Your cute baby chicks are now almost full sized pullets that are starting to lay their first eggs. So how do you go about caring for egg laying hens to ensure that they are happy and healthy ladies.
Most pullets will be mature enough to start laying their first eggs around the age of six months. Babies start to grow combs and waddles when they are young but they don’t have any color and are not very large. When they are ready to begin laying eggs, their combs and waddles will grow larger and become bright red. Once this happens, you will start to find very small eggs in your nests.
In order to keep your young pullets in healthy and in prime laying condition, there are some general house keeping duties you should perform on a daily basis.
- Give fresh water and feed.
- Collect eggs
- Observe your flock every day to make sure your pullets are healthy.
There are some chores you should do every week or two.
- Change the bedding in your hen house.
- Change or freshen the nesting material in your nesting boxes.
- Clean and sanitize all food and waterers.
There are also some jobs that need to be done once a year.
Once a year you need to remove every single item from your chicken coop and completely sanitize it. This is a good chance to check for any parasites that might have taken up residence in your chicken coop. I always use a bug bomb once a year and once a year I spray the entire area with malathion to help prevent any pest infestations. Be sure and read the directions because you will have to keep your chickens out of these areas for a few weeks or toss the eggs.
Worm your chickens once a year to help keep their parasite load down. It is almost impossible to completely get rid of all internal chicken parasites, but you need to keep their numbers down.
Keeping your egg laying hens healthy and happy is pretty easy to do. A clean, pest free environment and clean food and water go a long way towards keeping the ladies happy and laying eggs for you.