Guidelines for raising laying hens

LIGHTING SCHEDULE

  1. Start your chicks as described in Preparing for your Chicks with 23 hours of bright light.
  2. At 3 days of age, start to reduce the number of hours of light by one hour every 2-3 days until down to 10 hours. This may not be possible with a windowed coop.
  3. At 14 days reduce the light intensity. Dim to just being able to read a newspaper.
  4. Grow to 18 weeks on 10 hours of dim light.
  5. At 18 weeks start to increase light by 1 hour per week for 2 weeks. Then ½ hour per week until you have reached 15 hours of light.

Note: If you raise your spring chicks on natural light in the summer, when it comes to the fall, increase their light by 1/2 an hour per week until 16 hours is reached. WATCH OUT!!!!!!!WINTER DAYLIGHT REDUCTION, QUALITY OF FOOD, LACK OF WATER OR COLD TEMPERATURES MAY PREVENT YOUR YOUNG HENS FROM COMING INTO LAY, OR RESULT IN YOUR OLDER LAYING HENS GOING INTO A MOLT (SHEDDING THEIR FEATHERS & CEASE LAYING). IF THIS OCCURS, GO BACK TO THE LIGHTING PROGRAM RECOMMENDED & START AGAIN!

FEED & WATER SCHEDULE FOR LAYERS

  1. Your birds should always have a good supply of fresh water. For the first 8 weeks feed them a good quality chick starter - check the ingredients for poor quality fillers. If your birds are cocci vaccinated, use an unmedicated starter, otherwise, it must be medicated with amprolium. The feed should be fine crumbles & they should always have food in front of them.
  2. At 8 weeks of age, the birds may be gradually changed to a poultry grower. Unless cocci vaccinated, the birds will require the medicated grower until 13-15 weeks of age, at which time they should have developed their own immunity.
  3. At the first egg, start to change the feed to a quality 18-19% ration. If you are grinding your own ration, pay careful attention to the balance of grains and 35% concentrate (see page 7) required for healthy hybrid layers. Dropping your protein level will result in early burnout = picking and egg eating. Dual purpose layers do well on a 17% layer ration.

HYBRID LAYERS REQUIRE 18% LAYER RATION. Your birds will suffer burn out after 3 months of lay and will likely start picking and eating their eggs as well as stop laying.

  1. Your birds should always have a good supply of fresh water. For the first 8 weeks feed them a good quality chick starter - check the ingredients for poor quality fillers. If your birds are cocci vaccinated, use a non-medicated starter, otherwise, it must be medicated with amprolium. The feed should be fine crumbles & they should always have food in front of them.
  2. At 8 weeks of age, the birds may be gradually changed to a poultry grower. Unless cocci vaccinated, the birds will require the medicated grower until 13-15 weeks of age, at which time they should have developed their own immunity.
  3. At the first egg, start to change the feed to a quality 18-19% ration. If you are grinding your own ration, pay careful attention to the balance of grains and 35% concentrate, required for healthy hybrid layers. Dropping your protein level will result in early burnout = picking and egg eating. Dual purpose layers do well on a 17% layer ration.