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How to Get Your Chicken to Lay More Eggs

Does it seem that your egg collection is decreased or that your hens aren’t laying as they once did? Or the yolks are pale and lackluster, lacking the nutrients they should provide? When the chickens are part of a plan for independent living or as a structured food supply, this can put a damper on things and thwart being able to rely on them as a nutritional resource. It can be a catastrophic event in a survival situation to have your chickens stop producing a crucial food source.

Eggs come from happy and healthy chickens, so a few tweaks here and there in your program can improve egg yields immensely. In an emergency situation it may be already too late to solve the problem, so here are the top tips and tried methods for getting your chickens to lay more eggs for a bountiful future.

Remember They Are Birds

The first thing to remember is that they are living creatures with their own hierarchy and social order, literally a “pecking order.” Although they have been domesticated ever since someone discovered how tasty they were, along with their ability to be good little producers of versatile daily nuggets high in protein, the most important thing to keep in mind is that chickens still retain their wild bird instincts.

These instincts include foraging, pretending to fly, the desire to roam and scratch for their food, and the mental need to hunt their food. If you do not have the luxury of a large area for roaming, you can still build a nice comfortable coop that suits their everyday needs while providing a good diet. Meeting these needs will be rewarded with the nice steady production of quality eggs.

Put the Egg First

Before we start adding things that go into the chicken, let’s talk about output, the egg. The egg is an amazing little structure. A porous shell offers external protection, this shell mainly consists of calcium carbonate with an invisible barrier made of protein. This protective protein barrier is called the cuticle and it acts as a shield to prevent contamination from bacteria. The nutrient dense yolk is suspended in a liquid composed of protein and water called the albumen that acts as a shock absorber and cushion.

A chicken egg provides 6-7 grams of protein and 6 grams of fat, fatty acids, essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals. To achieve the highest nutritional output in an egg, it’s important a laying hen is provided a well-balanced diet that is nutrient rich with a diverse diet and fresh, clean water daily.

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Top 5 Best Egg Laying Chickens

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One of the great things about having your own flock of backyard chickens is fresh eggs. When it comes to egg laying not all chickens were made equal. In fact some breeds have been selectively bred for decades to be the egg laying Olympians of the chicken world.

For beginner backyard chicken keepers you need to balance the egg laying ability of the chicken breed with ease of raising the breed.

If you have decided that your main purpose for keeping backyard chickens is for eggs there are a number of great breeds suitable for beginners that we would recommend based on the advice of some of the leading experts (now not all of these chicken breeds are necessarily the most prolific layers but for beginners it is a balance between egg laying and ease of care).

The Backyard Chicken Zone top 5 egg laying chicken breed recommendations for beginners:

1. Rhode Island Red

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Coming in at number 1 on our top 5 egg laying chickens is the Rhode Island Red. This is our favourite layer with an above average laying rate of medium size Brown eggs. They are a versatile backyard chicken suitable for most climates and very easy to care for. They can be a little temperamental and aggressive to other breeds so be careful what other breeds to put with them. The Rhode Island Red is a good all rounder that is also suitable for meat production so if you are not sure what breed will be best for you the Rhode Island red is a good starter.

2. Leghorn

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Coming in a close second is the Leghorn. These chickens are egg laying machines, producing over 300 large white eggs a year. They can be a little flighty which makes them a little more difficult to manage but if it is eggs you are after this breed will certainly deliver. They are also a useful dual purpose chicken (although a little on the scrawny side) and can be used for organic meat once their egg production declines.

3. Buff Orpington

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This breed is one our favourite beginner chickens with an above average production of large brown eggs. Orpingtons are good brooders so an excellent choice if you plan to raise chicks. They are also an excellent choice for a pet chicken due to their docile nature and ease of care. If you live in a cooler climate the Orpington is a must have for your backyard chicken flock.

4. Black Star

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Coming in at number four in our top 5 egg laying chickens is the Black Star. Black stars are a hybrid breed (cross between Barred Rock hens and Rhode Island Red roosters) and lay an above average amount of large brown eggs. They are very easy to raise and also very hardy making them an excellent beginner breed. They have a calm nature also making them suitable for families and as a pet chicken.

5. Ameraucana

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Rounding out our top 5 egg laying chickens is the Ameraucana. This breed is known as the “Easter Eggers” because they produce eggs in a variety of colours including blue, blue-green, green, and cream (our kids love collecting the colourful eggs). They lay medium sized eggs with an above average laying rate. They have a calm temperament and make a excellent family or pet chicken.

For a family of four, a flock of three or four hens will usually produce sufficient eggs so try a few different breeds when you start out and work out which breeds work best for you.

Whilst our top 5 egg laying breeds will produce regular eggs for you, remember that the quality and nutritional value of those eggs will be controlled by the chickens diet including the health benefits, richness and colour of the yoke, as well as the chickens overall health. What you put in is what you get out so check out our tips on what to feed chickens to ensure a happy, healthy flock, and the most deliciousness and nutritious organic eggs for your family.

If you are looking for some more ideas check out our guide to selecting the best backyard chicken breed.

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