Monday, July 6, 2015

When's the last time you made a chicken error?

Even the poultry guy can mess up.

A little background: We mainly raise chickens for show and not for eggs to sell. 
We typically incubate all the eggs from our purebred breeding stock. We then sell purebred chicks to 4-H members and others who enter them in fairs and shows around the region. 

Instead of letting the chickens keep laying past our six month breeding season, I decided to stop them from laying and extend their breeding life from two to four years. When it's not the breeding season they will still lay a few eggs a day. That's just enough for breakfast at our house.

To stop their laying, I started to feed only cracked corn instead of layer feed. That's an old trick. After about a week we started to get thin-shelled eggs. It took a couple days for me to realize that there is no calcium in corn and it was affecting the eggs. I was concerned the lack of calcium in their diet would lead to calcium deficiencies in the hens. Also, they need grit to grind the corn up in their gizzard.

So for the first time in many years we are supplying oyster shells along with the corn to improve digestion and the quality of the eggshells.


As always, post further questions in the comments.

--Dale, aka Turkeyman.

 photo credit: 168a via photopin (license)