What Can You Feed Chickens to Make Them Lay Eggs?
Clicking on this link suggests you’re one of those farmers wondering what to feed their chickens to make them lay eggs.
I can understand how frustrating that could be.
But you just found the right piece that will answer that question and more.
It’s no longer news that one of the reasons why farmers keep chickens is for their eggs.
And if these egg-laying buddies are not fulfilling that expectation, it can be downright frustrating.
But if you actually think about it, the feed that the chickens eat contributes massively to their egg production.
In this piece, we have outlined the best food to feed you chickens that will make them lay eggs.
Also, we have penned down what to feed your chickens from chicks to egg-laying hens.
If that’s what you seek, keep reading!!!
Meanwhile, you might want to check out how to make your own organic feed for your chickens.
When do chickens start laying eggs?
Different breeds of chicken have varying ages when they start laying eggs.
Therefore, it wouldn’t be out of place to say that all hens lay eggs on their own schedule.
Some start laying as early as 16 weeks whereas some stay as long as 32 weeks.
Do layers require a special feed to make them lay eggs?
That’s actually why your layers are not laying more eggs.
For every phase of a chicken’s life, they require a type of feed else they will not grow and mature well.
In our article What do chickens eat, we explicitly stated the kind of feed chickens eat regardless of breed.
However, below, you will find out specifically what these birds need at each stage.
So about the layers, if you feed them the right kind of layer feed, they will be more productive in egg-laying.
What to feed your chickens from chicks to egg-laying hens.
After buying the chickens, (preferably either of the best chicken breeds for eggs) what next to do you do?
With the appropriate poultry farm equipment, you will have to settle them in and bring your poultry business plan to work.
Do you start feeding them just about any food?
Don’t even think about it!!!
Your new chickens will need to be fed with their kind of feed.
And subsequently, as they grow, the feeding pack and plan will have to change.
What you feed the chickens from small will either make them lay eggs or not.
Let’s take a look at which feeds are best for your chickens, according to their age.
0-8 weeks old: Starter feed for baby chicks
On arrival, feed the chicks the starter feed.
And follow through subsequently till they are about eight weeks old.
Starter feeds help the chicks establish and support their bone health and immunity.
Also, with this, it wouldn’t take a while and they go from chicks to pullets.
To decipher a good starter feed, it should contain proteins, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.
This is what you should feed your chickens at this stage to make them lay eggs in the long run.
8-16 weeks old: Grower feed for pullets
Once the chickens are eight weeks old, you can now call them pullets.
And in that regard, they need a change of diet.
So if you’re wondering what to feed the chickens at this stage to prepare or make them lay eggs in the long run, that’s the grower feed.
The grower feed helps the pullets develop healthily.
A good grower feed should be lower in lower protein content.
Also, calcium should be less than 1.25%.
It should also contain omega-3s and other essential nutrients to support digestion and health.
16+ Weeks: Layer Feed For Hens
Now, your chickens are at the stage where they lay the eggs for real.
A continuous supply of grower feeds will hamper or delay egg-laying.
Check out some of the reasons why your chickens are not laying eggs yet.
Also, you might want to find out when chickens start laying eggs regularly.
Away from that, what do you feed your chickens to make them lay eggs?
The feed you should feed your flocks should have high calcium and protein content.
This will help them lay strong and healthy eggs.
We recommend you switch to the layer feed at 16 weeks because most chicken breeds start laying at that time.
Kindly note that if you’re on the lookout for meat from the flock, their feed should have a higher protein content.
With this strategic feeding, you are sure to get some pretty good big eggs whether or not the chickens lay large eggs or not.
Treats to feed you chickens that will make them lay more eggs
We know the regular strategic feeding we listed above is enough to make the chickens lay eggs.
Supplementing their diet is also another way to feed the flock.
So, when considering what to feed your chickens to make them lay eggs, consider the following treats as supplements;
- Scratch Grains
- Cracked Corn
- Scrambled Eggs
- Sunflower Seeds
- Japanese Beetles
- Eggs and Eggshells
- Watermelon and Fruit
Table summarizing what you need to feed your egg-laying chickens to make them lay eggs.
|Feed||Protein level %||Age of birds||Feed intake per 10 birds per age period.|
|Chick starter||20-22||0-6 weeks||20-29 lb.|
|Pullet grower||14-16||6-20 weeks||120-130 lb.|
|Layer||15-18||20 weeks||18-24 lb./week|
What nutrients do I need to feed my chickens to make them lay eggs?
Proper nutrition is essential for the birds to lay eggs adequately.
For proper nutrition, you need to ensure the chickens eat a balanced diet.
A good quality feed for the layers should contain;
- Protein: Helps to maintain the energy levels. The feed should contain 16-20% of protein.
- Omega-3s: Very vital for more nutritious eggs.
- Prebiotics: Boost immune system.
- Probiotics: Boosts digestive health.
- Calcium: for strong shells and bones.
- Magnesium: for strong shells and bones.
If the chickens are supplied with feed rich in these nutrients, the birds will not just grow healthy, they will lay more eggs often.
So when considering what to feed chickens to make them lay eggs, ensure the feeds contain the above nutrients in the right proportion.
Does the chicken environment affect egg laying?
Yes, it does big time.
In fact, if the environment is not comfortable the chickens might not lay many eggs. Especially if the chickens are overcrowded.
Here’s some advice on how to create the circumstances for healthy laying hens;
1. First you have to maintain a healthy coop:
An unhealthy coop will make the birds vulnerable to pests, bacteria and chicken diseases.
And subsequently, they will contaminate their food which in turn will sicken the birds and lower egg yield.
2. Avoid Overcrowding:
Chickens who live in overcrowded pens will not lay many eggs.
These birds will have to struggle for everything, especially in the deep litter poultry housing system.
Therefore, regardless of what you feed the chickens to make them lay eggs, it may never be enough.
In that regard, we recommend the 0.4 sq. m per hen for free-range birds and 1 sq. m per hen for birds in confinement.
3. Regularly clean the coop:
Providing a healthy coop is a great start. However, you have to maintain the healthiness of the coop by deep-cleaning it every month or so.
Brush off all dirt and spray the environment with a bird-safe disinfectant spray.
Diluted white vinegar is a good spray.
4. Allow the chickens to roam sometimes:
In a bid to make the environment comfortable for the birds, leave them to roam for a couple of hours a day.
While doing this, ensure they are safe from any potential predators.
What you feed your birds will determine if they will lay eggs or not.
Remember garbage in, garbage out!
If you follow the instructions we gave on what you should feed your chickens to make them lay eggs, you will not just get eggs, you will have very nutritious eggs.
That’s a plus for all farmers!!!
- 8 Types of Chicken Poop: How to Identify Your Chicken Health From its Poop
- Chicken Mites: 6 Easy Ways to Get Rid of Mites on Chickens
- How to Construct a Good Poultry House
- 8 Major Chicken Diseases: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention Tips
- How to reduce poultry mortality and make more profits
- 8 Common Reasons for High Poultry Mortality and How to Stop it
Good advice I’m having layers at my backyard please send me more information about how to manage
Awesome… Please, stick around for more about poultry farming.
Thanks for these information
It really helped. But my question is that
how many bags of feed can a 500 birds (layer) consume in a day?
There are factors to consider such as the age of the birds, condition of the poultry house etc.