Excellent layers vs good layers with and without supplement lighting

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Scotty from BI, Feb 9, 2016.

  1. Scotty from BI

    Scotty from BI Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 26, 2015
    Question for you all. Will an excellent layer such as a RIR or Sexlink lay as many or more eggs in winter without supplemental lighting as a Good layer such as a Golden Laced Wyandotte that gets 14 hours of light in the winter? Red Star Sexlink and RIR's (for example), are predicted to lay about 300-350 eggs a year while my Golden Laced Wyandottes are predicted to lay about 200-250 per year. Would this change if Dottes get lighting and the Sexlinks do not in the winter? Are these estimates for either with natural lighting year round or 14 hours of light year round?
  2. sawilliams

    sawilliams Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 12, 2015
    Nor Cal
    Couldn't tell you for sure. But I have a rir (or production red) she is probably at least a few years old went from laying 3-4 days skipping 1 to laying every other day over the winter the actual weekly drop was 5-6 a week down to 3-4 a week. But I've only had chickens less then 6 months and she was our only one laying before we got her. I also don't know how she does during molt as I think we got her after her molt....

    I think overall yes you can still depend on some eggs wit the heavy layers but how many will depend on the birds
  3. Scotty from BI

    Scotty from BI Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 26, 2015
    Thanks for sharing your experience. I am just starting a new flock and have chosen to have Wyandottes. I would like to get about on average 4 eggs a day all year round. But this is a hobby so I want interesting birds also. This is helpful. I am trying to get a comparison between (my) Wyandottes and what is normally an excellent laying hen like the sexlinks for example especially during the winter months say between November and March. I am wondering if I can get more Wyandottes and not supply lighting during the winter and still get some decent production and if not would it be a good idea to supplement my flock with a production hen like a RIR or what ever. I prefer to follow a natural light schedule instead of using supplemental lighting and risk burning them out faster.
  4. Susieq2015

    Susieq2015 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 26, 2015
    Upstate New York
    I don't know about Wyandotte's, but of my hens that have been laying through the winter with no extra light are the Leghorns, a Prod Red,a black Australorp, a Turken and an EE. There's not even electricity available near the coop and I started setting eggs for hatching in December. This is the best laying flock that I've had in a few years.
  5. Scotty from BI

    Scotty from BI Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 26, 2015
    That's encouraging. Anyone with experience with Wyandottes. I will have Blue, Gold and Silver hatchlings this week. No other birds to start with.
  6. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 14, 2015
    Northern Colorado
    Yes, I have Wyandottes and red stars, among others....

    I'm culling all the Wyandottes, if it answers your question... Not impressed one bit with their winter laying.

    I should mention, I do not use supplemental light in winter, so they are all on their own.

    I originally had just BRs, and added 4 Wyandotte (gold laced), 4 EE, 2 red stars, and 4 Ancona last spring to see what I could get. The Wyandottes stopped laying. ALL winter. Just now getting eggs again from them.

    In comparison, the BRs laid almost every day, as usual for winter. Great, happy with them. BRs are almost unbeatable for me, just because theyre great meat birds too...helps when I need to cull lol, at least I can get a meal out of them ;)

    The EEs surprised me, keeping steady at 2/4 a day all winter, and the Red Stars impress me the most. Eggs every day, minus maybe 6 days when we had blizzards.

    The Anconas decided they were "wild" birds, and took to roosting in the trees and hiding eggs lol, but they lay very well too, BIG eggs for such a small bird.

    My best layer, though, hands down? A bantam Cochin lol, laid an egg every day, all winter, minus 2 days ;) She's a trooper, brooded chicks in October, back to laying by December. I'm impressed by wee chicken but the eggs go to my 6 year old lol :D

    My Wyandottes may just be slackers, I don't know. I just don't have the space for chickens that take winters off completely; then they'll molt, wasting more time, when I need to be getting at least 2 dozen eggs a day from my girls to even be worth it.

    Yep. Culling the Wyandottes. Too bad, though, I had one go broody and she was an excellent mom.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2016
  7. Scotty from BI

    Scotty from BI Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 26, 2015
    OMG, that is the worst report on Wyandottes I have heard yet. You mentioned blizzards. I assume you live somewhere with extreme winters. I live in the Pacific Northwest near Seattle. I wonder if my birds will produce through the winter without lights since it is very mild here or if egg reduction or stopping lay is just a response to the shorter days. If necessary, I could add some light although I am reluctant to do so. I don't want to burn them out prematurely. I love the look of the Wyandottes and it is a hobby for me so I want interesting birds, although eggs are important also. I over built my coop and run so that I could have up to about 15 to 18 birds pretty comfortably although I will never need that many. I am thinking that if I have maybe 12 birds, I should get enough eggs to cover my needs and have some to donate to neighbors or local charity group.

    If you have Wyandottes and live in the Pacific Northwest or somewhere with similar weather, please contribute your experience. I am now a bit concerned with having just Wyandottes. One of the reasons I chose them is because they are supposed to be excellent cold weather birds and good layers (200-250) a year which I assumed was without extra lighting.
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Sorry but, the wyandottes I had were not great layers...and they were mean, but delicious.
  9. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    I'm always sceptical about egg laying figures quoted on a yearly basis mostly because in normal conditions you hardly ever get a bird that lays for 365 days without some sort of break. My youngsters usually hatch mid summer, come into lay in December and by next October they are starting to moult.... That makes me at least a month short of a year to start with. Then there is the possibility of them going broody and any other manner of upsets and the length of time it takes them to finish moulting and come back into lay means that the following year you will possibly have only 10 months of laying.

    I think it's more likely that the yearly figures quoted are the average rates for chickens that are kept under optimum laying conditions....ie with supplemental lighting. Having a flock of mixed breeds and ages is more likely to result in you getting eggs year round, but that brings some problems/risks with it.... like integration and increased chance of disease as new birds are added.
  10. CoopDeDoo

    CoopDeDoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 8, 2011
    NW Washington State
    Quote:Hi Scott - I am in the PNW (on another island - assuming BI is Bainbridge) any how... I was not impressed with hatchery quality SLW we had. She was loud, mean and the last of her group of chicks to lay. BUT and it's a big BUT - she was from a hatchery. If you are going with breeder birds, you may have a much better experience. Have you posted in the Wyandotte thread or the 'Washington" thread in the 'Where am I , Where are you" section and asked your question(s) yet? Best of luck to you - they are beautiful birds!

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