Creating an egg layer rotation...

Flyboy718

Chirping
8 Years
Jul 27, 2011
224
1
91
I have 9 barred rocks that are 24 weeks old...two have begun laying and the rest aren't. The two that are laying began on the 13 of January and of course they are just small pullet eggs. Got to thinking about how I can enusure that I will have a constant supply of eggs. What is the normal production time frame for layers...two years? I am trying to decide how many and when to cull and when to purchase replacement chicks?
 

DMRippy

Pallet Queen
8 Years
May 18, 2011
14,981
543
381
Nashville
I am new to all this too. This is my first year, but what I did find is my pullets that hatched in July were the only ones laying for me over the holidays. This year I will have some replacements and hatch in June so will have plenty. I am hatching now for my new spring flock. I think I am only going to keep layers for a year to a year and a half. My theory also allows me to sell young layers in the spring when people want chickens. I will also be able to process extra roos in cooler weather and not the hot, hot summer.
 

Country Parson

Songster
9 Years
Oct 1, 2010
301
14
111
Bellefontaine, OH
I am half-way through my second year with my current flock. In the next few weeks I will be ordering pullets. As I use heritage breeds (which take a bit longer to mature), I figure they should be laying by July or August. By that time my current girls have ended their 2nd year. Once the new girls are into full swing, the older girls are removed. Essentially I just switch out flocks, except for the rooster and perhaps one of my buff's, who is an excellent mother.
 

Fred's Hens

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
To insure you always have production, you'll have to have new pullets coming "on line" each and every year. The first year pullet will normally lay through her first winter solstice, but at her second winter solstice or sooner, she'll shut down, go into moult and rest for 6 weeks or longer. If your entire flock is of one class, production can virtually shut down. This leaves you and your potential customers in the lurch.

We are constantly rotating in new birds and rotating out older birds. After two seasons of laying, unless a particular hen has qualities we want and take her to a breeding pen, we pretty much cull, that is, remove birds who are 2 to 3 years of age. These can be made into soup, sold, or given to needy families.
 
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Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,698
21,381
907
Southeast Louisiana
Using Fred's information, something that might work for you would be to add four or five pullets every year. Get them in the spring so they are laying by fall. These will probably lay through their first winter, whether you add light or not. When the molt starts and they stop laying, remove four or five of your current layers so you don't have to feed them through the molt. But keep four or five through their first adult molt. These will start up laying some really nice eggs when they start laying after the molt and they lay a lot of eggs. Do the same thing the next year, but the ones you remove when they start molting are always the older ones. That's what I pretty much try to do.

After the second adult molt, they typically lay maybe 15% to 20% fewer eggs in the next laying season. There is usually not a drop-off after the first adult molt.
 

DMRippy

Pallet Queen
8 Years
May 18, 2011
14,981
543
381
Nashville
I got some birds in April that hatched in Feb. All but a handful are molting and have quit laying. Only the ones that hatched in June and July are laying well right now. I think for me, two big hatches a year, one set between Jan and feb. and another batch in may and jun. That is for my flock and not including the ones I will hatch all spring and summer for sale. For me and my area I think that should cover me for layers all year long.
 

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