Below are some of the most common problems associated with laying hens and their solutions!
Problem: Eating Eggs
Reason: Overcrowding, not enough nesting boxes, improper laying environment, nutritional deficiencies.
Why this is bad: Having hens that eat their own eggs defeats the whole purpose of having layers to begin with- to get the eggs. Not to mention, chickens are very routine oriented. Once they get in the habit of eating the eggs, breaking the habit is incredibly difficult.
Solution: Give a calcium supplement, this helps to increase shell strength. Every few days offer a bowl of milk. Trick your hens by beating an egg and then adding two teaspoons of black pepper; hens find this icky and won't eat their eggs anymore.
Problem: Egg Binding
Reason: Egg is too large
Why this is bad: When an egg is unable to pass through the vent, it can cause a backup in egg production and turn eggs "septic" or rotten inside the hen which will lead ultimately to death.
Solution: Carefully insert well lubricated fingers into the vent and ease the egg out. If it will not come out, carefully break it up inside the hen and pull out the pieces. Be careful that you do not lacerate or puncture the insides of the hen as the vent doubles as a holding place for fecal matter as well.
Reason: Vent tissue may have fallen out after a particularly large egg
Why this is bad: The vent is called upon to be a holding area for the egg, it is very bad if this is outside your hen.
Solution: Carefully tuck the vent back into the hen and isolate her while she heals. A hen will probably not lay during this healing.
Reason: Likely not enough space, inadequate food, water and light
Why this is bad: Having your chickens pecking one another to death is never a good nor sanitary thing.
Solution: Provide better conditions for your hens. Be sure that your hens are receiving all the vitamins and nutrients they need, as eating the hen at the bottom of the pecking order may be caused by lack of essential nutrients.
Problem: Pests such as Fleas, Ticks and Mites
Reason: They are pests
Why this is bad: They suck the blood right out of your birds and damage them. This can lead to stress and death.
Solution: Do your best to provide the most sanitary conditions possible. Use parasite dusts to keep perches, feeding areas and bedding locations free and clear. If there is an infestation clean and wash the coop thoroughly and then ventilate it well so your chickens are not harmed by insecticide fumes.
Reason: Carry pests, eat food, spread disease
Why this is bad: Can cause death
Solution: Keep your coop cleaned, cover any holes in the walls or floors that rodents could get in through. Make sure that feed is in bins that seal tightly and that food is not left on the floor to entice rodents into the coop.
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