How much food per day should be given to laying hens?
Laying hens are quite unpretentious to the conditions of their breeding. Keeping them simpler and cheaper than broilers. Particular attention should be paid to proper feeding as a way to get really tasty and selected products. It is necessary to feed this type of poultry based on the breed, age, molting period, season. In any case, the diet should be balanced in terms of saturation with proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, and also quite plentiful, but not excessive. This article will discuss some of the subtleties of their feeding from birth and throughout the entire period of productivity that a farmer needs to know to get high-quality egg products.
How much food is needed per day for laying hens?
Laying hens should be given 3-4 times a day, and preferably always at the same time. In this case, the bird gets used to a certain routine, which has a positive effect on its productivity. For some breeds (P11, Island genus, Plymouthrock, New Hampshire, Welsumer, Australorp), you can spend days off from time to time, as these layers are more likely than others to gain excess weight, which is detrimental to egg production.Feeding rates are on average 120–170 g per chicken per day.
Important!It should be remembered that the drinking regime of birds of the egg direction is observed. High-producing chickens require more water than low-producing chickens. The daily water norm is 220 g. This indicator varies depending on the weight of the bird and the mineral composition of the feed (a diet rich in potassium, calcium and phosphorus salts, increases fluid intake).
|Diet component||Weight in grams|
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An ideal diet meets such requirements as:
- meeting the nutritional needs of laying hens;
- providing the necessary indicators of egg production;
- minimizing the budget and ensuring maximum profitability of egg production.
Immediately after the birth of the chicken, it enters a completely different habitat and begins to grow at a fast pace, so it is so important that the still not mature digestive system works smoothly. The intestines are just starting to adapt to the digestion of nutrients, and chickens should not be given coarse, hard-to-digest food.
Important! A common belief about the benefits of worms as a protein-rich live food is erroneous. In no case should chickens be given to eat worms, as they can become infected with helminths, which leads to a serious illness and even the death of a future laying hen. In addition, helminths can penetrate into egg production through the shell.
The first time a newborn needs to be fed (first of all, corn grits, and then boiled yolk mixed with semolina) 12 hours after hatching. Over the next week, feed every 2 hours, then reducing the frequency to 7 times a day. Gradually, fresh chopped nettles and green onions, grated boiled carrots and potatoes, wheat groats, as well as additives such as fish oil (0.1 g per day), bone meal, chalk are added to the diet. To ensure the norm of calcium, pureed cottage cheese and kefir are given.Drinking water should be warm (30 ° C), boiled. After a month and a half, whole grains can be included in the diet.From 3 months of age (but starting from more of a sufficient body weight than from age), chickens are transferred to a normal diet. At the same time, young animals are fed more often than adult chickens, 4–5 times a day.
Did you know? Chicks know the voices of their parents, remembering them in the first days of life, and respond only to the voice of the mother. At the same time, adults do not remember the voice of their chickens and rush to all the chicks at any squeak.
In the morning (the first time is quite early, at about 6 o’clock), the hens are fed small portions of sprouted wheat, mash mash of crushed grain (best on fish stock). Most of the food (60%) is given to hens in the afternoon, just as at this time the process of egg formation begins. At lunch and evening feeding, the bird should receive boiled vegetables, bran, mixed fodder, minced fish, meat waste and, of course, cereals.As for the latter, diversity is very important here. Different species should not be disturbed, it is better to offer something new to the layers every day: wheat, barley, oats, corn, triticale (wheat-rye mixture).
Did you know? The most egg-laying breed is broken brown. In a year they produce about 300-320 eggs, and quite large (up to 65 g). These birds are distinguished by a calm disposition, friendliness and stress resistance.
Features of feeding in the winter
The cold season is a difficult period for farmers. Short daylight hours, a decrease in the number of walks, and the absence of fresh greenery cannot but affect the productivity of laying hens. Dried nettles, vitamin hay from herbs (clover, alfalfa), brooms from linden leaves, and birch should be prepared in advance.In winter, it is recommended to include in the diet rowan berries and chopped needles, fish and meat and bone meal, as well as pumpkin and carrots, as a source of carotene, and beets (rich in nitrogen compounds). Do not forget about dairy products as a source of calcium. Be sure to stock up on pebbles of gravel, which contribute to the efficient digestion of feed.
Modern industry offers various additives, which are also actively used in the winter.
Vitamin top dressing for laying hens
The mineral and vitamin composition of the feed depends on its type, the type of soil on which it grows, the technology of cleaning and storage. Vitamins A, D, E, K and group B are of the greatest importance for egg productivity. Often in the diet of laying hens there is a deficiency of nutrients, which can be replenished with the help of special additives that are introduced into the body both in the form of injections and added to the feed and water. Vitamins usually account for 2-3% of the cost of the diet.The vitamin complexes “Microvit Blend”, “Village Plex”, “Ryabushka”, “Soitra” have proven themselves well. When choosing, you should pay attention to the packaging, which should indicate the purpose of this vitamin premix specifically for egg breeds of chickens.
Dry seaweed (to strengthen the shell) is given as additional additives, apple cider vinegar is added to drinking water (for general tone) and fish oil (as a source of vitamin D).
What is forbidden to feed laying hens?
Owners of small family farms and homestead farms often consider the omnivorous chicken to be a very good and beneficial quality for themselves. This bird (with the exception of some crosses, for example, the Hungarian giant and Hercules) is really unpretentious in nutrition as much as, for example, cattle, in particular, dairy cows. However, for the healthy growth of laying hens and obtaining high-quality egg products, you need to know what kind of food chicken is strictly forbidden to eat.
- milk (not digested properly due to the lack of the necessary enzymes and causes intestinal diseases);
- cheese, sausages, smoked fish (too fatty and salty foods);
- alcohol (the liver of hens is not able to process it);
- sweets (the pancreas of hens does not produce enough insulin);
- green potatoes (very toxic);
- fresh white bread (swells in the intestines, it is better to give dried, ideally black);
- a large number of apples and pears (hard to digest);
- too hard food (potato peeling, watermelon peel, citrus peel, large pieces of vegetables);
- stale, fermented, acidic foods;
- the remnants of the hosts' food (usually plentifully seasoned with spices and cooked in large quantities of oil, which is harmful to the digestion of laying hens).
Video: What not to feed chickens
In addition to the aforementioned need for compliance with the regime and the obligatory use of layers of fresh produce only, there are some more nuances and features that farmers should know:
- Feathers periodically drop their hens - the so-called molt. This process requires high energy costs, as it normally happens in late autumn, against the background of vitamin deficiency. During this period, special attention should be paid to the nutrition of laying hens and their receipt of all useful substances.
- Grass, leaves and conifers need to be collected away from highways polluted by harmful exhausts.
- Litter quality is critical to chick performance. Too wet litter is an excellent medium for the propagation of harmful bacteria. It is necessary to monitor the air humidity in the chicken coop, as well as the concentration of minerals in drinking water and feed (too much salt in the diet leads to excessive consumption of water and, as a result, liquid manure and poor sanitary conditions).
- Excess salt in the diet and water also negatively affects the quality of the eggshell, making it brittle.
- To get a yolk of bright, beautiful color, you need to add corn, flowers of marigolds and other yellow pigments of plant origin to the diet of birds.
Summing up, it should be noted that the content of laying hens has three fundamental points: comfortable temperature conditions, good illumination of the chicken coop and high-quality, well-chosen food. If you follow these fairly simple rules, you can achieve maximum egg production throughout the year.