Breeds , flighty birds and wing clipping.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by PO in MO, Feb 22, 2014.

  1. PO in MO

    PO in MO Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 9, 2014
    I have had Barred Rocks for 2 years. I have kept track and have average 3 1/2 eggs a week. I am going to replace them either this year or next and have been looking at different breeds that lay more eggs. There is so much conflicting information out there.. I have searched in the BYC forums and have concluded that the best brown egg layers are Rhode Island Reds and Black Sex Links. I have a 6 x 10 chicken coop on skids and a pen made of (6) 6 ft. tall panels that enclose about 1000 sq. ft. which I move every couple of weeks. I originally used bird netting to keep the hawks out and the chickens in but an ice storm took that down last year and I thought I would see what happened if I left it off. None of my chickens have flown out and I haven't lost any chickens to an aerial attack. From some of the post on BYC I get the impression that the flightiness of birds is kind of unpredictable by breed and influenced by the breeding stock.
    Any raisers of Black Sex Links and Rhode Island Reds have experience with this.

    Will your birds fly over a 6 ft. fence.

    I have read about clipping a wing and it looks simple enough. When you clip a wing they don't grow back until the next molt, is that correct.

    One more question would be if a chicken lays more eggs do they eat more feed. Do you come out ahead by getting chickens that lay more eggs per week or are you just paying for more feed to get them.
  2. Impress

    Impress Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2011
    Gray, TN
    All but my heaviest breeds can scale a six foot fence easily. I have my pens covered with fiberglass deck roofing, it is worth it to me to keep my breeds separate and safe, because predators can and will climb.

    I have found birds that lay more eggs more often lay themselves out, I wouldn't say they eat a whole lot more, a chicken can hold just about what a chicken can hold, but I dislike getting a heavy laying breed and they are slowing down by their second season.

    If you want a less flighty bird that will lay regularly but long, find someone who breeds heritage versions of the bird you want, and not hatchery stock. Hatchery stock has been selectively bred to lay a lot, because the more eggs they get, the more they can hatch, the more money they make, but that doesn't necessarily make for a great bird. That makes for a bird that lays a lot, is usually a lot more flighty, and is going to be more likely to drop dead from vent prolapse and being egg bound.

    This is all just my opinion from years of raising and breeding both hatchery and heritage birds.
  3. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Chicken Obsessed

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    Unless motivated by need for food, green grass, or if frightened by a predator, most birds will stay in a 6' fence. RIR's do not tolerate confinement as well as some other breeds. Often laying ability depends on the breeding of the individual birds as much as the breed. Sex links tend to be excellent layers and will lay a lot of big brown eggs, but also tend toward aggression if confined too much. Any bird who is laying more eggs will also eat more feed than a bird laying fewer.
  4. TheChickInn

    TheChickInn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 29, 2012
    RIR's are excellent layers, but I agree they can be a little flighty. My favorite layer is the Orpington- most of mine lay an egg every day- even through winter. They are a larger bird- therefore will eat more than a RIR would. Very docile and big enough so that flying is not high on their priority list.
  5. PO in MO

    PO in MO Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 9, 2014
    Thanks for taking the time to respond to my questions. Sharing your experience is greatly appreciated. Am going to think about this, flighty is a concern of mine but I could always clip wings. I just got a bag of feed today and totaled up my costs on this batch of Barred Rocks I have and am at $1.80 a dozen. I feed a rooster so I could actually take about 10% off that, so $1.62 a dozen. I was going to get an incubator this year (none of my hens seem interested on raising a family) but as I posted I am thinking about changing breeds. Will think on this.

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