Andrew Fothergill, National Poultry Advisor at Farmgate Feeds, gives his advice on the importance of nutrition for laying hens
Laying eggs is a full-time job for hens, so it’s important to support them throughout their lives with the correct nutrients they need, to do the best job possible. Complete, balanced and quality nutrition will support hens’ health whilst helping you achieve high productivity, egg yolk colour and good shell quality.
If you are keeping hens for egg production a good feeding regime is imperative for ensuring the correct amount of high-quality protein, vitamins and minerals. A lack of certain nutrients can affect egg production, shell quality and can even have a negative impact on the bird's health. The feed should also have the right balance of protein and fibre which is important to keep your hens full and provide good bacteria in the gut.
Farmgate Layer feed provides well-balanced nutrition; the protein-rich ingredients are carefully balanced to ensure the birds receive the nutrients required to support body and feather growth and the ability to deliver optimum egg size. We recommend feeding from up to four weeks before onset of lay, throughout the laying period until depletion. Farmgate Layers are also available in two different physical forms, a pellet and a mash, to suit your feeding requirements.
We advise feeding your birds approximately 1kg/bird/week on an ad-lib basis. If they are free range, birds will naturally forage and root around for greens and suchlike which supplements their diet. As an extra treat Farmgate Mixed Corn works well - we hear from producers it’s also useful to get them back in their houses in the evening!
When feeding your flock, just because there is food available, doesn't necessarily mean each bird is getting its daily requirement. Keep an eye on any newcomers to ensure that they are getting the same balanced diet as they won’t have pecking order advantages for a while! Pay close attention to how many eggs you are collecting and watch out for any signs of egg eating as this can indicate a lack of water or nutrition.