It's been so cold over the past few days, I wouldn't want to lay an egg, would you? Thankfully my chickens don't feel that way!
I think the secret is in the feed. Our hens free range on grass, bugs and whatever they can find while scratching around on the ground. They always have fresh water. But in addition to free range foraging, I give them Non-GMO whole corn in the winter. I buy it from my son-in-law, so I'm supporting a local farmer.
Why not cracked corn? The center of the corn kernel is called the "germ." The germ is used to make corn oil. The leftovers are sold as cracked corn which does not contain the oil and nutrients of whole corn. So, it's basically a filler for them, and you may as well feed them gravel. Chickens have no trouble eating it and digesting whole corn with the help of their gizzard.
We supplement all of our animals with a variety of the scraps. The dogs get the meat scraps. The chickens and the sheep get the garden refuse. As we eat eggs, we crumble up the shells and give them right back to the chickens. They use the shells to help make strong egg shells when they lay eggs. It's sustainable!
In the summertime we use whole oats instead of corn. It has less of the oils needed for those cold winter days of egg production, and seems to be the perfect summertime food.
We have found quite a savings in buying whole grains and supplementing with scraps. Nothing is wasted. And who knows what is really in that bagged chicken feed anyway?
Chickens love old bread! So if you have old bread, I'll take it along with any scraps you may have. Don't throw it away! Find a use and you'll enjoy how good it makes you feel to be less wasteful.
This is what works for us. I'd love to hear your comments. Meanwhile, I have eggs for sale, only $2 a dozen!