Expanding the flock questions

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mtn_penny, Sep 9, 2010.

  1. mtn_penny

    mtn_penny Out Of The Brooder

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    Hubby and I are ready to expand the flock since the current one is just not able to keep up with production demands.

    I have heard several things that I would like clarification on...
    1. When do hens generally start to taper off on egg production? excluding times of moulting. I have heard about 3years.

    2. At what age does the first moult typically happen? and will it matter if they are spring chicks or fall chicks? I guess what I am asking is regardless of when they were hatched will they go into a moult at xx to xx months?

    3. How do you figure out which hens are laying? and which are not? I have 14 hens right now and can only tell that certain hens have laid in other words I can not match the chicken to the egg. LOL Is there colored marking paint or something like with sheep?

    4. When they do moult how long does it typically last? It seems my hens have been moulting most of the summer. They are still laying but not as many as I think they should.
     
  2. savingdogs

    savingdogs Chillin' With My Peeps

    My hens are different types and colors so it is easier to see who is laying based on egg color. We were not thinking about that when we got the new birds, but it did make it much easier to tell whose eggs are whose. It was luck I guess, but it works great. I do have more than one of each breed but you can get to tell the individual eggs apart, or at least I can with mine.

    Also the hens that are laying have redder combs.

    Sorry, I can't answer your other questions but I'm sure someone here can.
     
  3. mtn_penny

    mtn_penny Out Of The Brooder

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    Mine are all Ameraucanas so they do lay different colors but I still can't seem to match up them to the hen. LOL
     
  4. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wanna know the answers to questions 1, 2, and 4 too, please!!!

    mtn_penny: Someone on BYC told me how to tell wether or not a hen is laying, and it's 100% accurate! You measure how many finger widths you can fit between their pin bones (pointy bones located on either side of their vent). Two or three fingers= has layed in the last six days. Less than two fingers= hasn't layed for atleast six days. Unfortunately, this won't tell you wether the hen lays a couple eggs a week or seven eggs a week, but it still helps. [​IMG]
     
  5. mtn_penny

    mtn_penny Out Of The Brooder

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    Well cowgirl71 that is at least a start. I am pretty sure they are all laying every 3-4 days as I do have that many different eggs. But good to know, Thanks.
     
  6. SunnyDawn

    SunnyDawn Sun Lovin' Lizard

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    It varies from breed to breed but in my flock my gals have typically laid for 4-5 years. High production chicken farms burn their birds out at a year or so (they slow down on laying anyway). I read here on BYC that one gal has an 8 year old hen that is still laying! I do use a little supplemental light during winter though so I still get a few eggs (for my Orps at least which are great winter layers but usually stop when the summer gets too hot).

    My hens moult at different times (again breeds vary) but usually when the weather warms up or well into summer. They don't seem to care if they were born early spring or early summer. The first moult, for my flock, has always been after they are a year old or more. And, yes, moulting takes awhile. One of my gals started to moult in spring and is still trying to get back to normal (she still lays but her shells have a thinner shell).

    As far as being able to tell who laid what, I have never worried about this but I've heard that folks will use a tiny drop of food coloring, placed just inside the vent to mark each egg as it is laid. You don't need much and they say it last for a few days. Just use a different color for each hen. I would not use red or green since chickens are so drawn to this color but any other color should be fine. You can do two or three hens at a time til you figure out who is laying what.
     
  7. mtn_penny

    mtn_penny Out Of The Brooder

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    The reason for asking on the first moult is we want to rotate the moults. Order now and then some more later so only 1/2 of the flock will be in a moult at one time if possible.
     
  8. SunnyDawn

    SunnyDawn Sun Lovin' Lizard

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    Quote:I'm not an expert on moulting so I looked it up. According to the info out there most chickens moult in August and high producing hens moult quicker and recover faster. So maybe get a few sex-links or RIRs (my best producers that do lay during the moulting process). But yes, I still get a lot less eggs in mid to late August through early September.
    Here is a great web-site that has a lot of great info! I learned a lot!
    http://www.dpi.qld.gov.au/27_2709.htm
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2010
  9. mtn_penny

    mtn_penny Out Of The Brooder

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    Wow thanks for the link that really explained a lot.
     
  10. SunnyDawn

    SunnyDawn Sun Lovin' Lizard

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    Quote:You're welcome! It helped me a lot too. [​IMG]
     

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