Originally Posted by artsyrobin
Honestly they need that break in the winter, its will help them later lay better and stay healthy- I have hens still laying at 6, don't do light, feel they need that recharge every year- laying takes alot out of them
My belief is, that Robin is correct in this assertion.
But, I have birds for 1 reason. Food. If they're not producing eggs, then they should be producing meat. Mine free range every day, and, other than the artificial light, combined with high quality feed, mine aren't given anything else artificial, to stimulate production.
I'm getting 8-10 eggs a day (I got a total of 8 yesterday, and already 7 this morning) now, and I counted 32 hens, this morning. That means that I'm getting 1 egg, per 4 hens, per day. I don't think that is pushing them too hard. Especially, considering that they're getting high quality feed, AND get to free range every day, supplementing their diet with bugs and plants that just aren't in their feed.
Now, I have a breeding question, for the more experienced breeders among us.
I pretty much stopped breeding, in June. It was getting too hot, and with no A/C there was just no way to regulate temp, very well. With the cold weather, I'm able to keep the temp pretty constantly warm and comfortable. So, I want to start breeding, for the upcoming Spring. I've already been getting some requests for specific breeds.
Here's my situation, that brings up a question. Once I stopped breeding in late June, I put pretty much all of my birds in general population, in the big coop. If I wish to start breeding true, how long do I need to keep the girls separated from the boys of a different breed? I'm thinking I recall someone telling me two to three weeks. I'm guessing that should be sufficient. But, I'd like some confirmation, from those of you, with more experience.