The business of poultry production specifically layer farming is a highly profitable business when done in the right way.
Layer farming should be taken seriously from conception, actualization. And during the production process.
Before you start the layer farming project. You need to be fully prepared and take the following issues into consideration:
- Farm location, access to a good road.
- Good source of water and electricity.
- The financial implication of the entire layer farming project.
- Be ready to sacrifice some of your leisure time especially at the onset of the project.
- You must possess genuine passion as a poultry owner and as a farmer.
- Be ready to be physically and actively involved in the entire farming project to see to its success.
A lot of people are enticed to start layer egg production. When they see a large number of eggs produce and the financial reward involved. Especially in some successful commercial layer farms.
But are easily taken aback, when confronted with the true statistics of the financial implication and the reality on the ground.
The truth of the matter is, in order to be successful in any layer farming you must be passionate about it.
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Site Preparation and Analysis for layer farming
In starting out your layer farming project you have to consider government regulations. Regarding the establishment of poultry farms within the locality, you want to establish the poultry farm.
Security of the layer farm and its workers. Access to good roads and a reliable source of electricity and a good water supply are paramount issues that are not be taken lightly.
Adequate provisions should be made to avoid future problems.
The farm should be placed as far as possible from other poultry farmhouses. Each phase of production should be treated as a separate batch. According to the principle of “ALL IN – ALL OUT”.
READ: Proven Ways to Keep Farm Thieves Away From Your Farm and Property
Layer Farming Requires Good Bio-security
Avoid keeping different types of birds on the same farm to avoid transmission of diseases. The birds should be of the same age, and breed from the same source.
The building should be constructed in such a way, that it can easily and thoroughly be cleaned and disinfected between flocks.
Equipment used in the layer farm should be designed for easy access. And removal for clean-out, maintenance, and biosecurity consideration.
In open-sided housing, it is important to have extended verandah for sun protection. It is also important to put predators such as rodents, snakes, and wild birds at bay. By placing wire netting and fencing over openings and ventilation inlets.
Control the entries into the layer farm facility. And restrict the movement of people into the layer farm with strict measures.
There should always be a designated time of the day, which visitors are allowed into the farm facilities.
Clean hands with soap. Wear protective clothing within the farm area. Provide specific protective clothing for veterinarians, consultants, etc.
Disinfect boots before entry into the layer farm, do not allow truck/Lorry drivers to enter the houses without proper screening.
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When the Chicks Arrive/Brooding Period
The brooding period is a very crucial and determining factor in your layer farming project. It is Important to warm the pullet house 24 hours prior to the chick’s arrival. A draft shield or guide is used to shield the chicks from draft air. And is usually fixed in a circular manner to avoid stampede at the corner.
The guide keeps the birds close to feeding, water, and heat. In some cases, young chicks become “lost” and succumb to the elements of weather if brooded in too large an area.
Draft shields can be removed after about 1 to 2 weeks unless conditions are extremely cold or drafty.
Wood shavings are used as litter to insulate the chicks from the ground. To improve the floor temperature.
Most importantly the litter must not be slippery. A slippery floor, such as cardboard, is disastrous for baby chicks. Many chicks will develop “spraddle legs,” a condition in which their hip joints become dislocated.
Which is nearly always fatal, it prevents the chicks to drink and feed properly. Leading to gradual emaciation and eventual death.
The Litter must be changed or top-dressed (clean litter added over the dirty one). If it becomes wet, the wet portion should be replaced with a fresh and dry litter immediately. It must be done periodically as the bird ages.
For small numbers of birds, heat usually is provided by heat lamps or light bulbs. Where there is no electricity in the layer farm charcoal stove is used to provide heat to the chicks.
Extreme care and caution must be taken in situations where charcoal stoves are used. The farm owner must periodically check the brooder to avoid fire outbreak.
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Managing Brooding Temperature Properly for Your Layer Farming Project
When large numbers (200 or more) are brooded together, it may be more economical to use propane hovers. Many types of hovers are available if desired.
The proper temperature must be maintained in the layer farm if the chicks are to thrive. The first few weeks of the chick’s life are to be taken seriously. With tender loving care (TLC) with constant care and observation.
Chicks are cold-blooded; that is, unable to maintain their body temperature, as they age. They become warm-blooded; that is, able to maintain constant body temperature. Under normal environmental conditions.
Two methods of monitoring chicks’ environmental temperature are used successfully with the help of a thermometer. First, start chicks at about 95°F (measured near the heat source at chick height). Dropping the temperature about 5°F each week until the birds are feathered or ambient temperature is reached.
On floor rearing, the distribution of chicks throughout the building should be uniform. If the chicks crowd together under the brooder: the temperature is too low.
If the chicks are close to the surround: the temperature is too high. Partitioning Facilities within the layer farm must be designed for maximum comfort. And must allow birds to express their natural behavior.
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When the birds reached 6 weeks of age it is recommended to introduce perches into their house.
- Perches are useful in layer farming, they utilize the available space thereby decreasing floor density.
- It helps the birds to jump around and serves as an escape route from aggressive birds.
- They provide safe haven for birds at the lower pecking order.
- Perches improve welfare by allowing the bird to express their natural behavior.
Birds on perches
- The litter is used to provide a near-natural environment for the layers.
- It allows the birds to dust bath.
- It helps in fighting ticks and lies.
- And the litter is used to cover the floor in the rearing /brooder house.
It usually consists of wood shavings or chopped straw. Litter is an important component of the rearing input. It must be well managed to prevent an unhealthy environment and potential disease conditions in the layer farm.
READ: How to Achieve Optimal Poultry Production with Good Deep Litter Management practice
Good quality wood shavings must be used as litter. To avoid the risk of introducing various diseases to the site. The following advice may assist in good litter management:
- Fresh shavings must be dried and friable, free from any odor or smell.
- Must be a suitable material and of good particle size.
- Be stored in dry, hygienic, rodent-proof premises.
- Avoid introducing wet or damp shavings into the rearing house.
- Do not use sawdust in your layer farm, as this could cause respiratory issues with chicks.
- Avoid wet or caked litter in your layer farm.
- Good litter when pressed in the hand should stick together slightly and break up as the hand released.
in order to be successful in layer farming, you have to provide good quality litter for your birds. Litter is important in the regulation of floor temperature and subsequently the chick’s body temperature.
The litter temperature should be approximately 30˚C at the time the chicks are placed on the floor.
This is very important for the development of the chick in the first few days as they cannot self-regulate their body temperature until approximately 7 days.
During the rearing period, the litter should be turned in every quarterly preferably in the early hours of the day especially in hot humid regions of the world to avoid heat stress.
You might also like to READ: Coccidiosis Disease of the lazy farmer
Beak Treatment in Layer Farming
In order to reduce the incidence of pecking, feed wastage’s and cannibalism it is recommended that the birds should be debeaked.
Beak treatment should be carried by trained personnel to avoid mistakes leading to the death of birds as a result of bleeding, or poor feeding abilities resulting from poor peak treatment.
Vitamin K is to be added to the drinking water to prevent ‘hemorrhages’. Beak treatment at about 10 days choose carefully the correct diameter hole on the beak-trimming machine, so as to cut the beak at least 2 mm from the nostrils.
How to Avoid Broodiness in Layer Farming
Broodiness is a common sight in layer farming. It can appear in certain flocks in cases of stress or when they are generally underweight.
Nutrient deficiency, heat stress, and any factors related to poor growth can lead to broodiness. Floor laying leads to broodiness, preventing floor laying, and frequent egg collection limits the amount of broodiness.
We advise isolation of broodies from the moment they appear (in the evening). Place them in a spacious pen, on concrete, hard surface, or slatted floor without a nest.
Treatment is made more effective by dipping the broodies in cold water for 20 to 30 seconds. And administering aspirin (a 125 mg tablet) before transfer to the broody pen.
The broody hen is then observed in a separate pen for a period of time. Until it losses its broodiness before returning it back to the rest of the flock.
READ ALSO: How a Broody Hen Can Reduce Your Profit Margin
|1 day||Marek’s disease||Subcutaneous back of the neck|
|14 –21 days||Newcastle/infectious bronchitis||Drinking water|
|14–21 days||Infectious bursal disease||Drinking water|
|5 week||Newcastle/infectious bronchitis||Drinking water|
|8–10 week||Newcastle/infectious bronchitis||Drinking water|
|10–12 week||Encephalomyelitis||Wing web|
|10–12 week||Fowlpox||Wing web|
|10–12 week||Laryngotracheitis||Intraocular or spray|
|10–14 week||Mycoplasma gallisepticumb|
|or 18 week|
|12–14 week||Newcastle/infectious bronchitis|
|16–18 week||Newcastle Disease (NDV Komarov)||Intramuscular injection|
|Every 60–90 days or 18 week||Newcastle/infectious bronchitis||Drinking water|
Feeding Regime and Water Consumption for your Layers
Water is an integral part of layer farming. Because it is an important constituent of the egg itself and the yolk.
In view of this, it is very important to the farmer. To provide clean and adequate water to the birds at all times.
Water consumption depends on the ambient temperature. Above 20°C. Consumption increases to enable the bird to maintain body temperature (respiratory evaporation). The actual consumption depends on the temperature and humidity of the ambient air.
When it comes to layer farming water should not be taken with levity. In a hot climate, it is essential to provide cool water for the birds. In a hot climate, cool water will improve productivity. It is extremely important to protect the water tanks from the direct sun’s rays. Preferably the tankers are placed under the shade or roof away from the direct sun-rays.
Various vitamins e.g vitamin C are also provided. Insoluble form to the birds to serve as anti-stress in extreme weather conditions.
Must layer to well with mash feed from six weeks old. For Rapid feed intake, it is recommended to allow for 2 to 3 hours of empty feeder to improve the appetite of the birds. To allow them to eat the feed lavishly and to get their crop filled up.
Birds usually eat more in the morning and evening. The crop is a storage organ that allows the bird to eat enough feed in the evening to satisfy its energy needs throughout the night.
A high-quality feed with clean adequate water supply coupled with a stringent bio-security regime. A proper regular veterinary consultation will yield a highly profitable layer farming, egg production business venture.
Also READ Broiler Farming: How to engage in profitable production.
Sale and Marketing of Your Eggs Is an Integral Part of Layer Farming
For you to enjoy the sweet reward of layer farming. After what seems to be an endless period of waiting. For your laying hens to start laying. Comes the selling and marketing period, For you to enjoy the fruits of your labor. You have to do it the proper way.
Ensure that your eggs are clean and fresh, packaging, and labeling it with a good brand name makes it look presentable and attractive. And at an advantage compared with the once without proper packaging.
READ: How to Market Your Farm Produce, Best Strategy to Adopt.
For small holder’s farm or backyard farming. Friends and family, grocery stores, supermarkets, and the community market will be the first point of call.
For larger layer farming operations contacting bakeries, factories that produce condiments, biscuits pastries that require eggs in large quantities.
Packaging and transporting your eggs to large urban areas, cities where demands for eggs are extremely high will provide a ready market for your product.
At what age do layers stop laying eggs? ›
As hens age they will naturally start laying fewer eggs with many hens slowing down production around 6 or 7 years of age and retirement shortly after. Many laying hens can live several years into retirement with average life expectancy between 8 and 10 years.How long does layers take to lay eggs? ›
The first egg often arrives when hens are 18 weeks old, subject to breed, environment and nutrition. A rooster is not necessary for egg production unless you want to have fertilized eggs for hatching.How many eggs can a layer chicken lay per day? ›
Egg-laying chickens lay up to one egg per day at their peak. But how do chickens lay eggs? And how often do chickens lay eggs? The process takes 24 – 26 hours per egg.How do I get my chickens to start laying eggs? ›
Making sure your chickens are getting enough daylight is crucial if you want them to lay eggs. To lay eggs, your chickens need plenty of natural daylight- at least 14 hours a day and 16 hours are even better. This is why battery hens are exposed to more than 17 hours of artificial light every day.What causes layers not to lay eggs? ›
Chickens stop laying eggs for a variety of reasons. Hens may lay fewer eggs due to light, stress, poor nutrition, molt or age. Some of these reasons are natural responses, while others can be fixed with simple changes and egg laying can return to normal.Can layers produce 2 eggs in one day? ›
Two Or More Eggs A Day? Chickens will sometimes release two yolks at the same time. This is most common with young hens who are maturing, or a sign that a bird is being overfed. Therefore, a chicken could potentially lay two eggs a day, but no more.How much feed do layers eat per day? ›
In layers, allow between 35-60g of feeds per chick, per day. Gradually introduce growers mash, giving 60-90g of feeds per pullet per day as you increase with age. Once the birds reach laying stage, provide a well-balanced formulated layers ration at about 110-140g of layers mash per day.How can I increase egg production in layers? ›
Food: To keep your flocks body functioning properly you need to supply nutrient rice units each day, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. For the laying flocks it is essential to provide them with 16 to 18 percent protein and 3 % calcium with their daily food to keep them strong and for strong egg shell.What time of day do chickens lay eggs? ›
Chickens are busy sleeping at night, and they will not wake up to lay an egg, but gather the strength and energy they need to lay the egg first thing in the morning. With an average production cycle of 26 hours, you can see that your hen will not lay at the exact same time from one day to the next.How do you know when chickens are ready to lay eggs? ›
- Chickens will be between 16-24 weeks old.
- Pullets look full grown with clean, new feathers.
- Combs and wattles have swollen and are a deep, red color.
- Bones in the hen's pelvis will begin to separate.
How many chickens will feed 12 eggs a day? ›
On average 13-15 chickens should be able to produce a dozen eggs a day for the best part of a year. A single hen is only capable of laying one egg a day, and there will be days when they don't lay eggs at all. Shortly after laying, the hen will start developing a new egg.Does cayenne pepper help chickens lay eggs? ›
According to old-timers, cayenne pepper can be added to your chickens' feed in the cold months to help warm up your chickens and boost egg production.Does yogurt help chickens lay eggs? ›
Please be advised that feeding yogurt to hens will NOT, can NOT and does NOT increase egg production! The truth is: chickens are not naturally equipped to digest milk sugars and yogurt can cause diarrhea leading to further health problems.Can you force a chicken to lay eggs? ›
While this can help your hens to figure out where to lay their eggs when it's time, it can't get them started laying any sooner than they would naturally. Kind of like you can't get a girl to start puberty just by handing her a baby to hold. Egg production starts when the body is mature enough and no sooner.What causes small egg size in layers? ›
- Breed. Some smaller breeds produce small eggs due to their body size, while some chicken breeds produce medium to large eggs. ...
- Ambient Temperature. ...
- Lighting Programs. ...
- Age of hen. ...
- Feed intake. ...
- Water consumption. ...
- Body weight and skeletal size. ...
In fact, eggs can actually be left in the coop for 4-5 weeks and still be fresh to eat. This is because unwashed eggs have a protective bloom, or cuticle, which naturally prevents bacteria from the outside of the egg from entering inside. When you wash eggs, this bloom is then also washed away.What is the best feed for layers? ›
For laying hens, we recommend a crumbed or pelleted feed (not a grain mix!) with a minimum of 17% protein and 4% calcium. For the average backyard layer right through to show quality birds, we usually recommend Showbird Breeder MP and Red Hen 17.What is the best grain to feed chickens? ›
The birds will readily eat whole wheat, whole oats or whole barley (but they can have difficulty eating whole corn). After about three weeks of eating whole grain, the hens' gizzards will increase in muscle mass and will grind the grain as efficiently as a hammer mill.What is the best time to feed layers? ›
The details of the recommended feeding technique are as follows: provide a morning feed (40% of the amount of feed), make sure feeders are empty at the middle of the day (for 1.0-1.5 hours in order to increase feed consumed at the end of the day), perform an afternoon feeding during 6 or 7 hours before light off moment ...What chickens lay 300 eggs a year? ›
The Leghorn is a heavy hitter in the chicken world, and with good reason. The average Leghorn is known to lay between 250-300 eggs per year!
How many fertile eggs can a hen lay after mating? ›
These findings all fall within a range of 12-30 days with the greater number of cases between 15 and 20. The number of fertile eggs from a single mating seems to be less variable. Philips (1918) offers five as the average, and Laurie (1919) finds five and six.Which chicken breed lays the most eggs? ›
- White Leghorn. These attractive birds can lay up to 300 large white eggs in their first year. ...
- Rhode Island Red. ...
- Ameraucana. ...
- New Hampshire Red. ...
- Sussex. ...
- Goldline (Hybrid) ...
- Plymouth Rock. ...
- Golden Comet.
If you overfeed your chickens, it could cause obesity, which can then lead to a range of health problems such as mobility issues, pressure sores, and becoming egg bound. To prevent these health conditions — some of which can be fatal — it's important to feed your backyard chickens the right type and amount of feed.Should layers be fed in the night? ›
In conclusion, providing midnight feeding in laying hens, which is a 1.5 to 2 hours light period in the middle of the dark period, has beneficial effects on the laying hens' performance.Can you feed chickens just layer feed? ›
Switch laying hens to a complete chicken layer feed when they start laying eggs around 18 weeks of age. Choose a complete layer feed that includes all the essential nutrients laying hens need to lay strong and stay strong. Then make the transition gradually over one week.How can I improve my egg quality in 30 days? ›
Preparing these fresh foods at home rather than ordering take out with numerous, unknown, and likely harmful ingredients will prepare your body for conception and a healthy pregnancy. Avoid sugar, alcohol, fried foods, and processed foods which can damage mitochondria, causing premature aging of the egg cells.What is the best vitamin for layers? ›
In particular, B vitamins are required for efficient nutrient utilization, and together with vitamin A are important to support the hens' metabolic activity for maintenance and high laying performance. Furthermore, both vitamins C and E improve the birds' resistance to stress, and help sustain health and longevity.How can I increase my chances of fertilizing my eggs? ›
- Start tracking your menstrual cycle (if you haven't already) ...
- Identify your fertile window and start tracking ovulation. ...
- Have frequent sex during your fertile window. ...
- Lay down and relax for a few minutes after sex. ...
- Make sure you're using a fertility-friendly lubricant. ...
- Strive for a healthy lifestyle for you and your partner.
Pullet eggs are the first eggs laid by hens at about 18 weeks old. These young hens are just getting into their egg-laying groove, meaning these eggs will be noticeably smaller than the usual eggs you come across. And that's where the beauty in them lies — quite simply, they are delicious.Can chickens get rained on? ›
Chicken feathers are somewhat waterproof, so letting them out is fine. Letting your birds out prevents overcrowding, boredom and the diseases that go along with a wet chicken coop. Not all birds appreciate going out, but almost all will seek shelter and dry off before they get dangerously soaked.
How should I wash fresh eggs? ›
Wash eggs in warm water.
The warm tap water will draw out any dirt and bacteria from the shell; cold water can cause bacteria to go below the surface of the eggshell. Avoid any cleaning agents such as bleach, soap, or detergent. Eggshells are porous, so any chemicals will pass through the shell pores into the eggs.
Egg laying is largely dependent on the length of the day, and most hens will stop laying when they receive fewer than 12 hours of daylight.Will chickens lay eggs if they're too cold? ›
Chickens slow down or even stop egg production during the fall and winter due to the shorter hours of light and colder weather. These changes signal their bodies to rest to conserve energy and stay warm rather than continue laying eggs.Can chickens go broody before laying eggs? ›
It is possible for a pullet to go broody before she ever lays her first egg. To the extent possible, leave broodies alone.How cold can chickens live in? ›
Chickens can survive quite well with temperatures down into the teens. In fact, if you place a thermometer in your coop overnight, you will likely find the temperature has been maintained in the thirty to forty-degree area. Each chicken has generated enough heat to keep themselves and their flock mates warm.What does a dark egg yolk color mean? ›
Actually, yolk color depends almost entirely on pigments in the food chickens eat. If a hen eats plenty of yellow-orange pigments called xanthophylls, those pigments will make a darker orange egg yolk. When hens eat feed containing yellow corn or alfalfa meal, they lay eggs with medium-yellow yolks.How many chickens can you have in a 10x10 coop? ›
A chicken needs about 4 square-feet per bird inside the coop. That means a 10x10 coop would comfortably hold 25 birds. Remember, they also need about 10-12 inches per bird to roost on at night.What does black pepper do to chickens? ›
In summary, black pepper can be added to diets for laying hens as a phytogenic additive without harming the production performance and egg quality. However, this inclusion causes a reduction in eggshell percentage and an increase in the level of triglycerides in the bloodstream.Does cinnamon help chickens? ›
Cinnamon contains very active compounds, including essential oils (EOs) and phenolics, which possess potent anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant activities that act as defensive agents against oxidative damage in the chicken intestinal tract.Does apple cider vinegar help chickens lay eggs? ›
Adding ACV is an easy addition to a flock's diet for good health and boosted immune systems. By adding ACV just once a week, chicken owners can support healthy chickens without breaking the bank. It's especially nice for egg production in laying hens since it clears out the gut so they can produce clean eggs.
What are the best treats for egg laying chickens? ›
Lettuce, kale, turnip greens and chard are great greens options. Watermelon, strawberries, and blueberries make healthy snacks for chickens when fed in moderation. A few flock favorites include: Vegetables: Lettuce, beets, broccoli, carrots, kale, swiss chard, squash, pumpkins and cucumbers.What stimulates chickens to start laying eggs? ›
An increase in day length is a key driver to encouraging hens to lay eggs. To do their best work, laying hens prefer at least 16 hours of light and 8 hours of dark. If your hen reaches 18 weeks of age during the fall or winter when daylight hours are shorter, then consider adding supplemental light to the coop.What to feed chickens for best tasting eggs? ›
Fat added to chicken diet can supposedly make eggs taste better. Things like corn oil or beef tallow can purportedly make eggs taste better.Should you feed chickens cracked corn? ›
Cracked corn is a great treat for chickens. Because it is high in carbohydrates, it is particularly good in the winter months. But, like all treats, cracked corn should be fed in moderation. Never give your birds more than they will eat in 10-20 minutes.How many nesting boxes do I need for 6 chickens? ›
A good rule of thumb is a ratio of one nesting box for every four chickens.What time of year do hens go broody? ›
It's hard to predict when a hen will go broody, but generally you won't see a young hen going broody during their first laying season. Hens are most likely to go broody in the Spring as the warm weather is a signal to them to hatch and raise chicks.Do chickens stop laying eggs after 2 years? ›
Healthy chickens lay eggs most reliably in their first 2 to 3 years. After that, egg production will taper off.Do layers lay eggs without mating? ›
Healthy female chickens, known as hens, are able to lay eggs, whether or not a rooster is present. Eggs will be unfertilized if the hen has no access to a rooster, which means the egg will never develop and hatch into a chick.Do chickens stop laying eggs in winter? ›
While there are some things you can do to help keep egg production going all year round, it's perfectly normal for hens to slow down or stop laying eggs during the winter months. Before you know it, spring will arrive, and with it, longer days and a return to laying eggs.How many hens per rooster should you have? ›
Summary. In a standard backyard flock, a rooster should have no less than four hens. If you have fewer hens, you might want to keep the rooster penned for a couple of days a week so that the girls get a break, especially in springtime which is really the beginning of the mating season.
Do hens know if eggs are fertilized? ›
A hen does not know if her eggs are fertilised or not. In fact (much like a human) a rooster can be infertile, so a hen's eggs might not be fertilised even if she is in a flock with a rooster. Many modern breeds and commercial hybrid hens will do nothing with their eggs other than lay them and walk away.How do you tell if an egg has a chick in it? ›
If you crack it open, a fertile egg can be identified by a small white circle on the yolk, that has a 'bullseye' like shape - i.e. one small white circle, with another white ring on the outside of it. This is created by a cluster of cells that, if incubated, will hopefully develop into a baby chick.Can you eat a fertilized chicken egg? ›
Now you know, fertilized eggs are completely safe to eat—unless you've neglected to care for them or wash the eggs…or you've let your broody hen have her eggs for longer than normal. You can safely eat your fertilized eggs without any worries. It's truly no different than an unfertilized egg.How cold is too cold for chickens? ›
The answer is if temperatures begin to drop below -25ºC (-13ºF) inside your chicken coop consistently, it is likely too cold for your chickens. Your chickens won't necessarily die if exposed to temperatures this cold, but it will quickly lead to other health issues, such as frost bite and bronchitis.Do chickens always lay eggs at night? ›
Do chickens lay eggs at night? The short answer to this question is simply “no”. Movies like Chicken Run may have lead us to believe that many chickens sit in their nesting boxes at night, gradually easing an egg out of its vent in their sleep.