There are many factors that can affect egg production in laying hens, including nutrition, daylight, and disease. These factors can determine the quantity and quality of the egg produced. Therefore, it is important that the cycle is very well managed to ensure maximum production and profitability. General factors that affect egg production in poultry are:
Food and water
Laying hens require access to a complete and balanced diet that includes energy, protein, and calcium. Table scraps are generally an inadequate source of nutrition for our hens and can affect their egg production. Food sold in pet stores contains mostly corn, which provides less than 10% protein, and table waste can be even lower, depending on what you eat. It is therefore advisable to always ask for a balanced feed for laying hens that ensures the correct nutrition of our birds.
Chickens in full production need 16% protein. Other nutrients like sodium, calcium, and vitamin D are also key components for chicken growth and egg development. Sodium is an important nutrient for reproductive performance. Calcium is important, especially during the initial egg production time due to its use in the development of eggshells.
Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium. Without it, calcium sources will be depleted and egg production will be reduced. Clean water is an important nutrient that is often overlooked. Laying hens need access to fresh, clean water at all times. Reduced water intake will also affect total feed intake.
Egg production from our hens generally begins in week 20 or 21. Production continues for just over a year. Egg size tends to increase from the beginning of laying to the end of the egg production cycle.
Egg production can reach a peak of 90% in the first 8 weeks and can decrease to 65% after 12 months of production.
Daylight stimulates the reproductive cycle of laying hens, increasing production when exposed to more light. Chickens tend to produce more eggs in the spring and summer months due to increased exposure to sunlight throughout the day. Commercial farmers can substitute artificial light for sunlight during the winter months to increase egg production. Things to consider when using artificial lighting are the types of bulbs (wattage and timers). Electricity bills will increase, so there must be an adequate increase in production to offset the additional cost.
Diseases in chickens can be a devastating factor not only for egg production but also for the health of the entire henhouse. Some of the most common diseases that laying hens face are fowl pox, coccidiosis, and infectious coryza.
Fowlpox is a viral infection that causes chickens to slow body growth and egg production. It causes sores and scabs on the skin and can be transmitted by mosquitoes or infected chickens.
Coccidiosis is a form of diarrhea that can be mild to severe. Vaccines and coccidiostats can be used as a prevention method.
Infectious bronchitis is a virus that can be prevented with disinfectants. This virus can affect egg production and can spread throughout the herd. It is very important to implement disease prevention programs for commercial poultry farms to keep chickens healthy and keep egg production levels high. Keeping your hens in a clean environment will prevent decreases in egg production.
Hens eat their eggs
Egg production can be reduced when eggs are chopped and eaten by chickens. Collecting eggs many times a day will help you keep eggs fresh. If you leave too many eggs in one NEST, they could break open and make the other eggs dirty.
Sometimes the eggs are accidentally broken and the hens eat them, that doesn’t make them egg eaters, but if (the chickens) break the eggs on purpose and eat them, they are egg eaters.
Vaccination and disease control
Diseases can cause high mortality in chickens, which can reduce egg production. Directly, some diseases and parasites can reduce the chicken’s ability to produce eggs. Vaccination is a way to prevent disease in poultry. The vaccines are administered to the chicken by injection, water intake, eye drops, and spray. Always keep the chicken coop and its surroundings clean to eliminate 90% of all diseases.
Some breeds of chickens are naturally more capable of producing more eggs than others. However, in poultry egg production, proper handling and feeding practices are more important in determining egg production.
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