An excerpt from “5 steps to get the best eggs possible”
To keep its body functioning and to produce one of these self-contained, nutrient-rich units each day, it’s essential a laying hen receive a balanced diet with adequate levels of protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins and minerals.
For laying flocks older than 16 to 20 weeks, experts generally recommend a balanced layer ration containing 16- to 18-percent protein and approximately 3½-percent calcium to promote strong eggshells.
Many raisers also offer free-choice oyster shell for extra calcium in case their feed falls short of this important mineral. Calcium deficiency can result in thin-shelled eggs and leg problems. You may need to offer your birds the higher-protein feed during periods of peak egg production and when hot weather causes birds to eat less.
If you keep your flock confined, don’t forget to provide them with a source of insoluble grit to assist in grinding the feed in their gizzards. You’ll find oyster shell, grit, formulated layer rations and various types of feeders at your local feed store. Some even carry balanced, organic layer diets, if you prefer your flock dine on food free of antibiotics and grown in a sustainable fashion.
Laying chickens also require a constant supply of fresh, clean water. Not only does a chicken’s body use this life-sustaining liquid for numerous physiological functions, but water also comprises more than half of an egg’s volume. You must ensure your birds have a reliable water source during both hot and dry periods and freezing weather or their egg production will suffer.
5. Clean Eggs Well
Frequent egg collection coupled with clean, dry, uncrowded nest boxes and coops will go a long way toward keeping your flock’s eggs clean. Not only is a pristine, freshly laid egg a thing of beauty, but it can go right into a carton and into your fridge, no scrubbing required.
“If eggs are found clean, there’s no need to wash them since it would remove the bloom, or cuticle, which is the invisible, protective layer naturally found on eggs,” Jacob says.
But despite our best efforts, sometimes dirty eggs happen. With a small amount of dirt or droppings, you can:
- Dry clean the egg by buffing it off with some fine-grit sandpaper.
- Wet washing, although the normal procedure in commercial operations, can result in bacteria being sucked into the egg if done improperly (for example, in a cold bucket of water).
- Got some really filthy eggs? Toss them out to be on the safe side.
- As soon as you collect them, stash your fresh eggs small-side down in a dated egg carton in the refrigerator. Don’t store them with or near odorous foods like onions or fish. When cooking with raw eggs, be careful you don’t cross-contaminate other foods and always cook eggs thoroughly. Wash your hands well afterward with warm water and soap.
Logan Village Produce has a wide range of chicken feed, as well as shell grit and all kinds of feeders and water containers. We also supply cheap bedding for your nesting boxes.
Image courtesy of : Survivopedia.com