BEST winter layer.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Backyard Barb, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. Backyard Barb

    Backyard Barb Out Of The Brooder

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    We are planning our flock for next year and are particularly interested in hens that lay well during the winter. The breed index lists many birds in the category of high egg production but we dont need zillions of eggs in the summer. I know there are things you can do with light to get them to lay more in winter, but we would like a bird who naturally lays well year round even in cold dreary weather. Some must be better than others. We are in Brisbane, California.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. blueseal

    blueseal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    WALDOBORO MAINE
    sex links aka, golden comets, red stars, black stars, rhode island reds, barred rocks, white leghorns, if you dont mind white eggs the leghorns are the best all year round layers for me. hardly miss a day of laying. mine are laying a egg a day right now with no added light in the coop. i got them as chicks in march and they started laying in july and havent missed a beat. i just bought some golden comets that are 7 months old and just started laying , they crank the brown eggs out too.
     
  3. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Speckled sussex are supposed to be good winter layers, as are buff orpingtons. My buffs have laid well in winter. Several have hardly noticable drop in egg production durring shorter days. I ordered a speckled sussex this year for winter egg production, and though none of mine are producing eggs yet, going by comb/wattle color and development, she should be laying any day. The other girls all still have much paler and less developed combs and wattles. I did hear from another BYC member that their speckled sussex were the worst winter layers...I think it really has a lot to do with what lines you purchase within any particular breed....where do you plan on getting your stock from? Breeders are going to have birds that produce far differently than birds from hatcheries. The numbers of eggs and seasons in which they are layed may be very dependant on the line that you get your birds from.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2011
  4. Daisy8s

    Daisy8s Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My New Hampshire Red still averages an egg a day even with the short winter days that are often overcast here in Michigan. And, I do not provide any supplemental light.
     
  5. johnsons-r-us

    johnsons-r-us Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine are all laying the same now as they did a couple of months ago. And we are having temps below freezing. Even my EE's are laying 5 per week. Mine are all first year pullets though....so maybe it's not fair to compare.
     
  6. crazyhen

    crazyhen Overrun With Chickens

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    Most but not all hens will lay their first winter. Its your second winter you need to worry about. Most hens will molt in the last of their second year and not lay while molting. The sexlinks seem to lay during this time but come the 3rd yr they too seem to stop for awhile. I get a few chicks each spring when I can to ensure eggs in the winter months. The canadian breed chantaclers ? spelling is suppose to be bred for winter and cold weather laying. There are others also. At this time my feeble brain will not let me recall them. [​IMG] I am sure you will get more answers on this. Be sure they give you the second and 3rd winter laying ability as well. [​IMG] Gloria Jean
     
  7. Southernbelle

    Southernbelle Gone Broody

    Mar 17, 2008
    Virginia
    Quote:That's the key!

    Ensuring a winter supply of eggs is all about timing, rather than breed. Chickens will always lay best in the first year of laying and some breeds have higher production than others (although the high volume layers tend to burn out fast). My suggestiion would be to raise a few sex-links or Leghorns in mid to late summer so that they begin laying at the beginning of winter, ensuring a winter supply of eggs. I bought 3 white Leghorns in August and they should start laying around Christmastime. I can't wait! All my older hens quit laying a few weeks ago and I really need some eggs! If I'd planned it a little better, I'd've bought them in June or July so they'd start laying as soon as the fall molt started.
     
  8. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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  9. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:This chart made deciding what breeds to pick much easier [​IMG]

    Wish they had images for all of the chickens here though.

    My production red is still laying right now with no extra added light. She will lay 7 days and take a day off. In the early fall she went 30 days before taking a break.
     
  10. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Quote:That's the key!

    Ensuring a winter supply of eggs is all about timing, rather than breed.
    Chickens will always lay best in the first year of laying and some breeds have higher production than others (although the high volume layers tend to burn out fast). My suggestiion would be to raise a few sex-links or Leghorns in mid to late summer so that they begin laying at the beginning of winter, ensuring a winter supply of eggs. I bought 3 white Leghorns in August and they should start laying around Christmastime. I can't wait! All my older hens quit laying a few weeks ago and I really need some eggs! If I'd planned it a little better, I'd've bought them in June or July so they'd start laying as soon as the fall molt started.

    To prevent the fall/early winter fall off of egg laying, even small farm egg producers "rotate in" spring/early summer pullets every year. This is the best way to always get winter eggs. The first year pullet generally lays well and doesn't require much light stimulation. Second and third year layers absolutely take time off to moult and it can be February before their production picks up adequately.
     

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