DROP-IN EGG PRODUCTION: WHAT AND WHERE TO LOOK
Drop-in egg production are words that will always resonate in the mind of every egg-producing farmer.
There is nothing as beautiful and rewarding as picking your eggs and having your basket full almost every day. As soon as your laying hens start laying.
The joy and excitement that comes with it cannot be overemphasized. These joy and excitement can be short-lived.
If stringent or concerted effort is not put in place. To sustain and maintain constant egg production in your flock throughout their laying period.
Drop-in egg production has succeeded in discouraging a lot of farmers. Especially new farmers that are not financially buoyant to survive the period of drop in egg production.
In the case of an eventual drop in egg production, if your aim is to make a profit from your farm then you cannot afford to experience a long period of drop in egg production.
From practical experience drop in egg production is not a good experience. It can frustrate and discourage you. Drop-in egg production is an integral part of egg production.
Allowing it to persist for a very long time can lead to quitting egg production altogether.
Serious measures have to be taken by the farmer to curtail the situation before it will lead to serious economic loss.
1. WEATHER CONDITION
Chickens tend to reduce or increase their feed consumption in extreme weather conditions.
Especially during winter or the cold months, they eat more to keep warm. At extremely high temperatures, they eat less especially in the hot afternoons until when the weather is favorable.
And if they don’t feed adequately their egg production drops. For a good farmer, you may have to prepare ahead to combat this situation.
Having reserve, in terms of money or feed so that, if they don’t lay adequately you don’t have to go broke completely.
At least you will still have some feed to give them, pending when the weather condition will improve and they are restored back to normal egg production.
2. INADEQUATE WATER CONSUMPTION COULD LEAD TO DROP IN EGG PRODUCTION
Chickens especially laying hens need a constant supply of water to lay consistently. Inadequate supply of water can affect egg production considerably, in fact, they can survive more without food than without water.
Though none of them should be encouraged. There should be adequately supplied of both of them at all times.
To ensure constant egg production throughout their laying period.
3. OVERCROWDING AND WET LITTER
A good farmer should always watch out for these two factors they sometimes work hand in hand. If you have an overcrowded pen, your chicken may not lay eggs adequately.
It can lead to stressful conditions and may result in wet litter especially during the wet season. If the litter is messy and very wet your chicken may not lay adequately also.
And when these happen of course it is not good news to any farmer who wants to make a profit from egg production.
4. LIGHTING CONDITION CAN TRIGGER DROP-IN EGG PRODUCTION
You should be very observant especially as the seasons’ changes. Laying hens need a certain number of hours of daylight to lay egg adequately.
At least they need 14 to 15 hours of day length to lay eggs adequately, in the case of inadequate daylight. Provision should be made for additional artificial light to stimulate egg production.
Care must be taken to avoid a very long period of light, so as to avoid the stress that might lead to unfavorable behavior.
Behavior such as cannibalism, pecking, and feather eating all these behavior can reduce egg production.
5. INADEQUATE FEED INGREDIENTS AND COMPONENTS
Inadequate feed components such as calcium or salt can lead to a drop in decrease egg production.
If there is a deficiency in calcium in your chicken feed, it can reduce considerably the size of the eggs. These are capable of causing the chicken to lay shell-less eggs and the overall quality of the eggs will diminish.
Lack of salt in chicken feed can reduce the palatability of chicken feed and also cause them to reduce their egg production.
Also, the lack of salt can result in feather eating and pecking all these vices will affects egg production considerably.
As a good farmer always make sure that the feed you give your chickens contains all the nutrients, minerals and vitamins needed for them produce egg.
6. BROODINESS CAN ALSO CAUSE DROP IN EGG PRODUCTION
When you have a lot of broody hens in your pen it can cause a drop in egg production on your farm. Especially when you practice a deep litter system.
In this system of production, you provide nest boxes for your chicken to lay eggs. In the process, some of them will cultivate the habit of sitting virtually all day on their eggs. These could lead to the cessation of egg production by the laying hen involved.
Once this happens, of course, there will be drop-in egg production. To discourage this behavior always pick your eggs at regular intervals.
7. LACK OF ENOUGH VENTILATION CAN LEAD TO DROP IN EGG PRODUCTION
Inadequate ventilation and lack of cross-ventilation can generate a stuffy environment.
These, in turn, can lead to the accumulation of ammonia in the chicken coop, and too much ammonia in the atmosphere can weaken the immunity of your birds. Leading to stress, and these could reduce their egg production.
Avoid overcrowding your birds, provide adequate ventilation if possible provide an additional cooling system. And make sure you clean and dispose of manure regularly so as to avoid accumulation of manure.
Which if not properly taken care of is capable of generating a lot of ammonia gas in the atmosphere.
8. EGG EATING
Egg eating is a very disturbing behavior once you notice it in your flock. It is very common in a deep litter system. And if proper care is not taken it can lead to an overall drop in egg production.
Constant picking of eggs and having a moderate number of chickens in the pen can check this behavior. Other very important measures taking to combat this disturbing behavior include the following:
Taking your time each day to watch closely a particular chicken that is eating the egg. Definitely the behavior must have been initiated by a particular chicken. Efforts should be made to discourage that particular chicken.
If you have tried your best and the particular chicken refuses to stop eating egg, the next option is to eliminate that particular chicken. So as not to initiate the other remaining flock into the habit of egg eating in the pen.
After picking your eggs you can replace them with the small ball-like eggs. Such as table tennis, to discourage and trick the egg eaters from eating the eggs. Once they try eating and discover it is strong they will eventually give up the habit of eating eggs.
9. THE PRESENCE OF DISEASE CAN LEAD TO DROP IN EGG PRODUCTION
The presence of a disease or outbreak of disease can affect egg production significantly.
Diseases such as coccidiosis and other bacterial infection can reduce egg production considerably.
The process of restoring your birds to health will affect their egg production. The use of certain drugs for the treatment of diseases such as coccidiosis for instance sulfur can reduce egg quality and quantity.
Notwithstanding your aim is to restore them back to health and after the treatment, they will resume back to their normal egg production.
Avoiding outbreaks of these diseases in the first place is the best option to take by observing and having a strict bio-security policy on your farm.
Also, follow a strict vaccination schedule to avoid and curtail viral infections such as Newcastle. These have a serious adverse effect on overall health and egg production of the laying hen.
How to Ensure Good Hygiene and Bio-Security in Your Poultry Farm
stressful condition could lead to drop in egg production
READ ALSO: HOW TO ASSESS CHICK QUALITY
10. STRESSFUL CONDITION COULD LEAD TO DROP IN EGG PRODUCTION
Laying birds love serene and quiet environments these informed the reason why poultry farms are best located in the countryside and hinterlands.
Stressful and frightful conditions can cause a drop in egg production significantly. Animals such as wolves, coyote’s folks, dogs, cats especially dogs that are not trained can cause stress and frightful conditions to your chicken.
When it becomes persistent it can affect and reduce their egg production. Try as much as possible to keep them safe and away from unnecessary noise.