Key Care Points Before Chickens Start Laying Eggs
The weeks before hens lay eggs are considered a transition period from the growing period to the laying period. At this stage, a number of tasks such as placing chicks in cages, choosing a breed, immunizing them, changing feed, increasing light, etc. will create a lot of responsibility.

During this period, the physiology of chickens undergoes dramatic changes. Chickens are sensitive, have poor adaptation and poor disease resistance. If feeding and management are not up to standard, egg production will be negatively affected.

9 Keys to Improve Egg Productivity

Inspect poultry houses and equipment, and thoroughly check chicken feeding systems, drinking water systems, electrical and lighting systems, ventilation, drainage, cages, shelving and other equipment. If there are any deviations, they should be corrected in time;
Thoroughly clean and disinfect the poultry house and equipment. Steps: First, clear the floor, roof, and walls of the coop of feces, dust, and dirt. Then use a pressure washer to clean the house and equipment. Finally, disinfect the house and equipment.
Prepare the necessary utensils, medicines, tools, record sheets and food, organize feeding of staff.

2.Move the chicken into the cage.

    Hens usually lay eggs at around 16 weeks of age, so they need to be caged until they are 15-16 weeks old. This ensures that the hens have time to become familiar with their environment before laying eggs. Then a harmonious group sequence is formed and there is enough time for immunization and other work. If chicks are caged too late, the laying time will be delayed and this will affect the egg production rate. Hens that are already laying eggs may be put on hold due to the high stress associated with the transfer. And some chickens may develop yolk peritonitis, leading to a significant increase in the number of dead eggs.

    We need good, even and orderly growth and development. If it is uneven, performance will be seriously affected. When placing chicks in cages, avoid free-range chicks that are too small, thin or lack breeding value, and select high quality chicks with a cheerful disposition, strong constitution and appropriate weight.

    Even if the chicks are good during the rearing period, there will still be smaller and larger chicks in the flock due to factors such as genetics and feeding management. If they are eliminated, costs will increase and the cages in the laying coop will not be able to be used to their full potential. You need to keep smaller and larger chickens. Then put them in different cages. Take special measures to strengthen governance and promote unification. For example, place smaller chicks in a warmer, sunlit central cage. Increase nutrition accordingly to promote their growth and development. For large chicks, the number of chicks per cage should be limited accordingly. Depending on the cage capacity, feed each cage enough food at a time so that the chicks that enter the cage first do not intimidate the chicks that enter the cage later.

    Immunization should be carried out before laying eggs. Immunization is necessary to prevent the spread of disease during egg production.

      The immunization procedure is reasonable and in accordance with the actual situation on the ground. The source of the vaccine must be reliable, well preserved and have a quality assurance. The vaccination route must be appropriate and the operation must be carried out correctly and with the exact dosage. After vaccination, you will need to check the effect of the vaccine. And if necessary, carry out antibody testing to ensure the effect of vaccination, so that the chickens have sufficient levels of antibodies to prevent disease.

      One method of improving the immune system is respiratory administration. By dissolving the drug in water and using a nebulizer while the chicken is breathing, the drug will be in its body.

      4.Expulsion of parasites
      This should be done before laying the eggs. For 110-130-day-old chickens, 20-40 mg of levamisole or 200-300 mg of carbofuran per kilogram of body weight is added to the feed once a day for 2 days to expel roundworms. Then add 100-200 mg of bithionol per kilogram of body weight to the feed once daily for 2 days to eliminate tapeworms. For severe contamination of coccidioides oocysts, anticoccidioides should be applied continuously for 5–6 days after cage placement.

      Light has a great influence on the reproductive performance of chickens. Increasing light levels can stimulate the secretion of sex hormones that promote egg production. Reducing the time spent in light suppresses the secretion of sex hormones, thereby suppressing ovulation and egg production. By controlling the light shining on the hen, egg production can be stimulated and maintained. In addition, light can regulate the sexual maturity of reserve chicks and help them lay accurately. Light control is very important when chicks are ready to lay. Appropriate light stimulation can ensure the correct egg production of chicks in advance and reduce feeding costs.

        For chicks that meet the requirements or are slightly overweight, the light time can be increased to 13 hours at about 16 to 17 weeks of age and then increased by 20 minutes per week until the light time reaches 16 hours. Lower body weight chicks should begin light stimulation at approximately 18–20 weeks of age.

        Pre-laying feeding not only affects egg production rate and the duration of the peak egg production period, but also affects mortality.

          1) Replace feed in a timely manner. In order to make hens more productive, reduce egg breakage, and reduce fatigue in laying hens, the calcium content in the diet should be increased from 0.9% to 2.5% starting from 17 weeks of age. When the egg production rate reaches 20% to 30%, the calcium content should be increased to 3.5%.

          2) Ensure feed intake. Before laying eggs, chickens should be allowed to eat freely to ensure balanced nutrition and promote egg production.

          3) Ensure drinking water. In the early stages of laying eggs, chickens have a strong metabolism and need a lot of water. Adequate moisture must be ensured. Insufficient water will affect egg production rate, and there will be more cases of anal prolapse.

          7.Reduce stress

            Putting the chickens in the cage and vaccinating them is best done in the evening. Chickens should be caught, transported and caged lightly. Before the chickens enter the cage, they need to add feed to the trough, inject water into the trough, and maintain appropriate light intensity so that the chickens can drink water, eat feed, and become familiar with the environment as soon as possible after entering the cage. As much as possible. There should be a transition period when changing feed.

            Use anti-stress additives.
            There are many stress factors before laying. Anti-stress agents can be added to feed or drinking water to relieve stress. Commonly used ones include vitamin C, instant multivitamin, fumaric acid, and the sedative chlorpromazine.

            After entering the cage, the chickens are not familiar with the environment, which will cause great stress. As the egg production rate increases, the chicken’s metabolism is strong and its resistance is poor. It is highly susceptible to pathogens, so resistance and immunity must be built up.

              Prevent foreign staff from entering the breeding area and chicken coop. Keepers need to be disinfected before entering;
              Pay attention to the hygiene of the chicken house environment, drinking water and feed;
              Regularly disinfect the inside and outside of the house to reduce diseases;
              Pay attention to the use of some antibacterial drugs and Chinese herbal medicine to prevent the occurrence of E. coli and mycoplasmosis.

              9.Strong observation ability
              Carefully observe the increase in the chicken’s feed intake, respiration, feces and egg production rate, and find solutions in a timely manner if problems are discovered.

                Before and after laying eggs, drastic physiological changes occur and the chickens are sensitive and restless. They can easily get into trouble. Patrols need to be strengthened to detect and deal with them as soon as possible to reduce the chance of death.

                Pay attention to detect anus-pecking chickens, bullied chickens, sick and disabled chickens in time, and pick them out for treatment.