Healthy, happy hens lay more eggs. Has it been proven scientifically? I don’t know, but from my experience a healthy hen will produce more eggs than an unhealthy, miserable chicken.
Obviously, we can’t speed up the ‘egg clock’, but by keeping your hens in tip-top condition, you can ensure they will be producing high quality eggs without depleting their body reserves too much.
We know that hens need lots of calcium and protein to lay a lot of eggs, so giving them an extra boost can help to keep optimal overall health.
Whilst most of your hen’s dietary requirements will be met through their regular layers pellets, a little treat now and then will help improve their egg laying!
We’ve also shared our favorite healthy treats for chickens, but today we are going to look at treats that will help your girls lay more of those precious eggs!
Perhaps the most loved of all treats, mealworms- they contain over 50% protein!
I’m sure my girls would fight to the death for their mealworms. When the treat bag is shaken, they come running from all corners of the yard!
About a teaspoon each hen/day is sufficient- don’t listen to what the hens may tell you.
Too much protein can have a bad effect on their kidneys.
Mealworms can get very expensive if you’re feeding them to your hens everyday. That’s why we made our own mealworm farm for less than $50!
Eggs and Eggshells
Really? Yes indeed! Eggs are full of goodness.
If you have a poorly hen or one that looks a bit under the weather, whip up some scrambled eggs for her- you can also look at our article on eating eggs to see how nutritious an egg really is!
Eggshells are full of calcium. I bake the shells in the oven for about half an hour at 350F, and then when they are cool I crush them up into pieces.
The baking process kills off any salmonella or other bugs lurking in the shells.
As we know, hens are smart, so ensure they can’t recognize an eggshell as eggshell, otherwise they may start egg-eating which is something you don’t want to happen!
To avoid this just make sure the egg shells and well baked then crushed.
Dandelion leaves, chickweed, kale, cabbage are all high in vitamins and minerals that the hen needs to maintain good overall health.
I will often dig up dandelions and toss them into the brooder coops (with dirt attached) for the younger chicks to snack on.
If you free range or pasture your ladies, they will happily sample grass, dandelions and chickweed all on their own. These are tasty, nutritious morsels for them.
Filling a suet feeder with cabbage leaves, kale and other greens can help to keep confined birds busy and healthy, especially in the winter months.
Whilst greens will help improve the amount of eggs your hens lay, you need to make sure you have the right breed that naturally lays lots of eggs.
Watermelon and Fruit
Fruit is a healthy snack for your girls- in moderation.
An excess of strawberries for instance can cause diarrhea. Be warned that eating blueberries will turn their poop blue!
High in vitamin C, A, B1 and B6 and anti-oxidants, watermelon is a favorite treat for many hens. They will peck at it for hours- an added bonus is that melon and watermelon both have high water content.
On a hot summers’ day, cold watermelon from the fridge will help to ensure your hens will get enough water and stay cool.
Pumpkins in the Fall will keep your hens busy for ages. They love to peck at these colorful treats.
My hens are picky, so I usually cook a halved pumpkin in the oven for about 30 minutes, let it cool then feed to the chickens.
Remember: Giving your hen treats can be a very good thing, but please do not over feed them. An obese hen is not a healthy hen!
Are you tired of these pesky bugs eating your roses and everything else in the garden?
I wander around my yard with a jar, hand picking them off the flowers and veggies (the neighbors think I’m odd).
Once I’m done, I put the jar in the fridge for a couple of hours. This will slow the bugs down so the chickens can catch them.
Then the girls squabble over the pile of bugs I give them- apparently I never pick enough!
For your hens to get the most out of sunflower seeds, they should be hulled. The outer coat is thick and tough so most of the protein and fats remain locked inside the shell.
It has also been reported that the sunflower shells can cause crop problems, so best to avoid the shells all together!
This is a very cheap snack and will definitely keep your girls occupied for a while.
Scratch grains are exactly what they say- grains that can be scattered to encourage the girls to scratch and dig.
While chickens love their scratch grain, it should be noted that too much can cause obesity in hens. The nutritional content in scratch grains is low– only 8% protein and 4.5% fiber.
It should primarily be used as a training tool, occasional treat and winter supplement.
Also known as ‘Chicken Crack’, cracked corn is by far one of our chickens’ favorite snacks.
They love cracked corn, no doubt about it.
However, like scratch, it should be fed sparingly since it is low in protein.
I use it in the winter time just before roosting time. An intake of corn helps to boost the bodies’ metabolism and so helps to keep the hen warm overnight.
Ok, this one may be a little creepy for some chicken lovers. But scrambled eggs have tons of protein!
And if your birds are sick, recovering from brooding, or a long winter, scrambled eggs will provide an intense protein boost to help get them through the tough times (thus increasing their production abilities).
When my chickens are molting, they are stressed and sickly. They usually expend a lot more energy on staying warm in the cooler months of fall. So, this is the ideal time to treat them with warm scrambled eggs. They LOVE it.
Hopefully, your chickens will get through the molt faster, and get back to laying eggs on a regular basis.
If you plan it right, you can gather your shells and scrambled eggs all at once and give your chooks a real treat.
Just make sure you feed your chickens scrambled eggs, and not eggs directly in raw form (NOT directly from the egg).
Once your hens get a taste of a raw egg, they won’t want to stop eating their own eggs. So don’t tempt them, and keep egg treats cooked.
Note: If your chickens have tried these treats and still aren’t laying they might have an egg laying problem.
So now you know the special treats to give your hens a healthy boost and help assist them in popping out those nutritious, delicious eggs.
Generally, a hen takes 24-27 hours to produce an egg. There is no way to speed up the process- Mother Nature dictates this.
The best we chicken servants can do is keep them happy and healthy with treats that are tasty and that they enjoy.
Their vocal happiness while they are gobbling up the treats always makes me smile.
Do you have special treats for your hens? We would love to hear from you…