According to the age-old tale, chickens have been laying eggs since the dawn of time, if not before however, producing an object as big as your own head every day, is a feat that should not be understated. As the backyard farmer knows well, it’s easy to make a scramble of the process, with soft or fractured egg shells a sure sign that your birds are lacking a nutritious diet.
The process of producing a chicken egg is formulaic. First, the hen produces the yoke and the white, drawing from the proteins and vitamins consumed in the morning. In the afternoon, the layer turns to a calcium rich diet, consuming the ingredients needed to produce a strong shell.
Whilst it’s less obvious from looking at a chicken’s egg if the bird lacks specific proteins and vitamins, the implications of a diet low in calcium are obvious. When an egg is laid by a chicken lacking in calcium, the shell is either soft or fractured.
“A hen needs 2.2 grams of calcium to produce each egg and the right balance of phosphorus”, explains poultry nutritionist, Grant Richards. “Anything less and the shell comes out under formed.”
Unfortunately for the chickens and your breakfast plate, many backyard diets make sourcing enough calcium difficult. A diet of hap hazard food scraps common to the backyard farm, have little consideration for what the hen needs to keep its production line chugging.
“Chickens naturally seek out calcium in the afternoon to aid in egg shell production”, Mr. Richards explains. “Most scrap based diets fall short of satisfying a bird’s intense nutritional needs”.
Supplementing or complementing a scrap based diet with a crushed grain feed such as Eggs 4 Sure, provides welcome dietary relief for the chickens. Eggs 4 Sure, produced by Victorian based company, Reid Stockfeeds, has been specifically formulated to provide a laying chicken with their required daily dose of calcium, plus important proteins and vitamins critical to the production of a nutritious egg.
“A scrap based diet contains about 10% dry matter, which is where the proteins, vitamins and minerals are stored. A formulated grain based feed like Eggs 4 Sure, contains 88% dry matter”, said Mr. Richards.
“Eggs 4 Sure contains a calcium rich, limestone formula known as grit. The chickens seek out the grit in the afternoon, easily satisfying 2/3 of their daily intake requirements”.
To add a crushed grain formula such as Eggs 4 Sure into a chicken’s diet, it’s recommended starting with small quantities, allowing time for the chicken to adjust. Hens should be fed approximately 125-150 grams of Eggs 4 Sure daily.
For more information on a grain base chicken diet or Eggs 4 Sure, visit the Reid Stockfeeds poultry page.