Breeding for early layers and big eggs

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by browning6, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. browning6

    browning6 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is their anybody that has experience on taking their earliest or best layers of the hens that have the biggest eggs and breeding them? do their chicks follow the parents very well or is every bird pretty independent and may lay completely different than the parent stock?

    Anybody with experience?
     
  2. DallasCriftins

    DallasCriftins Chillin' With My Peeps

    Early as in how many weeks old they are before they start to lay or early as in the seasons of the year?

    I reckon the magical super hen laying an egg a day 365 days of the year for x years would have happened by now if it was possible.
    The resultant highly genetically enhanced commercial breeds are probably as best as you are going to find now

    I find Pullets hatched late summer don't moult in the winter and instead lay regularly but the following year they will moult and stop same as most hens so the trick is to have some rotation of stock old girls get retired (or eaten) and new hens take over.

    We have some ex bats and some relatively young GL Barnvelders that have not laid an egg for months now retiring gratefully in our coop.
    We also have some new Orpington Pullets that should have laid by now but have not fortunately we have a lot of Chickens so we still have plenty of eggs even with at any one time half the flock on strike or moulting or going broody or turning out to be Roasters!

    Pro rata though our Ducks have out laid our Chickens significantly since February and the last one only stopped laying last week!
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    Quote: If you want winter layers, your chicks should be hatched from Feb, 1st thru March 31st. These will be the best winter layers. If you want birds who start laying early in their lives, then you need to select chicks from hens that started laying early in their lives. Keep do this for several generations and eventually you will end up with hens that start laying earlier in their lives.
    The depth of color of the eggshell is passed on by the cock from genes he inherited from his mother. So if you are looking for good color in your eggs, your cock should come from a hen which laid rich colored eggshells. I don't know which sex or both is responsible for the size and shape of the egg.
    Best,
    Karen in western PA, USA
     
  4. Laingcroft

    Laingcroft Chillin' With My Peeps

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    +1

    I have been selecting eggs from hens (all other things being equal with type, etc.) that tend to lay through the winter without supplemental light. (Not providing lights is a personal preference.) Fourth generation in and I'm getting more eggs in winter than when I started. It's still not the same as spring/summer laying and I don't expect it to be, but I do like getting eggs without the expense & hassle of lighting them over the winter. Money can be better used on feed. As for size, I haven't selected for that. We raise large fowl and all our breeds lay large to extra large eggs anyway.
     
  5. browning6

    browning6 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Winton, California
    That is what i needed to know. I wanted to know how readily isolated the birds genetics can be. Four generations is very interesting.

    thanks for the help. I am only in my second generation of breeding and hatching but i hope to one day do what you did with these genetics.
     
  6. Laingcroft

    Laingcroft Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I should add that I select eggs in early November for hatching. I also maintain between 45-50 adults and 20 youngsters over the winter. The autumn hatch pullets come into lay in late March-April. From the 36-38 hens w/out light, we avg 18-22 eggs per week all winter. Used to be 10-12 eggs per week. We also free-range so a lot of their energy goes into foraging. Crumbles are available free choice and we add some Calf Manna during cold weather. You might do better w/high production breeds and confinement if you need more eggs. This is what works for us.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2013

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