What is your opinion about pullets that continue to lay strong during a hard molt? I've got one Australorp and one Barred Rock that are currently molting hard, but both are still consistently giving me at least 5 large eggs per week, whereas pre-molt they would each lay non-stop for up to 47 days before taking a day off. I mean, obviously this equates to more eggs in their first egg-laying year, but in your experience, does this tendency lend itself to something like burn-out, or early cessation of laying years?
I will fall back to my talking points, LOL. She is the sum of her parts, and she has been evaluated over an entire laying cycle. This one point does not tell me everything about her. By this time, you should know her pretty well, and have your own answer already.
BUT . . . my experience has been that these are good layers. I am only reluctant to say that publicly because people will latch on to that. Then if they see it, their mind is made up. Regardless of what she did the rest of the year.
I do not concern myself with burn out as I do longevity. Bee just mentioned our evaluation being short. I agree and disagree. My evaluation is the pullet year. 98% of the time, the best laying pullets are the best laying hens. The best laying pullet is usually the best laying hen in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year etc.
There can eventually be some overlap with inferior fowl. Some that do not do well early in their life can maintain at a similar rate for some time and eventually do as well as the better birds. This hen is not to be commended however. Mediocrity should never be applauded. Truthfully, she should have been killed long ago.
So though I do not see a lot of value in counting her eggs past the second year, hopefully she is kept beyond her second year. I want to promote longevity by breeding older birds. That is how you promote health and longevity. By breeding older birds that have stood the test of time.
There are birds that never give us a reason to cull them. They are our true keepers. We fashion for ourselves all kinds of reasons to keep this bird and that bird. However, the birds that we emphasize are the ones that repeatedly, year after year, out perform their peers. And we do compare them to their peers. No others but their own generation.