it has laid the previous egg. It takes about 26 hours to form an egg fully, so mathematically a hen will lay its next egg two hours late each day, the reproductive system of a hen also sensitive to light exposure. So if a hen lays egg too late in a day it will skip the next day.

A flock of hens do not start laying on the same day. They also do not lay eggs for the same period of time. The time period that a hen will produce eggs varies from hen to hen. The egg level of egg production decreases each year and the size of the eggs increases. 

The number of eggs that a hen produces each year and the number of years that a hen produces eggs depends on some factors:

1. Management of pullets prior to point of lay

2. Breed

3. Light management

4. Space allowances

5. Nutrition

Factors that Affect Egg Production of Poultry

There are many factors that directly or in directly affects the egg production rate. To know these factors we need to do a research on the history of hens. The factors like aging, feed consumption, water, intensity and duration of light, diseases etc affects the production of eggs.

• Aging hens: Aging is a big problem in egg production. A hen can live many years and it lays eggs continuously for these years. But after a sudden period of time like 2 or 3 years it’s egg production rate significantly reduces. It actually depends on the quality of hens that you are raising. Good layers lay eggs continuously for about 50 to 60 weeks then it takes a break. This time period is called molt. Poor and older layers more often molt and lay eggs less continuously.

• Improper Nutrition: Chickens need a balanced diet with enough level of protein and calcium to continue the maximum egg production over a certain period of time. Improper nutrition can make the hens to stop laying eggs. Imbalanced level of protein, energy and calcium can drop the egg production. That’s why it is so important to supply a continuous balanced food to get a continuous supply of eggs.

Imbalanced food can cause many problems like ovi-ductal prolapse. It mainly occurs when the birds are too fat or the egg size is too large. Prolapse can cause permanent damage to the hens.

• Rejecting important food ingredients: Another important factor that makes you hens to lay eggs occasionally is the subtraction of important food ingredients.

o Salt: Every animal needs salt. If you subtract salt from the food list it will reduce the egg production rate. Most of the animal’s food contains salt in the form of sodium chloride. It doesn’t contain any iodine.

Sodium is an important nutrient which plays an important role in maintaining the body fluid volume, proper osmotic relation and blood ph. Chlorine is also an important ingredient. HCL which release from stomach helps to digest food. Chlorine also maintains the osmotic balance in body fluid.

o Calcium: The egg shell of hens is mainly composed of calcium carbonate. New hens need relatively a low amount of calcium at their growing period but when it start to lay eggs, it needs more calcium about four times relative to previous days. Inadequate calcium supply will lead to reduce egg production rate. Calcium can be supplied with the food. Limestone is a great source of calcium. You can mix it with the food you supply to your hens.

o Vitamin D: Vitamin D is needed for the absorption of calcium. If improper vitamin D is supplied with the food ingredient it will result in decreased egg production. Feed contains vitamin D in two forms D3 and D2. In birds D3 is more active than D2. So you have to supply vitamin D only in the form of D3.

o Protein: The requirement of protein is actually the requirement of amino acid which constitute the protein. There are about 22 types of amino acid in body protein and all of them are essential. Hens can’t produce all of them and also can’t produce enough to meet their requirement. So poultry farmers need to supply extra protein with the supplied food. The requirement of amino acid depends on the age, type and strain.

• Management mistakes: Improper management system can also reduce egg production. Some mistakes that the farmers often does are:

o Out of food is one of them. If you keep your hens out of food it will reduce its egg production. The reduction of egg production depends on the time without food. Make sure that your birds have enough supply of foods.

o Water is also an essential element. Water represents about 70% of body weight. Inadequate water supply can also reduce egg production. Birds are more sensitive to water than food.

o Daylight is also a great factor which controls the production of eggs. Hens need at least 14 hours of daylight. The intensity of light must be sufficient to increase egg production.

• Provide basic needs:

o Food: To keep your flocks body functioning properly you need to supply nutrient rice units each day, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. For the laying flocks it is essential to provide them with 16 to 18 percent protein and 3 % calcium with their daily food to keep them strong and for strong egg shell. Many of the poultry farmers try to save money by feeding household food scraps and scratch grains. It remarkably reduces the production of eggs.

o Water: A constant supply of fresh and clean water is needed for maximum egg production. Not only the hen’s body but also half of the eggs volume consists of water. If you fail to supply enough amount of fresh water, eggs production will be reduced. So you have to ensure that you have a reliable water source for both hot and dry period.

• Clean coops: Which raising system you are using doesn’t matter. The thing that really do matter is the environment where you raising your birds. You must avoid crowding and you must try to keep the environment as clean as possible. Our poultry battery cage with automatic manure cleaning system may help you to solve this problem. And you should not allow any visitors to your farm and if you need to make a visit you should take a shower before you visit. You should avoid clothing like baseball cap, shoes etc.

• Provide nest Boxes: To get eggs clean, nice and intact-you need to persuade your birds to lay eggs where you want. Don’t let them lay eggs in some corner of the coop. To do this job perfectly you can buy easy to clean nest boxes from any poultry supply companies or you can build one as like as you want. Place those boxes at least two feet off the ground and keep a layer of soft litter like non toxic wood shaving. But if you need a better way, we still think you should buy the poultry battery cage, the automatic egg collection system may necessary for a big chicken farm.

Egg eating is a common thing among the hungry chicken and one chicken can teach the other to do the same thing. So don’t let them grow this habit. Most of the chicken finishes laying eggs by 10 am so knowing the exact time you have to collect the eggs before a hungry hen attacks it.

• Set an artificial light source: Light is another good factor which controls the egg production. For maximum eggs production 14 hours of light is needed. Hens at winter season reduce their egg production due to insufficient of light and its intensity. But if you install an artificial light source in your farm and ensure 14 hours of light with sufficient intensity. You will be able to increase the eggs production rate.

• Clean the eggs: Frequent eggs collection with dry, clean, uncovered coops and nest box will last a long time keeping your bird’s eggs clean.

If the eggs are found to be clean you don’t need to wash it again, it will remove the invisible protective layer. If the amount of dirt is small, you can follow these:

o Dry clean the eggs with the help of fine grit sandpaper.

o You can use weight washing. But if you do it improperly bacteria can be sucked into the eggs.

o Do not store the eggs with odorous foods.

How to identify the laying hens?

To determine the hens which are laying eggs, first you have to know about the types of hens you are using it is important to determine the hens. In many breeds, the hens which are laying eggs have a large red combs and wattles. In other types of breed, the hens which are laying eggs have a normal combs and wattles but it becomes fade after the laying period. Hens like Plymouth Rocks and Rhode Island Reds have yellow pigment in their skin and it is a good indication to identify the laying cycle the hens are now. The hens lose the pigments in a specific order. First the color start to fade from the vent, then start to fade in face and last of all the feet.

There is another method of identifying the hens which are laying now is by evaluating the level of fat in the abdominal and abdomen capacity which can be measured by measuring the distance between the breast bones or between the pubic bones or by measuring the distance between the pubic bones and tip of the keel.

What are The Reasons for Hens to Stop Laying Eggs

There are many reasons which affect hens not to lay eggs. If your hens stop laying eggs you can ask the following question to find out the reasons.

1. Does your hens lay eggs for more than 10 month or more? If the answer is yes then remember that your hens are at the end of the laying cycle. Now it will stop eggs production and go through a molt. It will take a break and then it will start laying eggs again. But if your answer is no then make an investigation, there are something else which is causing the lack of production.

2. Are you supplying enough clean water? If the hens can’t drink, they will not eat. So you have to make sure that you have a good watering system for your hens. You have to keep your watering system operational. It can be a challenging task for you in winter season when the water becomes frozen. You can buy waterers which have attached heater. It will prevent water from being frozen. Problems can occur in summer too. The hens will stop drinking water if the temperature is too high.

3. Are the hens eating right feed? If your hens eat wrong food and if they don’t get enough feed. It will molt repeatedly and reduce the production of eggs.

4. Do you provide enough light? Light has a direct impact on egg production. If you don’t provide enough light, your hens will decrease the production rate. So, you have to provide sufficient light to increase production rate.

5. Do your hens are infected by parasites? Both internal and external parasite can affect the production rate. So you have to be careful.

There are many factors that can adversely affect egg production. Unraveling the cause of a sudden drop in egg production requires a thorough investigation into the history of the flock. Egg production can be affected by such factors as feed consumption (quality and quantity),water intake, intensity and duration of light received, parasite infestation, disease, and numerous management and environmental factors.

1- Nutrition and water

Laying chickens require a completely balanced diet to sustain maximum egg production over time. Inadequate nutrition can cause hens to stop laying. Inadequate levels of energy, protein or calcium can cause a drop in egg production. This is why it is so important to supply laying hens with a constant supply of nutritionally balanced layer food. Feeding whole grains, scratch feeds and table scraps will cause the birds diet to become imbalanced and inadequate.

2- High house temperatures

High environmental temperatures pose severe problems for all types of poultry. Feed consumption,egg production, egg size, and hatch-ability are all adversely affected under conditions of severe heat stress. Shade, ventilation, and a plentiful supply of cool water help reduce the adverse effects of heat stress.

3- Aging chickens

Keep chickens no more than 24 month for better eggs production, do not get romantically involved with your animals remember caring well for your chickens and keeping a distances.

4- Health, Health and Health.

Keeping chickens healthy is one of the most important things for egg production. Check for ticks, worms, or other things that could be affecting their health.

5- Light

Offering at least 14 hours of light everyday will help increase production.

The intensity of light should be sufficient to allow a person to read newsprint at bird level. The decreasing day length during the Fall and shorter day lengths in the Winter would be expected to cause a severe decline,or even cessation, in egg production unless supplemental light is provided. When production ceases, the birds may also undergo a feather molt. Hens exposed to only natural light would be expected to resume egg production in the Spring.

There are a variety of other problems which can cause an apparent drop in egg production.

They include:

  • Predators and snakes consuming the eggs.
  • Egg-eating by hens in the flock.
  • Excessive egg breakage.
  • Hens which are able to run free hiding the eggs instead of laying in nests

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