Raising Laying Hens
Most experts agree that raising laying hens is fairly easy and straightforward. The actual process of laying eggs is more determined by nature than by anything humans can do. Still, there are times when your laying hens may run into trouble. This article looks at some of those problem areas and offers some advice on what to do.
While laying hens can have a variety of problems, egg binding is one of the more common. Egg binding occurs when a larger than normal egg gets stuck in the vent. The binding is not particularly dangerous to the hen, but it can be painful.
The way to assist the hen when egg binding occurs is to lubricate a finger and gently slide it inside the vent. Once your finger is in place, gently massage the bird’s abdomen while at the same time helping to slide the egg down the vent.
If after a few minutes of this the egg does not come out, you may have to break the egg in order to get it out. If you have to break the egg, do so gently and make sure you carefully remove all of the shell and contents of the broken egg.
Another somewhat common problem for laying hens is called prolapse.
This is when the inside of the vent slips outside the hen’s body. Normally, you see this after the hen has laid an overly large egg. To treat this condition, you should gently ease the exposed tissue back into the vent. When you have a laying hen that has been injured such as this, it is usually best to isolate the hen until she heals completely. You should also monitor the hen for any signs of infection.
Rodents, and other small mammals, can pose a risk to all of your flock, but they can be especially dangerous to laying hens. The rodents that most often invade chicken coops love eggs. They will work hard to get to them. The best way to prevent rodents and other predators from getting to your laying hens, and their eggs, is to install sturdy wire and secure doors. Nesting boxes should be off the floor, but so high that they pose a problem for the hen getting into and out of the box.
Raising laying hens also means watching out for insects and pests such as lice, fleas, ticks, and mites.
It is impossible to keep all insects out of the chicken coop, but you can apply safe pesticides to help reduce their presence.
Some parasites will actually kill a laying hen is left unchecked. These are the pests that suck blood from the bird. Your local farmer’s co-op can help you select the right pesticide for the job.
Whenever you apply pesticides to your coop make sure you follow the instructions carefully and clean the coop properly. You may need to wash the coop out after applying certain types of pesticides.
The above are some of the more common problems you face while raising laying hens. But, as you can see, most of these are easily remedied.
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