Hen Up® Articles

Three simple ways to help your ladies lay good eggs.

By Hen Up™

Maybe you first decided to get hens so you could enjoy fresh, yard-to-table eggs every morning. But before too long, they clucked their adorable, goofy way into your heart and became part of your family.

That said, you really love the eggs.

Beyond providing your backyard flock with a roof over their heads and plenty of TLC, what can you do to keep them healthy, happy and laying the best eggs possible? Here are three simple tips.

1. Make sure they eat complete

A hen’s job description is basically just “lay eggs,” and it’s a full-time gig. When it comes to making a positive impact on egg-laying, nothing’s more important than what they eat. Starting at 18 weeks of age, at least 90 percent of your flock’s diet should come from a high-quality layer food that provides balance nutrition, like Hen Up™ Layer Mash or Layer Crumbles.

They’re packed with essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals to keep your backyard brood’s feathers shiny and help them produce wholesome eggs. And they’ve got the recommended amounts of protein and calcium to help keep your hens healthy and laying eggs with strong shells.

The other 10 percent of a balanced biddy diet can come from supplements like Hen Up™ Scratch Grains, as well as some table scraps and oyster shells. Just take it easy on the treats, as that can have adverse effects on health and egg production.

2.Prevent crack-ups with an evening pick-up
It’s easy to get in the habit of only picking up eggs in the morning. But hens don’t lay eggs on a rigid schedule, and eggs can get dirty and cracked if they sit around too long, especially in high-traffic spots like the nests. Even microscopic cracks can let bacteria into an egg, which is no good if you plan to eat it.

Doing a second egg run in the evening to grab any that might’ve arrived during the day can help prevent cracks. You can even add an afternoon pick-up just to make sure. Cracked eggs can also be caused by poor diet, but if you’re following the first tip that shouldn’t be an issue.

3. Let there be more light
Hen Up™ Fun Fact: Human eyes have three types of cones that let us see red, green and blue. Chickens have these, plus two more that let them see the difference between violet and ultraviolet light. They crow early in the morning because they can see the sunrise before we can.

But the sun doesn’t just tell your hens that it’s time to wake up — it tells them it’s time to start layin’.

For peak egg production, hens need at least 16 hours of daylight, preferably more. And when the days get shorter in the fall and winter, they can stop laying eggs altogether without supplemental light.

The good news is that the solution is both simple and affordable: Just add one 25-watt incandescent bulb or a 3- to 9-watt LED bulb for every 100 square feet of space in your coop. Put the lights on an automatic timer to keep daylight and night hours consistent, which keeps your hens on a regular laying and sleeping schedule. Set the timer to add the extra light in the morning before the sun comes up. You don’t have to use the added lights year-around, but definitely have them ready in the early fall and keep them going until spring.
The right food, an extra egg pick-up, and a little more light should be all you need to help your backyard flock stay healthy, lay fresh, strong-shelled eggs on the regular and make you a proud chicken parent.

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