How to reap the most from layers

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In Summary The decision of what breed to rear is taken by the farmer and then the hatchery supplies chicks from birds bred for optimum egg production with known potentials. De-beaking should be done by qualified personnel. The lower beak should be longer to enable the hen ‘scoop’ feeds. At no time should photoperiod be reduced during lay. A word of caution though: too much light in a layers’ house may lead to vices such as cannibalism, aggression and even egg eating. Water is a critical but often overlooked nutrient. Birds and indeed all animals can survive longer without feed/food than without water. Photo credit: Daily Nation.

Last week, we shared information on the importance of proper brooding management in a poultry enterprise.

This week, we discuss laying hens. A farmer needs to understand flock production capabilities, how to budget for feeds for layers up until the point of lay, when to expect the first eggs, factors that may influence onset of lay, when to expect peak production, duration of lay and how to tell laying birds from those not laying, among others.

As a layer farmer, one has to understand all the variables that may affect egg production.

If you are rearing layers, or you aspire to, then lets journey through this piece together.
The number of eggs from a flock and months in lay depend on among others the following variables: the breed of birds, management of the pullets (young hens) before lay, light management, nutrition and space available for your layers.

Breed
The decision of what breed to rear is taken by the farmer and then the hatchery supplies chicks from birds bred for optimum egg production with known potentials.

Flock management determines when and if your hens reach their egg-laying potential.