How Do I Give Veggies to My Laying Hens?

I have 3 hens that are laying eggs every day It seems the white of the egg is very runny as compared to store bought eggs. Should I be giving them supplements in their diet? And how do you feed veggies to them.

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About Feeding Laying Hens
by: Sharon

Greens are a very important part of the chicken diet if you want the best eggs & healthy chickens. The white of an egg is mostly water, but the solids in that egg white are just about pure protein. It would be the protein content that determines the consistency of the egg whites.

I currently live where it is unsafe to allow my chickens to free-range, but when I was able to let mine free-range, the first thing they did each morning was eat grasses, seeds, bugs & small plants all around them. Now I buy Organic greens and give some almost everyday. I'm giving Baby Kale right now. I store it in the fridge, just sprinkle a bunch on the ground and the girls gobble it right up. If you have access to freshly mowed grasses that are free of chemicals, this is a great food for chickens, too.

When keeping chickens I believe it is important to understand what their natural diet would consist of - the things they eat when out free- ranging. As you can imagine, pellets and crumbles aren't a natural diet for any animal. Chicken feeds were designed for convenience and are probably the best attempt at a balanced diet in a package - but they are cooked and processed.

I believe the more varied a diet chickens have, including raw foods, the better the eggs & their health. Chickens are a bit of a scavenger, but they love fruits, vegetables, grains & seeds, bugs, and leafy greens. They will eat just about anything with calories and nutrients. (Don't feed them citrus fruit or avocados, chocolate or caffeine! But many table scraps and left overs are great for chickens.)

You didn't say what you are feeding. I personally believe you should feed animals the best quality food you can afford. I never buy scratch grains as I find most of that poor nutrition. I buy Organic layer pellets & like to supplement the girls with whole raw seeds, like: Black Oil Sunflower, Safflower & Flax seeds. These whole raw seeds are totally digestible and provide proteins, fiber and good fat - as well as live enzyme rich plant food. I just sprinkle those seeds on the ground, but they can be in a feeder, too.

I'm guessing the thin egg whites are a sign that your girls need more protein in their diet. If you start feeding greens and whole seeds you will probably find that the color of the egg yolks improves to a more orange color. This is due to the beta carotene in fresh greens. Whole seeds will be a great supplement to crumbles or pellets as are vitamins & minerals. I generally give vitamins in water, but not every day, maybe once a week, especially in Winter and Summer.

Calcium is an important supplement for laying hens. It takes a lot of calcium to make an egg every 30 hours or so. Most layer feeds contain calcium, but I like to provide oyster shell, too.

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