Category Archives: Eggs

5 tips for getting hens to lay in nest boxes.

PHOTO BY KAREN JACKSON https://www.flickr.com/photos/72284410@N08/
PHOTO BY KAREN JACKSON
https://www.flickr.com/photos/72284410@N08/

Do your hens lay their eggs everywhere but the nest boxes? Here are a few tips to encourage them to lay eggs in the nest boxes.
• Do you have enough nest boxes: 1 box for every 4 to 5 hens is the minimum for hens to feel comfortable laying in them.
• Are your nests appealing: Make sure the nests are in a dark, quiet place in the coop. Boxes should be a few inches off the floor.
• Train them with a “nest egg”: You can purchase a fake ceramic or wood egg from a farm supply store or online. You can even use a golf ball if needed. When your chicks get ready to lay, by placing the “nest egg” in the nests, this gives them the idea that this is the place to lay.
• Keep them confined until mid-morning: Most hens lay early in the morning, so by keeping them in the coop, this will maximize the chances that they’ll lay in the nest boxes instead of finding a place outside of the coop.
• Make nests soft and comfy: If the wood shavings get depleted in the boxes, the hens tend to avoid them. Keep shavings or straw nice and fluffy to encourage laying in the boxes.

Michelle Coleman
Reference:
About.com

Some interesting facts from the Iowa Poultry Association

IOWA…# 1 Egg Production

Did you know that…
• Iowa ranks #1 in the nation for egg production
• #1 in egg processing
• Iowa produced almost 16 billion eggs in 2014
• Iowa’s chicken layers consume 58 million bushels of corn and 30 million bushels of soybeans
• Iowa’s egg producers create more than 8,000 jobs annually. $2.02 billion in total sales and $424 million in seasonal income.

General Facts:
• Iowa has approximately 40 million laying hens
• Iowa produces enough eggs to provide an egg-a-day for the world for 2 days.
• An egg-a-day for China for 11 days
• An egg-a-day for all Americans for 47 days
• Iowa’s egg farmers add value to Iowa corn and soybeans – 58 million bushels of corn and 30 million bushels of soybeans

Source: http://iowapoultry.com/
For all your poultry needs contact:
WELP HATCHERY
PO BOX 77
BANCROFT IA 50577
1-800-458-4473
WELPHATCHERY.COM

compiled by Ann Phelps

Ameraucana

Photo By Royale Photography (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
 The Ameraucana is an American breed developed in the 1970’s.  It was derived from the Araucana breed from Chile and was bred to produce blue egg color.  This breed was added to the American Standard of Perfection in 1984, and is recognized in 8 colors.  The Ameraucana typically starts laying at around 5 months of age and produces approximately 250 eggs per year of various shades.

Source Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ameraucana

 

Should I raise chickens?

Should I raise chickens?

Many people are drawn to the idea of raising backyard poultry for fresh eggs and the flavorful meat. Of course there are also other benefits as well, such as manure for fertilizing gardens, keeping down the populations of bugs and other garden pests and they are great companions.
But before you decide to join this fast growing trend, there are several things to consider when raising any poultry.
First , determine your time to dedicate to these animals and how they may impact your life and your family. They do require daily attention and chores. This means daily feeding, watering and yes cleaning up manure. Decide whether you want chickens for egg laying or meat production. If you want egg layers, keep in mind it usually takes 20+ weeks before you will see any eggs. If you want meat production, the best breed would be the Cornish Rock Broilers which take 6-8 weeks from start to finish. If you go with broilers we do recommend a strict feeding schedule of 12 hours on and 12 hours off.
Once you decide which breed of bird you are interested in, you next need to decide how much space you’ll need to accommodate the birds. If you live in a town or city you will also need to check your laws to determine how many you are allowed to have. Most cities have a limit of between 4-10 hens only. You do not need to have a rooster to have egg production. Do you have a coop for them or do you need to build one? A coop protects chickens from predators, and provides shelter from sun, cold and rain. It should have a locking door, a roosting bar and nesting boxes for layers. If you want to try to build your own, I would suggest a couple of items we sell at Welp Hatchery, the Multi-Purpose Mini Barn Plan or Poultry House Shelter Plan. If you’re not the DIY kind, there are numerous places on-line to order coops or check out your local farm supply store.
Before bringing your baby chicks home, you will want to be sure you have waterers, feeders, feed, bedding and a heating lamp. Your chicks need to be handled with care, so having everything set up before you bring them home will help alleviate any stress on the birds. You want to line your coop with woodshavings (not newspaper, it’s too slippery for the chicks), have clean fresh water and food, have the temperature set to 95 degrees for the first week. You drop the temperature 5 degrees every week until there is a constant temperature of 70 degrees or chicks are feathered out. Be sure that the chicks always have fresh water. This is very important as the chicks drink a lot of water.
Lastly, enjoy the chickens. They will provide an entertaining and relaxing atmosphere to your backyard, keep the bugs down, as well as provide you with eggs and or meat.

Contributed by Michelle Coleman

Things to consider if your hens aren’t laying well.

Are you having difficulty with your hens laying eggs? Are they not producing to their standard? You may want to check on some of these factors that may be the cause of this.

Is there enough lighting? Your hens will need at least 15 hours of daylight. This is easier to do when there is more natural light during the late spring to early fall. However, if you would like to keep your production of eggs going, provide some additional lighting. To try and give them as much light as possible it’s recommended to use no less than a 75 watt light bulb.

What are you feeding them? It is recommended to have a quality layer feed which will have the right portions of everything they need to produce eggs. Some table scraps are ok for your birds, but should be given to them in moderation so it does not upset the balance of the feed.

Are your hens stressed out? Are there predators? This is caused by different things. One would be to make sure they are not being frightened. This could be from predators trying to get in the pen with them, or a snake that made its way into the pen. Other reasons for stressed out chickens would be handling them too much, moving them to a different pen, letting them run out of food or water, or even disrupting the pecking order by bringing in new birds.

Do they have enough water? They should always have plenty of clean water to drink, and during the winter months it is important to not let their water freeze.

What is the temperature like? Hens usually lay best when it is not too hot or too cold. During the summer it is necessary to provide cool water, and shade. During the winter it is recommended to try and keep their pen at above 55-60 degrees.

Are they molting? The molting process happens about once a year. This usually causes a production decrease or a halt to the eggs. Molting can last anywhere from 4 – 16 weeks. Chickens will lose feathers in a sequence starting with the head and neck and then down the back, across the breast and thighs and finally their tail feathers. The new feathers that emerge are called pinfeathers and will grow in following the same sequence they were lost.

How old are your hens? It is typical for your hens to have their best production in the first and second year after they hatch. After three years old their production will start slowly decreasing. It is estimated that at about five years of age they will only be producing half as frequently as they did the first two years.

Contributed by Cory Johnson

Interesting Odds & Ends about Eggs

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•Howard Helmer, former American Egg Board representative, is the Omelet King. Helmer holds three Guinness World Records for omelet making – fastest omelet-maker (427 omelets in 30 minutes); fastest single omelet (42 seconds from whole egg to omelet); and omelet flipping (30 flips in 34 seconds).
•The name meringue came from a pastry chef named Gasparini in the Swiss town of Merhrinyghen. In 1720, Gasparini created a small pastry of dried egg foam and sugar from which the simplified meringue evolved. Its fame spread and Marie Antoinette is said to have prepared the sweet with her own hands at the Trianon in France.
•To tell if an egg is raw or hard-boiled, spin it. Because the liquids have set into a solid, a hard-boiled egg will easily spin. The moving liquids in a raw egg will cause it to wobble.
•Double-yolked eggs are often produced by young hens whose egg production cycles are not yet completely synchronized. They’re often produced too, by hens which are old enough to produce Extra Large-sized eggs. Genetics is also a factor. Occasionally a hen will produce double-yolked eggs throughout her egg-laying career. It’s rare, but not unusual, for a young hen to produce an egg with no yolk at all.
•An egg roll can be any one of three very different things: 1) an Asian specialty, usually served as an appetizer, in which a savory filling is wrapped in an egg-rich dough and then deep-fat fried, 2) an annual Easter event held in many places, including the White House lawn and 3) an elongated hard-boiled egg made for the foodservice industry. When the long egg roll is sliced with a special slicer, every piece is a pretty center cut.
•It is said that an egg will stand on its end during the spring (vernal) equinox (about March 21), one of the two times of the year when the sun crosses the equator and day and night are of equal length everywhere. Depending on the shape of the egg, you may be able to stand it on its end other days of the year as well.
•Long before the days of refrigeration, the ancient Chinese stored eggs up to several years by immersing them in a variety of such imaginative mixtures as salt and wet clay; cooked rice, salt and lime; or salt and wood ashes mixed with a tea infusion. The treated eggs bore little similarity to fresh eggs, some exhibiting greenish-gray yolks and albumen resembling brown jelly. Today, eggs preserved in this manner are enjoyed in China as a delicacy.
•You really can have egg on your face. As egg white tends to be drying, it has long been used as a facial. Egg yolks are used in shampoos and conditioners and, sometimes, soaps. Cholesterol, lecithin and some of the egg’s fatty acids are used in skin care products, such as revitalizers, make-up foundations and even lipstick.

Source www.incredibleegg.org American Egg Board

How long are eggs safe to keep in the refrigerator?

The following information comes from the American Egg Board.

Eggs are perishable and must be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. When properly handled and stored, eggs rarely spoil. However, if you keep them too long, they are likely to dry up.

Refrigerator Storage: Refrigerate eggs at 40°F or less. Store them in their original carton on an inside shelf and away from pungent foods. The temperature on an inside shelf remains more constant than one on the door, which is opened and closed frequently. The carton keeps the eggs from picking up odors or flavors from other foods and helps prevent moisture loss.

Raw eggs that have been removed from their shells should be refrigerated in a tightly covered container. Refrigerated whole egg yolks should be covered with water to prevent them from drying out; drain before using.

Eggs in a Refrigerator (35°F to 40°F)
Raw whole eggs (in shell) will last 4 to 5 weeks beyond the pack date or about 3 weeks after purchase.