Know Your Egg Shed, Part II Egg Production

| 4/2/2013 2:38:50 PM

Tags: egg production, laying hens, family flocks, Pat Foreman,

Uncle Sam chicken posterI’m often amazed at the false expectations people have about a hen’s ability to lay eggs in family flocks. The two main false beliefs are:

1. Hens are regular egg machines providing consistent production year round — no matter what.

2. A hen that stops laying is done laying forever. For this, she is often prematurely sentenced to capital punishment; destined for the stewpot, or a one-way trip to freezer camp.

Chicken keepers need to know that there are many factors that affect a hen’s egg laying ability. Without this knowledge, many fine laying hens are put down too early in life.

The gold standard for egg laying are the high-production factory farm hens. These are bred to lay about an egg a day in their prime. But, unlike family flocks, commercial layers are kept in strictly controlled, indoor environments. They have constant access to feed and water and are forced into molting to control the timing of the replacement feathers. This gets all hens in sync for the second (and last) round of egg production. Commercial layers have a life expectancy of about 2 years before slaughter.

In backyard and truly free-ranging flocks (with access to grass sunlight and fresh air), hens usually do not produce eggs as consistently, or as abundantly as commercial birds. Some reasons are below.

Marcy McManaway
4/16/2013 11:24:00 PM

This is great information...People need to get back to nature...

4/7/2013 11:05:39 PM

Imagine that. There WAS a time when Uncle Sam 'expected' people to do their part(s). But now it's NOT about ask not what you country can do for you, it's ABOUT what people expect FROM the country / government! My, oh my, how we have changed in 60 or 70 years. It's a shame in my mind where we've gotten.

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