Your laying hens will produce their maximum under proper conditions, care and management. Good housing, adequate nutritious feed, proper lighting, clean drinking water, taking good care etc. are considered as the best conditions for laying hens. By raising your backyard flock under proper conditions, they will reward you with fresh and wholesome eggs throughout the year. Healthy and happy hens produce high-quality and nutritious eggs. They also help you by controlling insects and pests from your backyard garden. Ideal conditions for laying hens also require a little more maintenance and safety along with feeding, watering and collecting eggs regularly. However, see the best conditions for laying hens to maximize their egg production and ensure good health.
Clean, comfortable and safe housing is required for your laying hens. A good housing not only keep your hens safe from predators and adverse weather but also help to keep them healthy, diseases free and productive. That not means, you need a mansion for raising laying hens. You just need a simple coop for your hens that can fulfill all their demands. A converted shed will work for raising your birds.
The coop must have to be tight enough for keeping the poultry equipment in and predators out. It has to be big enough for accommodating all your birds. Usually 4 square feet floor space is needed for each hen. So make the house according to the number of your hens. You also have to make a roosting place for your hens to sleep on at night and for roosting. You can easily set a roosting pole inside the coop by using a broom handle or a broken ladder. Use such materials for making litter, so that you can easily clean the house and floor. You can use shavings or straw for making litter and bedding for your laying hens. See ideal space for laying hens.
Food & Water
By providing quality nutritious layer feed and sufficient amount of clean drinking water, your laying hens will produce their maximum. Laying hens require more calcium, vitamin and protein enriched feed mixture. If required add extra vitamins and minerals to their regular feed. Calcium helps to make the egg shell strong. You can provide your hens supplement calcium by setting up a small container full with oyster shells. Also keep a container full with grit inside their coop. This will help them grinding up and digesting food, as they have no teeth. Along with providing commercially prepared layer feed, provide them some greens daily. Clean the feeders and waters on a regular basis. See what to feed laying hens.
Lighting & Nesting Boxes
Adequate number of nesting boxes is required for laying hens. Usually one nesting box is necessary for every 3 to 5 laying hens. Nesting boxes inside your chicken coop don’t have to be fancy and glorious. Just make it comfortable for your hens and place it in a calm and quiet place at any corner or side of your coop. If you don’t provide your hens adequate nesting boxes, they will start laying their eggs in a secluded spot and you may not find the eggs. Nesting boxes also help to keep the eggs clean and safe from predators. You can make nesting boxes for your laying hens by using your home used materials or wood. The nesting box must have to be at least 12 inches wide by 12 inches long by 12 inches high. You can also buy ready made nesting boxes which are available in the market for laying hens. Along with nesting boxes, sufficient amount of lighting period is very important for laying hens. Generally laying hens require 14 to 16 hours of lighting period for better production. So, use artificial lighting when days become shorter, especially in cold months. See effects of lighting on laying hens and lighting for laying hens.
Exercise & Fresh Air
You don’t need to have a large space for creating good exercising and fresh air facilities for your laying hens. Your small yard will work just fine for this purpose. Laying hens love to scratch around the garbage or dirt for bugs, seeds or other foods. Pastured hens which are allowed to browse, exercise and having natural diet outside, produce more healthier and nutritious eggs than the caged hens that are fed only commercial feed.
Stress & Health
Stress and poor health result minimum egg production. Excessive cold or heat temperature also affect egg production. A hawk hovering around the coop, can stress a hen so that she won’t lay eggs. Separate the sick hem from your flock. Because in most cases a sick hen can’t produce healthy eggs and she need treatment. If you spend some time monitoring your hens daily, you will be able to notice any unnatural activities in your flock and take necessary steps. Try to learn more about the signs of common illness in laying hens so that you can easily determine the problems with your flock. Generally you can determine whether your hens are healthy or not by trembling, observing the changes in feathers, skin, eyes or face.
These are the ideal conditions for laying hens. Try to raise your hens hygienically and always take good care of them. Feed them quality food, provide comfortable living environment and obviously spend some time observing the activities of your laying hens. God bless you!