|Color me happy, there's enough this morning for an omelet.|
Just kidding. Kinda.
Lately, I've been racking my brain (and haunting the Backyard Chickens Forum) for new and better ideas to make the ladies lay more.
I will share my wealth of knowledge to anyone who gives a shit here.
*I have found that a couple things help chickens lay more eggs - both of which we have no control over - Sunlight and Heat. Sunlight + Heat = Eggs Galore. Winter is cold and rainy in Washington. So I'm already starting out at a deficit. It has been unseasonably warm these last two weeks and even though it still gets dark around 5:30 the ladies are laying almost once a day, compared to not at all during our cold snap. I think the warmth has more to do with it than light. I think when people put lights in their coops it really just warms it up enough to make the ladies wanna let go of their precious cargo.
*Speaking of that - people seem to swear by putting a heat lamp or other type of light in the coop. Turning it off by 9:00pm or so would be good. We don't want to torture the poor gals.
*Paint the inside of your coop yellow. Okay. Silly idea, right? I did this is in my last coop that was actually just a giant shed that I converted to a coop and the chickens I had then laid almost every day. A slight caveat - they were red stars as opposed to the hens I have now, and I gave them away halfway through the winter as I was pregnant and couldn't stand the smell of, well, anything, really.
*Do not change their feed. If you must change their feed, do so slowly, mixing new with old in ever increasing implements. Just like we do for our doggies.
*Clean water. Everyday, kind internet. Everyday. Pain in the ass it is, it really helps them stay healthy and ultimately lay more eggs.
*Keep them worm and parasite free. I use Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE) and sprinkle it into their feed. I also take a flour sifter and occasionally just douse them with it. DE is actually the crushed up exoskeletons of tiny organisms and acts kinda like a sword covered in salt - first it pierces the exoskeletons of parasites and skin of worms and then it drys them out. Pretty. Stinking. Cool.
*Be nice to them. I mean it. If your not going to raise them for fryers, just spoil the shit outta them. What else do you have going on? I think the niceness, treating them well, and being gentle is like cosmic egg karma. We send that positive JuJu out to the hens and they deposit eggs for omelets and cookies.
*Keep their coop dry and sweet smelling. Now. I admit that I fall off on this a little bit. I have to remind myself to clean the coop every week and sometimes it goes two weeks, b/c I just plain forget. Bad backyard chicken crazy. BAD.
Does anyone have any other good ideas or tricks they have learned to keep egg production up?