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Adding to flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Tootie123, Aug 3, 2013.

  1. Tootie123

    Tootie123 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 25, 2012
    Atlanta Georgia USA
    I have nine chickens, two of which are almost 1 1/2 yrs. old, rest are almost
    a year old. When do chickens quit laying eggs? I would like to keep
    at least 8-10 chickens at all times. Coop can't support any more than
    that. Don't want any roosters, just hens.
    I order chicks but when should I order more so will have a constant
    supply of eggs? Don't really know at what age chickens stop laying?
    How do you tell which ones are laying and which ones aren't.....?????
    My Mother and Dad used to take the ones that weren't laying and
    put them "in the pot" as Dad used to say years ago. Don't know
    how they knew which ones weren't laying eggs anymore.
    Thanks
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    19,944
    3,102
    476
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Good questions. Each hen is an individual so will do whatever she does. On average a flock of hens with enough hens for the averages to mean anything will drop about 15% to 20% in number of eggs laid after the second adult molt. After the first adult molt, the number doesn’t drop and the eggs are a bit bigger than before the molt. It’s not that they quit laying, just that the productivity drops.

    This article might help you determine which are laying.

    Pigmentation to Evaluate Laying
    http://www.ca.uky.edu/smallflocks/Factsheets/Evaluating_egg_laying_hens.pdf

    A pullet will often skip the molt and continue laying throughout her first winter and continue to lay until her first adult molt the following autumn. But when they lay a really long time without molting like that, their productivity drops and the quality of the egg can suffer some. Molting is not just about replacing worn-out feathers. It recharges their laying system.

    A lot of us use the strategy of introducing new pullets every year. Let’s say your base flock is 8 laying hens. So introduce 4 new pullets in the spring. (Or a few more if you want to evaluate their laying before you cull to your permanent layers) The odds are pretty decent you will get eggs from some of these all winter.

    Keep the four pullets from the previous year and let them go through the fall molt. They will quit laying while they molt and use the nutrition that was going into egg production to grow new feathers.

    Keep the four hens from the previous year until they start to molt. You’ve already fed them through a winter molt and they should be laying a fair number of really nice sized eggs. It would be a shame to eat them while they are laying so well. But as soon as they start to molt, eat them.

    Using this strategy there will be times you have 12 laying hens and pullets, not your base 8 unless you do eat the older ones as the pullets start with those little pullet eggs.

    Some people add an extra year into this rotation, replacing 1/3 of their hens every year, not ½. Some people just totally replace their laying flock every two to three years. Get a new batch of pullets and when they start laying, remove the older ones.

    Hopefully this will help you plan what will work for you. Good luck!
     
  3. Tootie123

    Tootie123 Out Of The Brooder

    80
    2
    41
    Jul 25, 2012
    Atlanta Georgia USA
    Hummmm.....I will print that article and keep it on hand. My mind
    will never remember all of that.
    None of my chickens have molted yet......probably this Fall the
    older two will. They will be almost two years in age.
    Have to see, as you say "each is an individual.
    I suppose sometime either next Spring or Fall will buy a
    few more chicks.
    Where does one take chickens to have them butchered?
    Probably could look on Internet for someone in my area
    who does that. Live very close to a commercial chicken
    packing plant in Gainesville, Ga.
    but don't think that would take care of my few chickens.
    I would probably do that once I determine chickens are no
    longer laying. I don't think I could kill my hens, they all
    have names. Mercy Me....shouldn't name them!!!!!
    My Dad and Mom raised chickens for eggs and consumption
    never as pets......
    Thanks for you help.......
     

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