CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Country Smallholding today CLICK HERE

Get happy hens – and eggs to die for

PUBLISHED: 11:31 23 February 2015 | UPDATED: 11:31 23 February 2015

A happy hen

A happy hen


Feeding advice from Philip Lee-Woolf of Legbars of Broadway

With a single bird producing up to 18kg of eggs per annum, and over 65 million tonnes of eggs produced worldwide - the amazing hen takes efficiency and productivity to the extreme. To top this, every egg is packed with enough vitamins, minerals and protein to provide a healthy meal for one person. Do we take all this for granted? Extreme productivity comes at a price - if the nutritional requirements and lifestyle are not fully catered for, the bird and egg quality will both suffer.

There are lots of excellent quality layers feeds available, and this should form the major part of the diet, available at all times of day, but things can go wrong after manufacture, so always check the ‘use by date’ before opening. Most suppliers apply a three month date, but some micro nutrients can start to deteriorate soon after manufacture, so use feed as fresh as possible. Always inspect for signs of mildew, or a flat or musty odour, rather than a rich fresh aroma, and return to the retailer, if in doubt.

Laying hens, should be seen as athletes, with strong, firm muscles, the minimum of surplus fat (inside and out), boundless energy, and endless vigour. One of the greatest threats to these feathered athletes, are over-indulgent owners who fill their pets with starchy, fatty treats - much better to offer something healthy, like a whole cabbage. If your hen eats 130g of feed a day, every gram of junk food will displace the same weight, or more, of a healthy, well balanced layers ration.

However, good feeding should never be viewed in isolation, a truly free range hen will spend most of her waking hours on the move, foraging, dust bathing, walking and running. Given freedom, she’ll plan her own fitness programme, and top up with a healthy mix of insects, worms and vegetable matter from the garden. The result – a happy hen, and eggs to die for!

For more information, visit:


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Country Smallholding visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Country Smallholding staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Country Smallholding account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Most Read

Newsletter Sign Up

Country Smallholding monthly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

This Year’s Shows

Country Smallholding cover image

Don’t miss our comprehensive guide to rural events

Find out more

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter