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Breed laying rate questions

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by hmbrown05, Oct 17, 2014.

  1. hmbrown05

    hmbrown05 Out Of The Brooder

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    I have 3 RIR hens that are approximately 7 months old and 2 Barred Rocks of the same age. According to my research they are both classified as good to excellent layers, but out of all 5 hens I only end up with 6-8 eggs total per WEEK :/. Am I expecting too much for the breeds or did I end up with poor layers? They were feed store chicks so I am sure probably not the best quality, but they all appear healthy and have free choice access to feed and oyster shells and free range during the day and are trained to the laying boxes.

    I also have 8 white leghorns and get 6-7 eggs consistently per day from them and I understand they are considered excellent layers. I am not expecting that production from the others, but I thought it would be higher than that!
     
  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Do you know how many of the RIR/BR are laying? By 7 months they usually would be, but maybe you have some late starters? Have you tried keeping them locked up for a week or so (not letting them free range?) X2 I would also be expecting them to lay 5 eggs or so each a week.... if they free range I would be taking a look around for hidden nests, even if they are trained to the nesting boxes they will often sooner or later start hiding eggs again.
     
  3. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

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    REmember that most layers are not bred to be top notch layers. THe leghorns are and several others like ISA's. BUt otherwise the laying is a bit lacking in my experience. Though the buff orpingtons from the hatchery lay MORE than the breed standard--- as I would expect from hatcheries that depend on sale o f chicks so need good producing hens. Same with Speckled Sussex. Higher than breed standard.

    Look for the commercial layers for high production.
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I think they're quite possibly not as trained to the nest boxes as you think. Try confining them for a week or so and see what happens.
     
  5. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    Hopefully the lay rate of your BRs will improve (it should), but I can tell you from years of experience that whoever you read that classified Barred Rocks as excellent layers either overrated them, or else has a different definition of excellent than most experts do. I would classify Barred Rocks as good layers, but no more than that as about the best you can expect from them even when they are laying well is 3-4 eggs per hen per week. As far as classifying layers, based on 50 years experience, the only dual purpose breeds that I would classify as excellent layers are Australorps, Rhode Island Reds, and Production Reds (5 eggs per week per hen, occasionally 6). The very best layers are White Leghorns (for white eggs), and Black and Red Sex Links (for brown eggs). All three of these are egg laying machines (6 eggs per hen per week, occasionally 7). I do hope your Barred Rocks lay rate picks up. Good luck in getting those eggs.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. gjensen

    gjensen Overrun With Chickens

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    It could be that all of them are not laying in the nests.

    I would expect more from them.

    How long have they been laying? Occasionally there can be a delay or staggered start when they come into lay late in the season, and the days are getting shorter. It is helpful to have them laying well before the days get too short. If they have only been laying a month, it is possible that is part of the issue. The Leghorns would likely come into lay earlier.
     
  7. hmbrown05

    hmbrown05 Out Of The Brooder

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    The leghorns started laying early August with the rest following a few weeks later as I had kind of expected. I have had a few weeks of production that I collected 9-10 eggs per day wiith 6-7 of them being leghorns, but the last 2 weeks have had much fewer eggs with 4 yesterday and 6 today, all leghorn. I know rates will drop with shortened day length, but it seemed really sudden. The 6 I collected was after I left them penned all day (until 3 or 4 pm) just to make sure everyone lay where they should and will do that again today as I occasionally have after my little people have locked them out of their coop during the laying time of the day (oh my little helpers :) ).

    I will be ordering chicks this spring and am looking to add more dual purposed breeds that free range well and tolerate heat (South Texas heat) and would love some suggestions on breeds too :) Hoping for better quality this time around!
     
  8. gjensen

    gjensen Overrun With Chickens

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    I am not convinced that you will find them to be poor layers over the long haul. There is however, a lot of variation from flock to flock, and strain to strain. You will find similar over time. Breed reputations are often rooted in a historical view, and perpetuated by other's perceptions. It is an uneducated view to compare breeds to breeds today when there is so much variation. Source to source, and strain to strain is a more reasonable comparison.

    Give them a little time, before making a judgment. It is how many over the course of a year that will matter to you in the long run.

    If you can safely use a light and timer you will certainly get more consistent results over the shorter days of winter.

    A goal that I like to have in mind is to have my pullets laying 6 wks. before my hens go into molt. Keep that in mind when you order chicks. For strains that take 24wks to come into lay, March might be a better month to get chicks than later into April. For specialty strains that can lay as early as 16wks, but more reliably 18-20, later is ok. It is not that it is absolutely necessary, but these things are relevant to getting the most out of our birds. There is a seasonal rhythm to it.

    It is true that the commercial laying strains like the commercial Leghorns, and sex linked crosses will be much better layers. Their performance will also be more uniform.

    As far as a dual purpose breed for Texas, most will do well there. Much depends on management, and they all have limitations concerning the heat. I prefer the Mediterranean breeds for the South, but that is only a preference of my own. Pick what interests you the most.
    If qty. of meat is a concern, and the desire is to have a "pure" breed, consider a Standard bred strain. There is no ideal other than your own. Everyone will make their recommendations based on their interests or perception.

    I meant to add that I have little helpers to, only that they are not so little anymore.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2014
  9. hmbrown05

    hmbrown05 Out Of The Brooder

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    I am perfectly content with "mutts" lol, but this is an endevour to become more self sufficient and hens that lay poorly I have a hard time keeping as that is another mouth to feed that is not feeding me and mine (sorry if that offends, just the honest truth-money is always tight and we just can't afford to have a flock of pets, fun though they are.) On the flip side of that, I have no dire need to push them to production in the fall/winter months, I expected for things to slow down, I just thought I would be getting more from start of lay up to the shorter days. If I am expecting too much too soon I am okay to give them more time to see if they do better in the spring.

    And thank you for the suggestion on chick purchase timing! I hadn't taken that into consideration or come across thoughts on that in my research, but that makes absolute sense. I did and still do, a lot of research and it has helped a lot, but some things just come with experience and I appreciate the help along the way!
     
  10. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    I would suggest Black Australorps. They are extremely hardy. I raised them in CA where summer temperatures frequently reached 117-118 F (123 F once), and while my other breeds were panting, lethargic, and lifting wings, my Australorps were going about their business as usual. I've also raised them in northern Kansas where the temperature dropped to 30 F below zero one winter and again, they did just fine. And while they won't quite reach the lay rate of the Sex Links and White Leghorns, they have a longer laying life, and they are the best layers of the standard, brown egg laying breeds. Actually a Black Australorp holds the brown egg laying record with 364 eggs in 365 days, and while none of mine have ever quite reached that kind of production (and likely never will), I've still had a few of them lay over 300 eggs in a year.
     

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