Support your chickens during spring flush

Support your chickens through spring flush

Support your chickens during spring flush

Have you noticed that your hens have started laying more eggs recently? Have you ever heard of spring flush?
Spring flush is a natural process that comes from when chooks were pecking around in the wild and doing their best to thrive. In this blog post we’ll talk about what spring flush is, what causes it and how you can support your chickens during spring flush. 

What is spring flush?

Spring flush is when a chicken that is of laying age starts to naturally increase the amount of eggs she is laying. It’s a throwback to her ancestors wilder days when they would have relied solely on scavenging to get the nutrients they needed not only to survive but to hatch and raise chicks.
Winter is not a good time for chicks to hatch in the wild due to the cold temperatures and low food availability. The chances of chicks surviving and thriving hatching in winter would be low. Spring on the other hand is warmer, the plants are growing and their are bugs and food sources popping up everywhere! So as soon as it looks like spring is coming…it’s game on for chickens! 
Though most of our hens aren’t wild anymore, this reproductive drive is still high, even in laying hens that aren’t breeding flocks. But it isn’t quite as simple as ‘eggs galore’! Egg production would increase as chickens captured the increased food availability, but domestic hens are reliant on us for providing most of their diet, so we need to boost their diet accordingly. More about this below.

What causes spring flush?

Let’s look at the science behind spring flush. Birds have a gland in their brain called the Pineal Gland, which is light sensitive, and works a bit like a biological clock and calendar. It regulates their growth, reproduction and hormones.
When daylight hours increase it signals to the bird that winter is ending and spring is coming (and with it warmer temperatures and higher food availability) so it is a good, safe time to hatch and raise chicks. 
It’s the pineal gland that also picks up on decreasing daylight hours and triggers processes like moulting and decreased egg production in winter. 
laying hen feed nutrients

Supporting chickens through spring flush

A healthy chicken can lay somewhere between 4 and 6 (or more) eggs per week, depending on their age. Modern layers can produce this volume of eggs subject to getting an adequate and balanced diet. The two most important nutrients for egg laying are protein and calcium. Why??

A chicken needs protein for her own maintenance and body building (her first priorities) in addition to the amount required for egg production. Eggs are very high in protein and if we looked at some calculations, the average egg contains around 6.5g of protein. That protein put into making that egg needs to come from what your hen eats! 

Did you know: The egg white contains 10% protein (and around 87% water). The egg yolk contains 16% protein (as well as 32% fat and 50% water).

So if a modern laying hen needs a MINIMUM of 15-16% protein in her 100g of feed each day, then during periods of increased laying (or increased protein use like moulting) a hen can actually benefit from even higher levels of protein in her diet. Having enough protein helps to support her health, function AND laying, and avoid depression of egg production. 

The same is true for calcium, because a typical egg shell contains around 2.5g of Calcium. This amount (and more – around 4 grams due to inefficiency of converting feed Calcium into shell) is required for a good egg production and good quality of the shell. The hens usually have a Calcium reservoir in their bones which they can use, but it is fairly small; around 20 grams. It is rapidly depleted in the absence of a sufficient amount in the feed eaten by the hen. It is, therefore, extremely important to provide them with 4 grams of Calcium, (4% in 100 grams of feed), daily.

So in summary:

To help support your hens through spring flush, make sure you:

  • Offer a high protein, high calcium complete laying feed
  • Offer a complete laying feed ad lib. Chickens are great self regulators so will eat what they need
  • Prioritise your laying feed over scraps and foraging. Most modern backyards and scraps offer low nutritional value to chickens, instead filling them up without the goodness. Offer a complete feed first before letting them out or offering scraps. 

our spring flush essentials...

Premium Laying Crumbles 20kg Bag Image

Premium laying crumbles

Premium laying crumbles are our high protein, complete and balanced laying feed in a crumbled form. Containing minimum 18% protein and 4.1g of calcium to support superior health and laying.

Vegetarian feed

Premium Laying Pellets 20kg Bag Image

Premium laying Pellets

Premium laying Pellets are our high protein, complete and balanced laying feed in a crumbled form. Containing minimum 18% protein and 4.1g of calcium to support superior health and laying

Vegetarian feed

Laying Mash

Laying Mash is a high protein, complete and balanced laying feed in a mash form to encourage natural selection. Containing minimum 16% protein and 3.5g of calcium to support optimum health and laying.

TandR_Budget Laying Pellets_20kg bag image

budget laying Pellets

Budget Laying Pellets are our complete and balanced laying feed that performs like our premium options when paired with a high quality scavenging and scrap diet. Containing minimum 15% protein and 4.1g of calcium to support optimum health and laying.

Vegetarian feed

Ally Doumany
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