Egg laying for dummies????

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by cottagechick, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. cottagechick

    cottagechick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 11, 2011
    Cottage Grove, Oregon
    I get so confused by the different charts and comments about egg laying. I will look at a chart and think I need twelve more chickens to get enough eggs. Then someone will say my (fill in type of chicken) lays 6 eggs a week.

    So assuming we lived in fantasy land. The weather was perfect. The feed was perfect. The chickens were healthy. And the chickens didn't get broody and weren't molting. Would most chickens lay an egg every day? Is it the molting and broodiness that makes a chicken better or worse at laying or do some breeds even under ideal conditions only lay one or two a week? I am not sure if the charts I see are based on an average of the whole year. Are they saying that this breed tends to molt for two months of the year and go broody four months of the year but the other six months of the year they lay five a week so their average is two a week for the year. (But you get zero eggs 6 months out of the year.) When the chickens molt does that mean that they don't lay any eggs? Do I have to hoard eggs in the summer to have any in the winter?

    If my ideal chicken in this ideal world laid 200 eggs the first year, and assuming that they aren't given 14 hours of lighting during the winter are they going to be laying 100 eggs the third year?

    Assume that you knew nothing about the egg laying habits of chickens. What would you want to know?
    Thanks,
    Julie
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    I believe the charts are for a whole year taking into consideration all the ups and downs.
    Even the best breeds will take a day off now and then.
    I have 3 flocks of layers. Unless the weather is extremely hot or I screwed up somehow, I get about 85% lay rate.
    I have stayed away from breeds that aren't supposed to lay well.
    You'll see the birds I have in my signature.
     
  3. cottagechick

    cottagechick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Not to sound too stupid. I just don't want to assume. By 85% lay rate you mean that if you had a hundred chickens on most days you would get 85 eggs? (Good I feel like a moron...) Is this in the winter to? Do you use lighting?
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2011
  4. cat1994

    cat1994 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 12, 2010
    Southeast MO
    Would most chickens lay an egg every day? Yeah I guess but each hen does skip a day once in a while to begin a new cycle and you have to remember that as the hen gets older she doesn’t lay as many eggs, molting, going broody, heat, and winter all matter, sickness also. Is it the molting and broodiness that makes a chicken better or worse at laying or do some breeds even under ideal conditions only lay one or two a week? I think it has to do with all of these things and weather they are good winter layers and yes some breeds just don’t lay that many eggs. When the chickens molt does that mean that they don't lay any eggs? I have had girls that lay right through a molt and others that take it harder and stop laying right away, depends I guess. Do I have to hoard eggs in the summer to have any in the winter? You could find I breed that is cold hardy and lays well into winter (keep them off the snow nothing stops a hen from laying faster then getting her feet cold in the snow) and you can keep a light on in the coop to give the hens enough day light to cycle.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2011
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    I've only kept a half dozen breeds over the past 50 years, so I am no expert on all the breeds out there. But I can speak with clarity to the following breeds and my experience.

    Red Sex Link (typical strain) 90% lay and lay virtually every day. Lay well in winter with barely any added light. Lay great for two years, then it does drop off. A-
    ISA Brown (the genuine strain) 95% lay and rarely take a day off. Lay well in winter with barely any added light. Lay great for two years, then it does drop off. A
    Barred Rocks (hatchery quality) Very good layers, but every bird does not lay every day. Good winter layer. B+
    Spotted Sussex. Spotty. Smaller egg. Dry spells of non laying. Great bird, great forager, but.... won't likely win any laying contests. C
    White Rock similar to Barred Rocks above. B+
    White Leghorn similar to ISA Brown above. A
    Black Sex Link (RIRxBR) the strain I had was a bit of a disappointment. Layed no better than straight Barred Rocks. B-
    RIR (better hatchery stock) good layer. Hens took days off here and there, but good layer even in winter. B

    Hope that helps. I gave each a letter grade, on egg laying. There is more to a bird than it's egg laying, however. How big an egg, feed conversion, personality, meat on body, etc.
     
  6. cottagechick

    cottagechick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So lets see if I understand correctly.

    Unless it is a breed like a leghorn or one of the hybrids they probably lay every other day unless they get sick, broody, not get enough sun, molt, get too hot or touch the snow . [​IMG]?)

    The different breeds won't all molt at the same time.

    I have no way of knowing when or how long they will molt for. Molting may or may not decrease their egg laying.

    My breeds all say cold hardy...so I am hoping that helps (and we don't get REALLY cold here anyway.) We do have long wet winters and springs... ;-(

    Thanks,
    Julie
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2011
  7. cat1994

    cat1994 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 12, 2010
    Southeast MO
    Quote:Sounds about right lol I would just try it and if you find yourself running low on eggs get more hens
    Oh but most hens don't lay every other day, they should lay an egg a day for like a week and then skip a day to begin a new cycle
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2011
  8. cottagechick

    cottagechick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 11, 2011
    Cottage Grove, Oregon
    Fred's Hens :

    I've only kept a half dozen breeds over the past 50 years, so I am no expert on all the breeds out there. But I can speak with clarity to the following breeds and my experience.

    Red Sex Link (typical strain) 90% lay and lay virtually every day. Lay well in winter with barely any added light. Lay great for two years, then it does drop off. A-
    ISA Brown (the genuine strain) 95% lay and rarely take a day off. Lay well in winter with barely any added light. Lay great for two years, then it does drop off. A
    Barred Rocks (hatchery quality) Very good layers, but every bird does not lay every day. Good winter layer. B+
    Spotted Sussex. Spotty. Smaller egg. Dry spells of non laying. Great bird, great forager, but.... won't likely win any laying contests. C
    White Rock similar to Barred Rocks above. B+
    White Leghorn similar to ISA Brown above. A
    Black Sex Link (RIRxBR) the strain I had was a bit of a disappointment. Layed no better than straight Barred Rocks. B-
    RIR (better hatchery stock) good layer. Hens took days off here and there, but good layer even in winter. B

    Hope that helps. I gave each a letter grade, on egg laying. There is more to a bird than it's egg laying, however. How big an egg, feed conversion, personality, meat on body, etc.

    Have you kept any of the Barred Rocks or Sussex long enough to notice if their not laying great in a single year allows them to lay for more years?

    Thanks for the info. It is very helpful.
    Julie​
     
  9. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Overall most good laying breeds which includes lots of dual purpose birds lay about every 26 hours until the first moult.
    That means they lay an egg a day (later and later each day) and then skip a day.
    I have Jersey Giants that rarely take a day off.
    I'm getting really good rates of lay from Welsummers, Jaerhons, Anconas, Leghorns, Ameraucanas, Orps and Penedesencas.
    The biggest eggs in my flocks are from the JGs, Ameraucanas and Anconas.
    I haven't had any of the egg hybrids or RIRs but I've been very happy with most of the birds I have.
    I really think a good feed/nutrition program and clean water 24/7 is the best plan.
    Yes I do add light in fall/winter
    Yes 85% means 85 eggs a day from 100 hens.
     
  10. cat1994

    cat1994 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 12, 2010
    Southeast MO
    I forgot to say to never let feeders or waterers run dry b/c even a few hours without theses things can really affect their lay. The average hen will continue to lay full for two yrs, the avian egg machines like the Mediterranean breed chickens will lay sooner and more often then say the dual-purpose chickens but this means that those hens also become spent sooner then the birds that hail from the English and American classes. Plus if you plan to eat your spent hens then you may want a hen with more meat on her bones then say a Leghorn has to offer. But some hens can lay up to 12 yrs their eggs increasing in size but decreasing in number along the way. Over all hens need at least 14 hours of light to lay, and molting usually happens when summer is ending and can last for like 12 to 18 weeks. Oh and stress plays a big role on laying eggs so make sure not to let anything harass them and keep business as usual to keep stress as low as can be. Be sure to look out for snakes that could get in and eat the eggs or even one of your own hens.
     

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