Keeping Egg-layers

Since we are currently having a shortage of eggs due to the outbreak, there is no better time to get your garden coop ready and start getting free-range eggs in your own backyard.

How to get started:

Luckily, being a farming estate with Agri-1 Zoning, we don’t need to worry about any regulations involving keeping backyard chickens. Just check the estate architectural guidelines if you plan on having a larger coop to make sure it fits within the guidelines.

Make sure you choose the correct breed, you want to get the egg-laying breed, such as Amberlink or Hy-line for the best egg producers. Bantams and Silkies look cuter, but they are the poorest egg-layers in terms of quantity.

Decide on how many chickens you will need, depending on if you would like to use them for your household or a larger scale. Different chickens have different laying capabilities. If you want to get about a dozen eggs per week, you will need between 3-5 laying hens. Some breeds can produce about 250 – 300 eggs per year, while others may produce fewer. If you are aiming for a steady supply of eggs for a small household, then you may want to consider starting with 3-4 chickens.

Then you will need to build or purchase a chicken coop that provides enough space for your chickens to roost, nest, and move around comfortably. Make sure it is well ventilated and include nesting boxes for egg-laying and perches for roosting.

Keep the coop clean and provide insulation by using suitable bedding such as straw, wood shavings or hay.

Once you have got the coop sorted then you can welcome your chickens into their new home.


Once you’re up and running:

Make sure you regularly clean and maintain the coop to prevent disease and pests. Allow your chickens to roam and forage in the garden. They are good for turning the soil and eating pests in vegetable gardens.

Make sure they always have access to clean water. Feed your chickens a balanced diet to keep them healthy and continue to lay eggs.

Keep a chicken feed bin in the kitchen for veggie peels and other food scraps. Feed them vegetables and fruit to provide them with additional vitamins and minerals, such as leafy greens, cucumbers, carrots, and berries. Give them a high-quality commercial chicken feed especially for laying hens. Ensure the feed has at least 16% – 18% protein. You can supplement the commercial feed with grains such as corn, oats, barley, and whey. The chickens usually enjoy eating these. Protein rich treats are essential for egg production, an example of this is dried insects or grubs. Remember to keep the water containers clean and full.

Did you know you can crush the chickens egg shells and feed them back to the hens as a good source of calcium? Nothing like a circular economy.


Once your chickens are laying:

From 18-20 weeks old your hens should start producing eggs. Oyster shell is an important component of a laying hen’s diet that should always be offered to your birds free choice. Once your hens are laying you can feed them oyster shell. It is available from Takealot or larger pet shops. Laying hens will benefit in the following ways:

  • Added calcium that reduces the risk of egg breakage
  • Reduced risk of bone damage
  • Strengthens blood vessels
  • Protects and strengthens your chickens’ immune systems
  • Improves cardiovascular functioning


The change in our eggs since feeding them oyster shell is enormous (excuse the pun ;).

Once your chickens have made themselves at home and have started to produce eggs, you need to make sure you collect and store the eggs correctly. Collect eggs regularly to prevent them from being pecked, spoiled, or soiled. Once they’re out of the coop and free of any of the feathers and poop, eggs should be refrigerated. Although unwashed eggs with cuticles intact can safely be stored at room temperature, refrigerating your eggs will help them last longer; about 5-6 weeks.

Now that you have your freshly laid eggs, enjoy them with your breakfast, in a cake or try pickling them.