Do young pullets lay smaller eggs in the winter?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by tommysgirl, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. tommysgirl

    tommysgirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just curious. Mine started laying in September and November the Red Stars who began to lay in Sept. have consistently produced large to XL eggs and while the rest laid little pullet eggs for the first week or so, they have now settled in and lay medium sized eggs. This is fine I was just curious if I could expect them to lay bigger eggs in the spring. They are Delawares and Australorps. Thanks!
     
  2. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    I would expect those breeds to gradually lay larger eggs, yes.

    I don't think it has much to do with it being winter, though. IMO, it takes hens a month or two to settle down to their regular egg size.

    My EEs laid small eggs for a month or so, then medium sized eggs for a month, and now I'm getting some mediums, some larges, and some extra-larges. Even got a jumbo green egg this week. But they all laid small eggs for at least a month.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    The feed intake and the quality of the feed makes a big difference. In winter, many of the calories go to keeping the bird warm. Protein is essential for egg size as is the kind of protein. Animal protein is superior to a solely plant protein diet. Want to do a test? Mix some pork, beef, chicken or other animal protein source into their feed for three days. Let them really fill themselves with gusto. After two days, the egg size often is HUGE. This is just a test, but it reveals something important.

    To be sure, the chicken's diet need not be, should not be 40-50% animal protein, but nonetheless, you get the point. 20% protein, with a good percentage of that protein being animal sourced. Also be sure plenty of fresh water is available at all times. Also check that the large bodied birds are not restricting the smaller RSLs from approaching the feeder.
     
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  4. tommysgirl

    tommysgirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks! Everything you guys say makes sense. I feed Purina Leyena because it is what our feed store has but I sometimes make them a lentil, split pea, corn meal and yogurt mash that they really go for. Does Dairy count as animal protein?

    had to laugh at the thought of the big girls keeping the RS away from the feed. My RS girls have been at the top of the pecking order since they were chicks and don't seem to know that they are smaller so know worries there.
     
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Layena is vegetarian. Just a little dairy is a good enough thing, but not a substitute for meat.
     
  6. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    Is your feed store a mill? Our mill sells Layena to backyard flock owners as a matter of course, but they also sell a house-made layer mash that's much cheaper and contains animal protein.

    I don't use it because 1. it's a mash, not a pellet, and our bulk feeder didn't work well with it and 2. our customers really don't want there to be animal by-products in the chicken feed.
    I found a good compromise, though--at another feed mill nearby, they sell a house-made vegetarian pellet that is higher protein than Layena but still less expensive. It seems to be working really well, and our hens have never laid so many eggs in winter.
     
  7. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Well, I know of no way to raise a vegetarian chicken, if that chicken goes outside. They'll eat worms and mice and bugs all day long. If they come across a carcass, they'll pick it clean as a whistle post haste. I'm aware that people have some reaction to feed containing pork or other animal protein, mainly because folks make an association with the Mad Cow thing of a few years back. That was cow on cow, not the same thing. Until or unless the research demonstrates that our feed with animal protein is somehow a threat along these lines and this becomes some kind of issue, I'll continue. A chicken just isn't a vegetarian and requires the meat in the diet.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013
  8. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    Oh, I've never, ever said my hens were vegetarian. I feed vegetarian pellets because my customers don't want animal by-products in the feed. But certainly the hens eat bugs and meat, and even the occasional chicken carcass. Once I left three pounds of ground pork out overnight accidentally, and hoo boy, did those hens enjoy that the next day (after I'd stopped cursing at myself, since I had plans for that meat).

    My father owns a large dairy farm AND has done post-grad work in veterinary pathology, so I am very aware of the hows and whys of Mad Cow. I personally don't get upset over animal by-products, and if it were just me and my family, I'd feed the cheaper feed with the animal protein in it. My personal feeling is that, if you're going to kill an animal, use every little bit of it. I also didn't get the big deal over the "pink slime" controversy--I always thought, good for them for finding a way to get that protein out of the carcass.

    Now, if only people didn't get upset because there is soy in my feed, then I'd really be happy.
     

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