James and I were doing a little hen-housekeeping last week and discovered the best before dates on one of our giant 20kg bags of organic mixed corn was fast approaching. In a bid not to waste it, we have been treating the flock to an unusually large ration of the golden grain (normally, it’s just one or two handfuls of it in the afternoon), which the rabble, of course, have been polishing off no problem. It’s also not as nutritious as their staple pellets containing barley, maize, oats and wheat. I reckon corn is to hens what Green & Blacks milk chocolate is to me: there’s no holding back.
The girls have been working their way through it nicely, but the surplus corn has had the opposite effect on daily egg yields which have plummeted dramatically. Just three offerings from the 15-strong hybrid flock on Wednesday and only five yesterday so unfortunately something had to give and it’s the usual Friday box of half-a-dozen eggs for my most regular customer, Country Living‘s art editor Chris’s. I don’t know quite how I’m going to break it to him.
I’d heard that overfeeding has an effect on laying but didn’t realise there was such a direct correlation. Has anyone else experienced this? Suffice to say, corn distribution has been reduced to normal, pre-surplus levels – using it up was definitely a false economy – and we’re hoping egg production will resume to respectable numbers in time for weekend deliveries to friends and family.