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Egg Laying – Why Your Chicken Won’t Lay Eggs

If you have a laying chicken and she has stopped laying eggs, you may be wondering why? There are many reasons why chickens lay eggs and some of them may not seem logical to the novice chicken owner. Understanding why your chicken isn’t laying eggs can save you frustration and help you get her back into her egg-laying routine as soon as possible! Here are several reasons why your chicken won’t lay eggs!



What Do Chickens Need to Lay Eggs?


Chickens need two things to lay eggs: food and light. The amount of food a chicken eats has a direct impact on how much energy it has, which in turn affects how often it lays eggs. A hen that isn’t getting enough to eat will either stop laying eggs or start eating them—which is essentially cannibalism. That’s why chickens always need a plentiful supply of both food and water at all times! Chickens also require light to lay eggs; they can’t do it in total darkness (it makes them depressed). Providing bright light in your chicken coop will encourage her to lay as many eggs as she can before winter arrives.



What Makes a Good Mother Hen?


If a hen is supposed to lay eggs, why won’t it? There could be several reasons. If a hen is meant to hatch chicks, but you don’t want any in your flock, then you need to make sure that there aren’t any eggs for it to hatch. Sometimes, if an egg gets too cold or too hot or even dirty and misshapen, it can take a long time for it to hatch and give your mother hen nothing but heartbreak. If your chickens aren’t laying eggs at all, then something may be medically wrong with them. Have them checked out by an expert from your area who can tell you if they are ill or simply no longer fertile.



What Should I Know About My Hen Before Buying One?


When purchasing a chicken, look for one that is alert and active. Pick it up to check its weight; if you can comfortably hold it in your hand, it’s a good weight. The plumage should be soft, smooth, sleek, and shiny. If there are bare patches or broken feathers, he might not be healthy or happy. And while they come in all colors (except blue), white chickens tend to have better egg-laying abilities than other colors because they have no pigmentation problems like yellow skin that can cause issues with egg development.



How Often Should My Chickens Lay Eggs?



If you’ve just gotten chicks and are wondering when to expect them to start laying eggs, it might take anywhere from 6 months up to a year for your chickens to start producing. Unless your hens were very young when you got them, you probably won’t see an egg in their first few months. Don’t worry if they’re not laying right away; regular egg production can be expected by around 18 months (though your chickens may start earlier). Once they do start laying, keep in mind that they should lay 1-2 eggs a week.



When Should I Stop Feeding My Chickens Treats?


Feeding a treat to your chickens now and then is fine. If your chickens are used to eating treats, they won’t get fat, but they also won’t lay as many eggs either. So think of treats as a fun thing that makes your chickens happy and improves their lives, but not a means of getting more eggs. When it comes time to cut back on treats in preparation for winter egg laying, try cutting out all treats except greens first, then only feed one treat a day for a week or two, and then stop giving them all together (or at least stop giving them any commercial treats). This way you don’t shock your chicken’s system.



Are Those Brown Or Gray Spots on My Eggs Safe To Eat?


There are times when brown or gray spots appear on eggs. These spots will not harm you, but they can indicate a health problem in your hens. When there is a drop in calcium in a hen’s diet, her reproductive tract becomes weak and eggshell formation is impaired. The shells of these eggs may have brown or gray spots on them as well. This condition is called internal caking, and it occurs most often when a chicken has been molted.



Is There Anything I Can Do To Help My Hen Start Laying Again?


To encourage egg-laying, your chickens will need an appropriate nest box. Ideally, each chicken should have its nest box. Place nest boxes well away from heaters, because chickens are attracted to warm areas in winter and will want to roost near heaters rather than using their nest boxes. You’ll also want to place them somewhere quiet, where there is less chance of an egg being accidentally broken by a hen crowding in with another for warmth or shelter. Having too many hens sharing one nest box can cause fighting and eggs getting trampled. The recommended ratio is one per four hens.



Where Should I Place The Nest Boxes In My Coop, And Which One Goes To Which Hen?


The best place to put your nest boxes is in a quiet corner of your coop. Place them a foot off of the floor and about two feet away from the walls so that eggs don’t roll out. Make sure that there are no sharp edges for egg shells to crack on, and make sure to install your nest boxes before bringing your hens home. The first thing chickens do when they are introduced into their new homes is looking for somewhere quiet to lay their eggs, so you want it up and ready for them.



Should I Use Sand Or Gravel As Bedding For The Nest Boxes?



When choosing a substrate to line your chicken’s nest box, there are two main choices: Sand or gravel. Each has its benefits and drawbacks when it comes to use as chicken bedding material. Here is some information on both sand and gravel so that you can make an informed decision about which one to use in your coop.



How Many Times Does A Hen Typically Lay In One Day, And How Long Between Each Egg Layer Cycle?


A typical chicken lays eggs 3 to 4 times per week, with an egg-laying cycle of about 27 hours. This means she will have 2 or 3 long days where she will lay anywhere from 8 to 10 eggs in a row. Then her egg-laying period is over and she won’t lay another egg for a few days until her next egg-laying cycle begins again. The number of eggs you get depends on how many chickens you have, how old they are, and their breed. A flock that contains many young pullets (young hens) may produce more than one dozen eggs in one day; whereas a flock containing only mature hens may only produce between six and eight dozen per day.



What Do Chickens Need to Go Broody (Start Sitting On The Nest and Not Getting Up Until They Hatch)?


The best way to get your chicken to go broody (start sitting on eggs and not getting up) is to purchase a chick with good brooding potential. The best way to find out if a chicken has good broodiness potential is by looking at its lineage and pedigree. No matter how much training you do, chickens will only go broody when they want to start sitting on eggs… which means some chickens never go broody no matter what you do. By buying chickens with broodiness potential in their bloodline, you can increase your odds of success exponentially. Broodiness is heavily influenced by genetics, so it makes sense that hens purchased from breeders who specialize in breeding broody birds are more likely to be successful when they are trained to sit on nests! It’s also important to note that chickens need to have enough room in their coop for them to feel comfortable going broody.



What Signs Do I Watch Out For That Indicate My Hen Is Trying To Go Broody, But Isn’t Managing It Properly Due To Inclement Weather, Lack Of Good Nest Material, Etc.?



The most common way a hen tries to go broody is by climbing onto a nest box perch and hunkering down there. If you check on her in an hour or two, she’ll still be there. She might move around occasionally but will return to her brood patch within 10 minutes of being disturbed. It can be hard to tell if she’s actually going broody or just ignoring you in an attempt to appear broody, so watch for these other signs There are no eggs under her: This means that she hasn’t been off egg-laying duty long enough to lay one. You should see at least one egg underneath her if she has been broody for more than a few hours.

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Farm Ranch

Chicken Math: Which Breeds Lay the Most Eggs?

You’ve got your chickens and your coop, but now you have to determine which chicken breeds lay the most eggs, right? The answer isn’t always as cut-and-dried as you might think! When looking at egg production, there are three major factors to consider: the weight of the chicken, its feed conversion rate (how many pounds of feed it takes to produce one pound of weight gain), and how long it takes them to reach maturity. Here’s an overview of some chicken breeds that fit each category, along with some specifics on their egg-laying prowess.



How many eggs do chickens lay a year?


As you can imagine, there are tons of chicken breeds out there. Each one has unique characteristics that make it more suited to certain people and situations than others. For example, if you’re looking for a bird that is relatively quiet and easy to keep indoors, an ornamental breed might be better for you than an industrious dual-purpose breed—and vice versa. Just like humans, chickens can be roughly broken into two categories: those that lay lots of eggs and those that don’t. Here are six tips for choosing a chicken breed (or breeds) on which to focus your efforts!

  1. Consider Size and Temperament: When considering how many eggs your flock will produce, consider both size and temperament. You want birds that are large enough to produce a lot of eggs without being so large they won’t fit in your coop or space. On average, bantam hens tend to lay fewer eggs per year than standard-sized hens because they have smaller bodies; however, bantams also tend to have less meat on their bones so they may not be worth keeping if you plan to eat them later in life.
  2. Choose Dual-Purpose Breeds: If you’re interested in raising your food, choose a breed known as dual purpose. These birds aren’t great egg layers but they do provide plenty of meat at maturity. The best dual-purpose breeds are generally hardy and active with strong constitutions; some common examples include Plymouth Rocks, Rhode Island Reds, and Wyandottes.
  3. Choose Ornamental Birds: If all you care about is looks, pick an ornamental chicken breed such as Silkies or Polish fowls. They aren’t great egg layers but these fancy fowls certainly look good sitting around your yard or garden!
  4. Know Your Flock’s True Potential: One thing to keep in mind when trying to figure out how many eggs your flock will lay is that every chicken is different. Some breeds, such as Leghorns, are known for producing large numbers of eggs but even within a single breed, there can be considerable variation from hen to hen. A good rule of thumb is to expect somewhere between 200 and 300 eggs per year from a healthy hen under optimal conditions; some hens might produce much more while others might only produce 100 or less.
  5. Keep Track Over Time: Once you have chosen your ideal chicken breed(s), start tracking how well each individual performs over time by recording daily egg production. This way, you’ll know exactly what to expect from your flock and you’ll be able to identify any problems early.
  6. Add More Hens: If you’d like to increase the number of eggs your current flock lays, add more hens!



Factors affecting egg-laying – Feed, Light, Age



The age of your flock is important in determining how many eggs they will lay. For hens, egg laying starts to taper off once they hit about 3 years old, and for roosters, it’s usually around 6 or 7 years old. The quality of food you feed your chickens also affects how much they produce. A study done at North Carolina State University found that feeding a diet rich in protein and low in fat can increase egg output by up to 25%. Additionally, if you’re raising hens outside, under direct sunlight; on cloudy days versus full sun; or nights when there are fewer hours of light—all affect their ability to lay eggs.



Feed conversion ratio – how much feed it takes to make an egg


Every chicken breed is different. Some of them have to eat a lot more than others before they can produce an egg. This is what’s called their Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR). It’s how much feed they need to eat to produce one unit of product (e.g., one egg). The lower your FCR, and hence better at converting food into eggs or meat, you are! But that’s not all! Hens with a low FCR also tend to be productive and hens with high FCR aren’t as good for their production levels given their diet.



How long does it take until chickens start laying eggs?


It’s not uncommon for beginners to be surprised at how long it takes their chickens to start laying eggs. Some chickens will take a few months before they begin laying, while others may take up to a year. What determines when your chickens start laying eggs is a combination of factors, including genetics and environment. Understanding how these factors contribute to egg-laying helps you develop realistic expectations about what you’re getting into and why some flocks might take longer than others.



Backyard chicken breeds chart



The first thing you have to do is decide how many eggs you want from your hens. Do you want a dozen eggs a week? A dozen every other day? A half-dozen per week, or maybe just one egg at a time as part of your morning routine. It’s also important to consider whether you’ll be saving money by raising chickens yourself instead of buying them from a grocery store. You can check out our chart for an overview of egg-laying potential, but keep in mind that individual results will vary based on climate, weather, and care provided. For example, if you live in a warm climate with little seasonal variation, your birds might not lay as much during winter months when they’re less likely to be outside. Conversely, if you live somewhere like Alaska where there are more than 200 days of sunlight each year, your flock may produce significantly more eggs than those raised in areas with fewer hours of daylight. And finally, remember that most breeds are seasonal layers; some produce more eggs during spring and summer while others give their all in autumn and winter. These factors combined mean that even within a given breed, individual results can vary widely. So it’s important to think about what kind of eggs you want and when you want them before deciding which breed is best for your situation.


               Breeds                           eggs per year
Hybrid / Golden Comet  lay about 280 medium-sized brown-colored eggs/ year.
Barred Plymouth Rock  lay about 280 eggs/year.
Rhode Island Reds  lay about 250 medium brown eggs/year.
Delaware  lay more than 250 eggs/ year
Leghorn  lay about 250 medium white eggs/ year.
Marans  lay about 200 medium-sized eggs / year.
Light Sussex  lay about 200 eggs/year.
Buff Orpington  lay about 180 regular-sized and white eggs/ year.


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Farm Ranch

Your Checklist for Successfully Selecting the Right Sheep for Breeding

If you’re planning on breeding your sheep, the first and most important step to ensure success is to determine if they are physically well-suited for the task of carrying and birthing lambs. The following checklist will help you evaluate whether or not your candidate sheep have what it takes. For more info please read: The Complete Sheep Breeding Guide



Eye Color


People often talk about sheep breeds with expressive eyes. There are many breeds of sheep with beautiful, shiny eyes. However, not all eye colors are suitable for shepherding or breeding. A good breeder will look at more than just eye color when selecting a sheep to breed. Eye color is important because it helps you determine what type of wool your sheep might produce and how much care your new lamb will need when it’s born. If your goal is to raise lambs that will make high-quality wool or other goods, you’ll want to take a close look at both their father’s and mother’s eye color before deciding on a mate. The color of a ram’s eyes can tell you whether he will pass along certain traits to his offspring, such as susceptibility to certain diseases.



Body Size



When it comes to sheep, bigger isn’t always better. Large and particularly large rams can potentially be too aggressive when it comes to breeding with ewes and smaller rams, on average, have a harder time mounting their female counterparts. As such, you should avoid any sheep that appear overly aggressive or seem unable to breed effectively with other sheep of a similar size. This won’t necessarily apply in all situations but is worth keeping in mind as a potential warning sign if you’re considering adding one of these individuals to your flock. Body size itself can be difficult to determine without actually handling an animal so keep an eye out for changes in behavior among your existing flock that may provide clues as to their sizes.



Coat Color


If you’re going to breed your sheep, you need to know how to properly identify coat color. It is important to select a sheep based on its genetics, not just its appearance. You also want to avoid mating two related sheep, since that will lower their genetic diversity and weaken them genetically as a whole. The following visual checklist can help you properly assess coat color in your potential breeding stock.



Coat Quality


Just like with people, it’s not always easy to tell if a sheep is healthy just by looking at it. A thick coat can mask a variety of problems (or prevent you from seeing those problems in the first place) so make sure to perform a quality check. Grab your hand and run it along an area of hair that has plenty of room between it and another body part; feel any bumps or lumps? If so, there could be something wrong. For example, some lumps may indicate parasites (ticks or mites), which can transmit the infection to other animals as well as humans who handle infected animals directly. To find out whether parasites are present, consult a veterinarian; aside from being potentially dangerous on their own, parasites are usually indicative of poor animal health overall. In addition, look for signs of baldness or patches where fur should be. These can indicate ringworm, mange, fleas, or other skin-related issues.



Early Growth and Development



At birth, ewes should weigh a minimum of 40 pounds. Newborn lambs should be able to stand and nurse within 15 minutes after birth. Both ewes and their newborn lambs should be examined immediately after birthing for any evidence of birthing complications or malpositioning. In some cases, ewes will need assistance in giving birth, especially when delivering large twin lambs; such assistance may come in the form of using your hands to help push out a stuck lamb or using instruments such as forceps to safely remove twins from their mother’s uterus. Make sure that both you and your ewe have latex gloves on before attempting to assist her with birthing. Lambs should nurse within 30 minutes after birth and drink at least two liters of colostrum (the first milk produced by ewes) during their first 24 hours. Afterward, they can begin eating grass hay.

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Farm Ranch

The Checklist You Need for Visual Appraisal of Cows

How to tell if cows are in heat or not can seem tricky at first, but it’s quite simple and easy to tell. If you’re wondering how to tell if cows are in heat and ready to be bred, this visual appraisal checklist will help you quickly evaluate whether your cow needs the bull or not. This visual appraisal checklist covers all of the common signs of estrous (heat) in cattle, from vulva positioning and discharge color to ear position and overall body condition.



How to Do a Visual Inspection



Once you’ve got yourself a visual appraisal checklist, it’s time to start doing some cow inspections. If you’re buying your first few cows and you want to go at it alone, a good method is to head out with another person (who has a lot more experience than you do) and let them take notes while they watch you as well. By dividing and conquering, they can focus on important points while you get used to using your judgment; all in all, that’s how we learned best when starting. The key thing to remember here is that no two cows are alike, so don’t be too hard on yourself if things don’t look like what you expected or if you make mistakes.





Have you brushed up on your cow’s cleanliness? Proper hygiene is crucial to a healthy pregnancy. Regular bathing is necessary (two times per week in warmer months and once per week in colder months) but so are regular hoof trimmings and tooth brushing. And while you’re there, be sure to check how much cow spit-up you have to deal with; any discharge that contains red streaks warrants a closer inspection. Speaking of close inspections: It’s also vital that both eyes are free of mucus or discharge as well as ears are cleaned weekly. While it’s not a major turnoff if your bovine has some freckles, they should be kept to a minimum on its belly and hind quarters.





The perfect cow is calm, complacent, and in an overall good mood. If a cow’s attitude is wrong, then other aspects of its anatomy and genetic makeup are likely to be substandard as well. Attitude is very important in cattle, just like it is with people. There’s no point in buying a physically flawless animal if it isn’t going to produce quality offspring because it doesn’t get along with others. Pay attention to how your potential buy acts around people and other animals when you’re at auction or out on farms looking at livestock. If a cow seems nervous or timid around humans but seems comfortable among its peers and cattle handlers, that should raise some red flags about why that might be so.



Body Condition



Our first and most important assessment is body condition score, or how fat or thin your cow is. A fat cow will produce a lot more milk than a thin one and can even develop health problems because her body isn’t designed to carry so much extra weight. We like to check our cows every six weeks by looking at their ribcage, back, and hip bones through their skin. If we see red-colored areas on their bodies, that’s called a heat rash – it means she’s too hot in her pen and she should be moved to an area where there are more flies around to eat the sweat that drips off her – which will help keep her cool.





Shape and size. Is there a large, pendulous udder with few teats? Are there two teats on one side and three on the other side? Are all four quarters equally developed? Teats: Length, diameter, and placement. How long are they about body length? Are they evenly spaced or bunched up toward one end? Do they have any abnormalities such as tags or extra folds of skin? Do they point straight forward or are some pointing outward? What about their diameter—are some thicker than others? How far do they project from the body when extended (how far would you expect them to reach when milking)? Are any tilted inward so that milk is squirted onto her hind legs rather than into a bucket or pail?



Legs, Feet, and Tailhead



Look at each cow’s legs, feet, and tailhead to make sure that there are no signs of pain or discomfort. A cow’s tailhead should be neat and free from injury with a good covering of hair and free from lice and blood spots. Look out for cracked hooves which can be a sign that something is not right. Pay particular attention to hoof cleanliness if you are selecting replacement stock as poor foot care is easy to pick up but hard to rectify. Have a close look at the heels where they meet with bare flesh; any signs of sores, thin areas, or bony protrusions indicate potential lameness issues.

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