Giving chickens a 2 month break from laying

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by ladytoysdream, Feb 22, 2013.

  1. ladytoysdream

    ladytoysdream Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 25, 2010
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    Not real sure which forum to put this topic in, but I am hoping this one will work.

    Okay, so I been able to sell extra eggs at the market so I added on some more chickens. Markets are like May to end of October around here. The one new market I went to was June till end of December last year. This year, I am thinking end of March to start up again till end of December.
    So being I like to hibernate in the winter, I was thinking of giving the girls some time off next winter from laying. I am selling eggs now, but have to take a lower price in the winter. I have done well the last couple of months and getting enough to pay the grain costs, even with lower prices.

    So if I wanted to shut down production at least some in the winter...is it just a matter of not giving them layer crumbles ? I would give them light like we do now. And I give a assortment of different grains, so they have a variety in their diet.

    I was thinking dairy cows get a 2 month break before having a new calf. So why can't chickens take some time off ? I am thinking putting layer in front of them about 3 weeks before market would open back up in the spring.

    So is this a feasible idea ? Can you think of any pros and cons ?

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2013
  2. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Layer feed is just regular chicken feed with extra calcium and generally a little less protein it does not cause hens to lay and taking them off of it will not cause them to stop. I never give my hens layer feed -- instead I give them a grower with calcium on the side and they lay eggs regularly. Taking away calcium will likely just give you more soft shell eggs.

    The biggest thing that effect seasonal laying is the amount of light. Shorter daylight hours are what makes hens stop laying in the winter so removing the light from their coop if there is one may have an effect. No guarantees though, I have never put a light in my coop and my leghorns lay through the winter less they are molting heavily.
     
  3. brahmabreeder

    brahmabreeder Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My thought would be just don't give them light. That is one of the biggest factors in whether or not they lay in winter. Taking their feed away would probably do more harm then good IMO.
     
  4. ladytoysdream

    ladytoysdream Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 25, 2010
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    One of my sons has chickens and in the winter he does not feed layer crumbles. Just corn, hay, and some oats. I doubt he has a light on them. In the spring, he gets lots of eggs. He has about 12 chickens right now. Also turkeys, and guinea hens.

    I would feed grain but not the layer. It's just a thought right now because of the high grain prices and no clue what next winter will bring. Maybe I will have more steady customers during the winter, and will make no changes. I am just throwing out some ideas right now.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2013
  5. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

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    Are they able to forage on their own during this time frame? I'd be hesitant about just feeding them grains without a vitamin and mineral supplement unless they can go out and scratch up what they need on their own. Seeing that you are in New York I doubt they will find what they need in the snow.
     
  6. ladytoysdream

    ladytoysdream Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 25, 2010
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    Thank you for the replies. I appreciate it.

    The chickens YES can forage some during the winter. About 2x a week, weather permitting, we open their main
    gate and they make a beeline for the garage. It has a gravel floor and they dust themselves, pick gravel etc.
    They also can find some eating on the lawn that may not have any snow on it. Nothing major but definitely
    something different for them.

    This is a picture of our set up. The tarped additon is all closed in now.
    So regular coop, tarped run, and a big yard using kennel sections so we can rotate it.
    Back side of garage so the chickens run down the length of it on the left side, and into the front.
    [​IMG]
     

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