Chickens History

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chickenwoods, Sep 4, 2007.

  1. chickenwoods

    chickenwoods Songster

    Apr 29, 2007
    I've always thought it was strange how chickens lay eggs everyday.Unlike any other bird i have heard of. like
    Wild turkeys they have a breeding season here in the south it starts in mid to late march,and the hens start laying eggs in late may early june and lay a full clutch and sit on and raise,and thats it till next breeding season...almost every bird besides the chicken is like this it seems..songbirds,hawks,owls,and most birds.

    In the beginning were chickens like this??
    if so how did they get them like they are now??
  2. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    Some chickens stop laying over winter, some lay right through.
    Reproduction usually has to do with the abundence of food in most animals.
    Spring/Summer is a time of more food sources than Fall/Winter.

    When the chicken was domesticated, humans made the food source readily available year round, and they adapted to follow suit.

    Othet pets were not that adaptable. JMO
  3. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    In the beginning were chickens like this??
    Wild jungle fowl, from which modern chickens are descended, will stop laying in the absence of food or mating efforts, unlike domestic fowl. Only when both are abundant do the eggs start to flow. The diurnal cycle, that is the pull of the seasons you allude to, is critical to egg laying in domestic fowl and I suspect it’s also so in wild jungle fowl. Although, since they live in the tropics, I imagine it is so to a lesser degree. But, yes, just like wild birds everywhere, it's safe to assume they are seasonal to a great degree.

    How did they get them like they are now??.
    Make no mistake, domestic hens are subject to cycles, too. They come on like gangbusters in the early-to-late spring, taper off through the summer and come near to a standstill in the winter. After a year there is the molt and laying halts, while the hen rebuilds herself, then laying resumes again in the spring.

    What you are really asking for modern poultry keepers is:
    "How is laying continued into the winter slowdown?"
    Winter laying through the cold seasons is something that has been developed over time in domestic fowl, as mentioned by rooster-red. It is based mostly on temperature and the diurnal cycle and, of course, plentiful and nutritious feed.

    A hen will not readily lay if it is cold, since it has to expend too much food energy to keep it's high body temp, around 106 degrees. If you offset this need to keep warm by giving them supplemental heat and/or protection from the elements, you can expect them to put out some eggs because they once again have a surplus of food energy.

    However, the diurnal, or light, cycle controls laying more than any other factor. It’s no surprise that hens lay fast and furious in the spring when the diurnal cycle is growing longer. As the season goes on and begins to wane, the diurnal cycle begins to shorten, favoring less sunlight. This is what signals the slowdown in yard fowl. To get them to lay well in the winter, you have to do three things:

    1. Trick the hen into laying by adding supplemental light to extend the perceived "daytime."
    2. Add supplemental heat to allow enough surplus energy to make eggs.
    3. Have hens in the right laying phase. In other words, you stagger their growth phases. Todays winter layers were your late spring chicks.

    This is one reason why we have a ready supply of eggs in our modern market system, regardless of the season. We control their environments in factory and battery production, so it doesn’t matter if it is day or night, winter or summer. Also, we keep only the birds in peak lay, culling the ones who are past their prime time – they end up in cans of Campbells’ Noodle Soup. Fianlly, we have immense cold storage facilites for eggs that can safely keep eggs at Grade - A standard for months.

    If eggs aren't scrupulously managed this way, egg production would go back to being a seasonal thing. If that happened, it would actually pay to have your "2nd season flock" laying over through the winter. Winter eggs always command the highest prices when the egg market is seasonal.

    Currently, it is just an academic exercise to accomplish winter-managed laying in your flock. For the hobbyist, it will only pay if you have also created a market of buyers dedicated to your eggs, and yours alone.
    Do that in our super-market/super-convenience age and you have really accomplished something.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 5, 2007
  4. broncbuster07

    broncbuster07 Songster

    Jun 25, 2007
    Waxahachie, TX
    Excellent information, Elderoo!

    I'd vote for Ted!
  5. chickenwoods

    chickenwoods Songster

    Apr 29, 2007
    hmm,very interesting...It seems so strange to me.:|
    Im a very avid hunter,i study the habits,and behaviors of wild animals all of my life.From my many years out in the woods(i spend all year round studying habits of them,not just with gun,but just watching and learning) it seems that each animal has a breeding season.not only when food is abundant..there are animals that breed in winter,and some in spring/summer. And it seems that some parts of the year they have no intrest in the opposite sex at all.

    and chickens do not have to be fertilized to lay eggs,
    as far as i know All animals besides chickens have to be fertilized by a male before they can lay an egg,or try to give birth.

    Most birds lay 6-15 (guess around) eggs a year,and thier done for the year...It seems so strange how wild birds natural reproduction,can turn into 300 egg production all year long??? It sounds like the scientist have been tweaking around in the genetics? true??

    not meaning to aggrivate anyone, its just so strange to me.:|
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    All domestic animals and crops are genetically engineered by humans. Just that in the past, we did it with selective breeding.
  7. chickenwoods

    chickenwoods Songster

    Apr 29, 2007
    ahhh lol thankyou
  8. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    Selectively bred is a better concept than "engineered," although in truth, it boils down to the same thing.

    Domestic chickens, if gone feral, will revert to the natural state you envision in just a few short generations.

    DO they ONLY lay eggs in the preservation of fertilization? Well, did you know that a male deposits enough sperm at each mating to fertilze eggs for up to 21 days? Given that, it seems likely that laying might go on for some time, depending on season.
  9. birdnutz

    birdnutz Songster

    Mar 6, 2007
    Cockatiels,lovebirds and budgies will lay all year. Some (not all)don't even need a male. Of course I provided alot of green feed to them. Add artificial light and heat,pretty much describes the previous posts.
  10. hollyclyff

    hollyclyff Songster

    May 18, 2007
    At least some reptiles (maybe all for all I know) will also lay eggs without being fertilized.
    I had a cockatiel that never had access to a male bird and she laid eggs and tried to brood them too.

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