I got my first chickens by gift. The short story is that my in-laws had a small flock of chickens in their backyard. Since they live in just outside of Downtown San Diego the area is city/suburbs, they are allowed to have hens but roosters are prohibited. We think that one of the neighbors complained about the noise from the roosters crowing which triggered a visit from the city. They gave my in-laws 48 hours to get rid of the roosters. They could keep the hens but the roosters had to go.
They asked me if I would take the roosters off their hands because I have a small piece of dirt (1/8) where I keep my horses just outside the city. I really didn’t want any roosters but I agreed because I wanted to help out. The next day my father-in-law and brother-in-law brought the roosters to the “ranch” where I keep my horses. They brought two roosters and four young hens that were all ready laying eggs. I thought it was nice that they sent some hens along, at least I get fresh eggs out of the deal.
We kept the hens in a make shift corral and built a quick chicken run/coop the following weekend. My father-in-law also brought over a bag of laying pellets to help me get started and so began my journey with chickens.
My new hens were a little rattled from the move and did not start laying eggs right away. It took a few weeks for them to acclimate to their new home before they started laying but just as soon as they started laying eggs they stopped! I had taken a few eggs home to eat and needless to say, they were delicious but now the hens had stopped laying so I was back to just keeping chickens to keep chickens, no more fruit for my labor.
I asked my father-in-law if he knew why the hens had stopped laying and he said that it was not the season (late fall) and they would probably not start laying until spring. I wasn’t okay with that, the grocery stores sell eggs year round, I thought, so there’s got to be something they do to stimulate egg laying. So I Googled it, something like: How to keep hens laying eggs through winter (or maybe year round). I immediately came across a lady’s YouTube video accurately titled: What to feed your chickens so they lay eggs year round. Bingo! The video is by a lady named Becky, she’s got a pretty interesting YouTube channel with a lot of good info. I putting the video at the bottom of the page, check it out, she’s a blast. Back to the story, she recommends feeding the hens whole corn. She basically says to add whole corn to their laying pellets during the winter months and they’ll keep laying. In my case the hens had already stopped laying but I bought a 50 lb bag of whole corn at the feed store and gave it try. Low and behold these girls started putting out, they started laying eggs again within a week. Out of the four hens I was getting about 20 eggs per week which was beautiful because previously I had been paying for higher dollar “organic eggs” at Costco.