eggs all year...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by top of the hill, Jul 6, 2011.

  1. top of the hill

    top of the hill Chillin' With My Peeps

    280
    0
    99
    Jun 20, 2011
    Connecticut
    This is sort of a silly question, but my husband and I would like eggs all year. Based on some reading I've been doing, that chickens moult when they are about a year, would it make sense for us to purchase new chicks in the fall to balance out our 6 pullets born in the spring? If so, do people actually sell chicks in the fall?

    Thanks!
    [​IMG]
     
  2. saladin

    saladin Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,831
    108
    221
    Mar 30, 2009
    the South
    Chickens can and will moult at any time during the year. However, the 'normal' time is somewhere between August and September.

    Many breeds slow down during the heat of summer and the dark of winter; although, there are old farm breeds that lay during those times too: hence, winter layers and summer layers. Chickens also lay different per breed and degree of broodiness.
     
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Staggering your chicks is a good idea, at least I think so and practice that very thing. I also alternate between birds that I fancy, ie, Barred Rocks, Speckled Sussex, RiR, etc and a flock of production birds. When you have egg customers, such as we have, we need to have a certain supply year around. I also carry a few extra young hens through the winter, because laying does slack a bit during the "dark quarter" of the year.

    I like to start a spring batch of chicks in late March and then do a fall batch in September. Check with the hatcheries you like. Many keep mailing chicks right through September, no problem. Even up north, here where we live, they are all feathered out good to go into the unheated barn by November and tolerate the winter better than the older girls. They're young and have lots of heat energy.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2011
  4. top of the hill

    top of the hill Chillin' With My Peeps

    280
    0
    99
    Jun 20, 2011
    Connecticut
    Thanks for the replies! very helpful... I'll check out whats available in my area in September. Right now we have 3 RI Reds and 3 Ameracaunas. I would love a few Barred Rocks.

    Fred's Hens, Do you keep a light on a timer to help with winter production or does that just stress them out?
     
  5. hinkjc

    hinkjc Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    12,685
    56
    331
    Jan 11, 2007
    PA
    Laying is based on sunlight more than age, although typical aging is around a year old. Some will moult sooner and some later. If you want hens to lay all year long, the only remedy that I am aware of is to give them extended light during winter months. I find a minimum of 12 hours will keep them laying pretty well. Others claim they need 16 hours. Keep in mind that as soon as daylight starts to shorten, the automatic cycle kicks in for birds and they will adjust what is more important (new feathers or laying an egg). Planning ahead and setting their lights will stop this from happening.
     
  6. Dutchgirl

    Dutchgirl Not Dutch!

    Apr 1, 2008
    U.S.A.
    We usually cannot handle our eggs in the summer but end up having to buy eggs in winter. However, last winter we fixed the problem: keep a lamp on inside the coop where the chickens sleep at night, and their egglaying should greatly increase.
     
  7. saladin

    saladin Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,831
    108
    221
    Mar 30, 2009
    the South
    Quote:I know that what you have written is considered truth because you can read it in any poultry science book. But there is alot more too it than that.

    There are breeds (mostly Orientals) that lay all Winter with no lights at all. Cubalayas and Asil generally start around Thanksgiving and are laying their best thru the Winter until the first of Spring. Once Spring arrives and the weather warms they will go broody in a skinny minute-thus, the laying stops or slows down. These same breeds lay only periodically or not at all during the late Srping and Summer.

    There are also breeds that lay very very few eggs. The Malgache/Madagascar Games lay around 40 eggs a year: 20 in the Spring and 20 in the Fall. Some Shamo lines are not much better. My Ga Cua lay a clutch and then go broody. I have extended their laying by a few eggs by collecting them every day, but the hens will only lay so many and Nature says it's time to brood. These are generally laid in the Winter too.

    In other words, the Light Theory, though generally true does have it's exceptions. Further, those exceptions extend to more breeds than you first my imagine.
     
  8. greeneggs444

    greeneggs444 Chillin' With My Peeps

    117
    0
    89
    Jul 5, 2011
    Quote:do chickens not lay when they moult?????[​IMG]

    When they moult do all their feathers just fall off?????? I thought it was a gradual thing?!?[​IMG]
     
  9. ccshambhala

    ccshambhala Chillin' With My Peeps

    370
    4
    133
    Sep 8, 2008
    Va
    their energy goes into making feathers from what I understand - and I have noticed it seems the older they are the more feathers they lose and renew (some breeds seem to lose more than others too?)

    my 4ish yr old blue marans hen :

    [​IMG]

    (she would be so upset if she knew I posted this online lol)
     
  10. top of the hill

    top of the hill Chillin' With My Peeps

    280
    0
    99
    Jun 20, 2011
    Connecticut
    Thanks for all the information. I will definetly be prepared coming into the fall and try the light in the coop method, on a timer so they get some shut eye of course. After all, chickens do need their beauty sleep! [​IMG]

    ccshambhala,
    Thats what I have heard as well. I also read that if you feed them extra protien you may be able to speed up or shorten the moulting process. Thanks for sharing the pic, you can let her know that there will be no making fun of her here! [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by