The best way to maximize profitability over the lifetime of your flock is to maintain an average egg weight between 56g to 62g, as these eggs are classified as large eggs. This requires a high level of attention to bird management.
Today's laying pullets are coming into production and peaking several weeks earlier than was the case a few years ago. Although there may be some debate as to the contribution of genetics, management, and nutrition in bringing about this change, most people agree that earlier maturing pullets usually result in more profitable layers.
One of the problems with earlier maturing pullets, and a factor that continues to keep them from being readily accepted by the industry, is a higher percentage of small eggs. However, there is a potential saving that is associated with early maturity, but how effective can it compare is a debate that is open for research.
Research has shown that heavy chickens lay heavier eggs, but most of these large eggs have a thin shell and can cause egg binding in laying chickens. The aim is to find a balance between these extremes. Several factors influence the weight of eggs, these include lighting and temperature, feed intake, body weight, protein, and age, breed, and pullet management.
Next is how you can manipulate these factors to get the desired egg size without affecting the overall performance of the layers. Nevertheless, follow the steps below if want your chickens to lay large eggs:
|Size||Weight (including Shel)|
|Peewee||less than 42g|
|Small||Less than 42-48|
|jumbo||Greater than 70g|
Heavier laying hens will lay bigger eggs. Therefore, monitoring body weights throughout the flock will enable you to make the correct nutritional and management decisions require to control body weight and egg size. In other words, at the target weight of your hen breed, you should give a diet that stimulates egg size and weight, like adding amino acid-like methionine and fatty acids like linoleic acid, which have both shown to influence egg size and weight.
In addition, you can also reduce the temperature and increase the lighting hours for more feed consumption which will invariably add weight to the laying chickens and increase egg size, but you have to monitor the weight that gives the appropriate large egg sizes that will not be detrimental to the overall performance of the hen. The reverse is what you will do to prevent early maturity associated with small egg size.
In fact, this should be your first step. Some breeds are naturally endowed to lay larger eggs. However, all breeds have egg size expectations, which may or may not suit your layer operation. Indeed, brown-egg layers tend to produce slightly larger eggs because they heavier mature body weight compared to smaller white-egg layers. Consult your hatchery and feed specialist for assistance in choosing the breed appropriate for your operation.
Feed intake during pullet growing as well as throughout the laying cycle impacts egg size. Feed intake that is too low will hold back the egg size as the pullets come into lay, while too high of a feed intake in the layer barn will overstimulate egg size, which may lead to decreased shell quality and health concerns- here, a need to strike a balance becomes paramount.
There is a positive correlation between extra feed and heavier eggs. This extra feed will likely provide more energy than protein. To avoid this, it is possible to provide the extra protein directly by feed reformulation. Thus, egg weight responds to methionine levels during peak production, but not during the later period. However, caution in deciding on changing protein level in feed is of importance as trying to lower protein too aggressively can result in lost egg production. Please ensure you are communicating with a specialist.
linoleic acid, alongside protein and methionine, has been shown to influence egg size. There is some obscurity on this issue concentrated sources of linoleic acid are oils that increase dietary energy concentration. Nevertheless, formulating to a higher linoleic acid concentration even at a similar dietary energy level is something that many nutritionists focus on when attempting to increase egg weight without providing extra entry to layers.
Many workers have reported that the "season of maturity" has a significant effect on early egg size; hens reaching maturity during fall and early winter months attain a larger egg size than comparable spring and summer flocks. This is how I take advantage of the seasons. We all know that hen eats and lies more at a lower temperature than at a relatively high temperature.
So, I take the advantage of the warm weather of the spring (March to May/June) to brood my Day Old Chicks (DOC), and their season of (peak) maturity will definitely fall in winter/fall (September to December) When the weather is much cooler for feed consumption and laying. And this is around 30 weeks to 40 weeks, and the egg size around this age is between 61-62 grams, Which are classified as large.
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