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Winter egg laying and artificial lighting. - Page 2

post #11 of 18

thanks for your post makes sense will have to figure out a way to close up 4th side some. their roosts are half metal conduit and half pvc pipe. they seemed to prefer the conduit initially but have discovered the larger pvc ones now .I had put them in hoping that during winter they would naturally gravitate to those over the metal. Will have to take a look at their roof coverings as well we have a 10x10 tractor with half roof made out of poly tarps

post #12 of 18
Personally I’d change those roosts to wood. Metal and PVC conduct heat pretty well. That’s probably why you saw frostbite on their feet. I don’t care if you use a 2x4 flat or on edge or something round like tree branches, they all work and each has their own proponents. But in cold climates wood is safer than metal or PVC for roosts.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by usedhobarts View Post

...... In my opinion unless your a commercial egg producer and are continually turning over flock artificial lighting should not be used. .....

...oooorrrrr you have a very limited space and income and can't afford to house and feed non producers.

Mine either give me eggs or they give me meat, they are not pets they are for food.

Even tho I have a small flock in the backyard, I do turn over the population every year.

 

Lighting is tricky and complex, it takes monitoring, careful awareness and application.

I've seen numerous stories here where it is haphazardly applied with haphazard results not tracked for the longer view.

 

First couple years I did see unseasonal molts and summer production drop in the older birds,

but I had not monitored the lighting carefully enough and started it too late in the year.

 

This year I started lighting earlier(aug/sept) and kept better track of it in conjunction with the sun, most yearlings molted and some are back to production already.

Time will tell how they fare over the coming spring/summer, the best layers will be used to produce chicks in late winter/spring, and most of them will be harvested for meat next fall.

 

Lots of ways to skin a cat....or keep chickens.

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridgerunner View Post

One of the myths is that day length is really important. It has a small part, mostly in the daily routine of when a hen releases a yolk to start making an egg in her internal egg making factory, but it’s not the most important thing by far. What has the most influence is the days getting longer or shorter. Whether you are close to the equator where the longest day or longest night may be 13 hours or way far away where your longest day or longest night might be 17 hours, it’s the days getting longer or shorter that triggers the molt and regulates their annual cycle.

If you are going to add lights you need to look at the length of day when you start them and look at the length of day when you stop them. If you stop the lights in the spring before you have matched daylight, you can trigger a molt by artificially making the days shorter, even if without the lights they are getting longer.

Usedhobarts, I think that is what happened to you. By stopping the lights you caused an out of season molt and they’ve been confused ever since. Without artificial lights they should molt this fall/winter and get straightened out.

After her second adult molt and every adult molt after that a flock’s overall production normally drops noticeably. A range normally given is between 15% and 20% each molt. Note that I said flock, not individual hen. Each hen is an individual and may or may not follow this trend, but if you have enough chickens for the averages to mean anything you’ll notice this happening.

A hen is hatched with a specific number of ova that can develop into yolks and start eggs. According to a poultry science reproductive expert, it is possible but highly unlikely a hen can use up all her ova. It is also possible due to some medical condition her ova just don’t work right to form eggs. In the profession those are known as slick hens. But for a backyard flock hen to become slick is pretty rare. Even the really good layers don’t lay that much.

Farmer55, any time the temperature is below freezing, frostbite is possible, but plenty of people take chickens through temperatures as low as minus 40 without frostbite issues. If yours are getting frostbite at +10 you have something that can be corrected. With your roost area open on one side you are getting plenty of ventilation. Lack of ventilation (which raises moisture) is a normal cause of frostbite but I don’t see that being your problem. What are you using for roosts? If it’s wood you should be OK, but if it is metal or something that conducts heat really well that could be freezing their toes. With one side open, I suspect they had a cold wind hitting them that was the cause. I’d try blocking the wind from that side also. Try to avoid creating a wind tunnel where the wind channels through.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by aart View Post
 

...oooorrrrr you have a very limited space and income and can't afford to house and feed non producers.

Mine either give me eggs or they give me meat, they are not pets they are for food.

Even tho I have a small flock in the backyard, I do turn over the population every year.

 

Lighting is tricky and complex, it takes monitoring, careful awareness and application.

I've seen numerous stories here where it is haphazardly applied with haphazard results not tracked for the longer view.

 

First couple years I did see unseasonal molts and summer production drop in the older birds,

but I had not monitored the lighting carefully enough and started it too late in the year.

 

This year I started lighting earlier(aug/sept) and kept better track of it in conjunction with the sun, most yearlings molted and some are back to production already.

Time will tell how they fare over the coming spring/summer, the best layers will be used to produce chicks in late winter/spring, and most of them will be harvested for meat next fall.

 

Lots of ways to skin a cat....or keep chickens.

Good points all.  And the discussion in this thread points out that there are many different styles of keeping a flock.  Starting with the:  chickens are pets, and will stay in the flock through their geriatric years, and will never be culled... moving on to the: chickens are livestock, they will produce eggs, or produce meat.  My first flock... (this time around) spent their winter without light.  I had one EE who faithfully gave me 3 eggs/week.  Everyone else went on winter break.  The second winter, I had a bigger flock and decided that they were not going to be free loaders.  They got light, and again this year, I started light in Sept.  I made sure to add the light slowly, increasing about 1/2 hour/week.   Aart, I have a few ?'s for you:  How do you segregate your flock to choose the best of the eggs from your best layers?  I'm puzzled by my girls.  Some of them have molted, but... a few have done only a partial molt.  With or without light, I had one RIR who would be completely naked mid winter.  I would have expected the chicks that I hatched 3/14 to do a fall moult, but... only one has.  

Jesus Christ is my pilot.

My husband of 41 years is my best friend and co-pilot.

Enjoying my gardens.  My flock are my garden helpers.

Breeding a winter hearty flock with small combs and colored eggs.

Favorite breeds:  Dominique and EE.  Hatching addict.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1084432/egg-gender-selection-survey

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1013154/byc-member-interview-laz...

Reply

Jesus Christ is my pilot.

My husband of 41 years is my best friend and co-pilot.

Enjoying my gardens.  My flock are my garden helpers.

Breeding a winter hearty flock with small combs and colored eggs.

Favorite breeds:  Dominique and EE.  Hatching addict.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1084432/egg-gender-selection-survey

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1013154/byc-member-interview-laz...

Reply
post #15 of 18
I have infrared heat lamps in the coop 24/7 and an Ottligh (produced light similar to daylight) on a timer to balance the days.
post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by lazy gardener View Post
 
....   Aart, I have a few ?'s for you:  How do you segregate your flock to choose the best of the eggs from your best layers? ...

I only have 14 layers and most have eggs that look different enough(color and/or shape) that I can tell who is laying what.

My yearlings are easy to tell, but the pullets not so much but they are from my 2 best yearling layers so I have a good line(s) going.

I bred for color and luckily my blue and green layers were also prolific layers, will use the same cock next year and hatch the biggest eggs.

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #17 of 18
I know you asked Aart but I’ll jump in. First you have to decide what you mean by best eggs and best layers. Are you best eggs based on size, frequency, color, or something else? Are your best hens based on feather color or pattern, frequency of laying, going broody, fast molting (these look really ragged when they molt but get it over with faster), winter laying, or something else. “Best” is pretty nebulous, you need to decide what your criteria are. To me that is the most important step so I think it needs to be mentioned.

My flock is also fairly small so I have a pretty good handle on which hen lays which egg. When I have pullets coming in to lay, I mark each one so I can tell them apart (I use zip ties which doesn’t help when they are on the nest and the ties are hidden). I made some of my nests so I can lock a hen in there if I want to. So when I catch one of the pullets on a nest, I lock her in there until she lays the egg, checking under her first to make sure there is not another egg already in there. When I let her out I check the zip ties and keep notes. With my memory I have to keep notes.

I have seen pullets and hens on one nest and when I come back later they are on another nest more often than you would think. Just because a pullet is on a nest does not mean an egg there when she leaves is hers.

I pay attention to the pullets, not just eggs but behaviors, and butcher the ones that I don’t want to add to my permanent laying/breeding flock. Sometimes some of those choices are pretty hard but normally most are pretty easy.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply
post #18 of 18

Last year, it was easy, b/c my laying flock was smaller.  This year, not so much.  Agreed, it would be best to cull the undesirable birds before gathering eggs for hatch.  That way, mistakes can't be made with those birds!  Lock nests, also helpful (not an option for me without some major brain cramps), as is smaller flock size, and birds with distinct color/shaped eggs.  My flock criteria includes small combs (Pea, rose, walnut) and colorful egg basket, as well as frequent layers.  So, obviously, I'll want to take that into consideration.  Most likely, first step would be to take a look at how well they lay through the winter, and perhaps get the consistent layers banded.  I know that some folks divide their flock up when it comes time to choose hatching eggs from the best hens.  I do have somewhat of that option with the old coop being available. 

Jesus Christ is my pilot.

My husband of 41 years is my best friend and co-pilot.

Enjoying my gardens.  My flock are my garden helpers.

Breeding a winter hearty flock with small combs and colored eggs.

Favorite breeds:  Dominique and EE.  Hatching addict.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1084432/egg-gender-selection-survey

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1013154/byc-member-interview-laz...

Reply

Jesus Christ is my pilot.

My husband of 41 years is my best friend and co-pilot.

Enjoying my gardens.  My flock are my garden helpers.

Breeding a winter hearty flock with small combs and colored eggs.

Favorite breeds:  Dominique and EE.  Hatching addict.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1084432/egg-gender-selection-survey

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1013154/byc-member-interview-laz...

Reply
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