For centuries, eggs have played a major role in feeding families around the globe. They are an unbeatable package when it comes to versatility and top-quality protein at a very affordable price.
And they are also an excellent source of choline, essential in memory and brain development. Eggs are one of nature’s highest-quality sources of protein, and indeed contain many of the key ingredients for life.
The proteins contained in eggs are highly important in the development of the brain and muscles; they play a key role in disease prevention and contribute to well-being in later life, particularly in relation to eyesight (avoiding macular degeneration).
What affects egg laying?
The nature of the bird and how it is managed can deliver sizeable eggs and in profitable numbers. The genetic makeup of the bird is the number one limiting factor for egg production.
It dictates the limitation beyond which your layers cannot perform. As a layer farmer, your duty is to buy day-old chicks from a reputable supplier.
A good supplier should have an address where you can go back and complain about the quality of the chicks and get redress.
A farmer should know that having a good quality bird will not guarantee results. Famers must put emphasis on nutrition and the environment in which the birds are raised.
Proper nutrition involves availing the birds with good quality feeds and water. The target in feeding a laying bird is to ensure that it lays an egg every day. Therefore, the feeds should meet the standard requirements.
The feeds must give the bird a good balance of energy, protein and minerals. Such values can be found in recipes such as maize, maize bran, fish and soya bean.
Feeds given to birds should be light, in the appropriate texture, free of bad smell, toxin agents and germ contamination. Water on the other side must be provided along with the feeds at all times and the water should be clean.
The environment in which the layers are bred should be conducive if one is to achieve the anticipated eggs. It involves the physical, chemical, parasitic and social conditions in which the birds are living.
The physical environment is; mechanical, climatic, acoustic and optical. The mechanical situation involves; spacing the birds in the poultry house, especially around the drinkers and feeders provided.
Overcrowding the birds and inadequate space around the feeder or drinker can be stressful and will lead to low egg production. The temperature in which the flock is raised is equally influential on egg laying.
Temperature affects comfort, feeding and water intake. Feeding is lower at high temperature, while water consumption increases.
High humidity increases dampness in the chicken house and elicits growth of germs while low humidity evokes dryness of the litter leading to excessive dust in the house and birds cannot have fresh air.
Likewise, lighting is important in egg laying. Layers need about 16 hours of light per day to enable them lay eggs properly. This means besides the usual 12 hours of daylight accessible to the birds, four more hours of artificial light must be provided. Sound too affects egg laying.
Excessive and sudden loud sounds stress the birds.
Chemical substances like toxic gases and dusty particles usually disturb the respiratory system, making breathing and utilisation of the feeds in the body difficult.
Parasites like bacteria, viruses, coccidia and worms too affect the chicken, which leads to disease, low egg production and mortality.
These agents, however, cannot do the damage on their own. They are often assisted by feed contamination, stress in the bird, humidity, temperature, spacing, the level of hygiene in the house and biosecurity. Farmers should provide proper housing, hygiene, biosecurity, vaccination and treatment with drugs.