Egg production effects from molting

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by vondutchess, Sep 4, 2014.

  1. vondutchess

    vondutchess New Egg

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    Hello from sunny California. My family and I are new to raising chickens, as well as cows, pigs, and rabbits. We have mostly barred rock chickens. This spring we hatched 17 new chicks. I was wondering if anyone had a schedule for when is the best time to hatch new chicks and retire older layers? Our layers are currently going through a molt and are not laying. How dramatic will the loss of egg production be once they finish molting? Is it better to only keep a few and allow the new chicks to take their place or should be keep all of them and retire the older layers new fall? Any advice on this topic would be appreciated. [​IMG] Thanks
     
  2. Yorkshire Coop

    Yorkshire Coop Moderator Staff Member

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  3. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help.

    Most people hatch in spring. Spring seems to be the time of replacing the flock. So you can get rid of your layers either before winter or wait until spring. However, if you bond with your old layers, it's very hard to let them go and start over. So you may find yourself keeping many of the layers you bonded with. This is fine. They will still lay for you occasionally, still provide you with friendship and even encourage younger pullets to lay. So you don't necessarily have to start over completely and get rid of all your hens.

    Chickens usually stop laying during the molt. Afterwards they'll start up again. Their eggs are usually bigger and they lay less often.

    Good luck and glad you joined!
     
  4. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! Mountain Peeps gave you some good suggestions. A lot of people with strictly egg laying flocks will cull/replace 1/3 of their flock every year when they are about 2.5 years old replacing the oldest birds when they go into their second molt in the fall and they stop laying... that way you always have young pullets who will lay well through winter (usually even if you don't add light) and older birds who are still good layers. General rule of thumb seems to be that a hen will lay about half the eggs at age 5 as she did the first year, the biggest her eggs will be is usually after the first molt when she is 1-2. Nice article on small flock production http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ps029
     
  5. vondutchess

    vondutchess New Egg

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    Thank you so much for the help. We'll be reading the articles and making a decision as to whether or not retire our birds this fall or next. I'm kind of curious as to how big the eggs will be in the spring if we decide to keep them. Do you think it is helpful to have an older layer with younger layers to be an example of what to do or does it matter?
     
  6. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons Premium Member

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    Yes I think it is very helpful to have at least one old layer in the flock.
     
  7. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    Welcome to BYC! [​IMG]We're glad to have you.
     
  8. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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    [​IMG] Glad you joined us!
     
  9. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Hello there and welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    Kelsie has given you some great advice. I think it is nice to keep a couple older hens around to help to be examples for the younger ones on all sorts of things. Like having a tutor around all the time.

    I have heard Barred Rocks lay well into older age better than other breeds. So you might wait to see how they do after this molt. Some BR's have been known to live into their teens and still be laying! I started raising some BR's this year, so I am not sure how long into older age they will lay well, but we will both find out, won't we! [​IMG]

    Enjoy your flock and welcome to ours!
     
  10. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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