Golden Comets

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Karensbirds, Dec 10, 2014.

  1. Karensbirds

    Karensbirds Hatching

    Sep 10, 2014
    Hello everyone!

    I was wondering if anyone could give me an approximate idea of how long these golden comets live?

    Thank you!!
  2. Free Feather

    Free Feather Songster

    Not long. Like, two or three years from what I have heard because of ovary issues. Laying so many eggs is not good on their bodies.
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    So many folks swear these birds burn out, but that's not been my experience. I've had them laying eggs so large they don't fit in the carton at 4 years old....don't know how they did after that as I sold them. They did get fragile egg shells, even with supplemental calcium, but I just learned not to wack the egg so hard to crack it [​IMG]
  4. Free Feather

    Free Feather Songster

    It really just depends. Take good care of them when they are young.
  5. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Really with chickens there are no guarantees. There are many, many factors to consider in, weather, feed, breeding, quality of birds, predators, climate are all things that effect them.

    If you work on having multi- generational flocks, it works better, in my opinion, most of the time something is laying, and it is not a crisis if something dies.

    Mrs K
    1 person likes this.
  6. karenearls

    karenearls Hatching

    Nov 21, 2014
  7. karenearls

    karenearls Hatching

    Nov 21, 2014
    Thank you. Mine are 4 and going downhill fast. Would I have longer life birds with purebreds?
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana

    Maybe. Maybe not. Golden Comets is just a marketing name that means they should be red sex links, probably lighter red in color. They may be based on the commercial egg-laying hybrids or they may be based on crossing two established breeds. You might be able to tell which you have by looking at the write-up from the hatchery you got them from. The commercial Golden Comets are normally about the size of a Leghorn. The ones from crossing breeds should be closer in size to a dual purpose breed.

    As Mrs K said there are a lot of different factors at work. For example, the commercial hybrids are bred to produce a lot of large eggs on a fairly small amount of feed. They don’t have large bodies to maintain so they are more efficient in converting feed to eggs. In commercial conditions they will normally lay a Grade A Large egg practically every day using a 16% or less protein content feed, fed with no treats. If you feed them a diet with more protein the eggs will be larger which could possibly (not necessarily will but could) cause some health issues. Whether or not you light them in the winter to keep production up can have a longevity effect. Commercial hens are bred to produce really well for two or at most three laying seasons. They are not bred for longevity of laying. It’s not commercially efficient to keep them any longer than that. They will lay really well before and after their first adult molt, but after that the flock loses about 15 % to 20% in egg laying after each following adult molt though the eggs get larger after each molt.

    It’s harder to generalize about sex links made by crossing two regular breeds. It’s not just that you usually don’t know which breeds were crossed to get those Golden Comets, you don’t know what traits the people selecting the chickens that breed are looking for. I don’t know of any hatcheries that use longevity of laying as a selection criteria when they choose which chickens will be allowed to breed. It’s often the opposite. Many roll the flock over every year so their interest is how many good hatching eggs they lay their first and only season. Many and probably most private breeders don’t either, though there are a few that do. Many breeders don’t breed for good egg production to start with. They have other goals.

    The commercial hybrids are finely tuned to great egg production, quite a bit like the broilers are finely tuned to great meat production. Thus they live more on the edge as far as potential health problems. They can do really well, even later in life, but are more prone to having problems while getting to later in life. Most production breeds from hatcheries may be a little more hardy than the commercial hybrids since they are not as fine-tuned, but some people still have problems with them. Their bigger bodies and usually smaller eggs aren’t as likely to give them as many opportunities for health issues, but they are not bred for longevity either. With hens from breeders, it depends on what they are breeding for and how good they are at breeding for those traits.

    The commercial hybrids are bred to lay a lot of eggs. They will probably lay as well later in life as a production breed or sex links made from production breeds as long as you can keep them away from health issues. But practically no chicken is bred for longevity of production. They should all follow the same trends in reducing laying.

    One disclaimer. I’m talking about averages. You have to have enough hens for the averages to mean anything. Most of us don’t. Any one hen can be way off the average scale, one way or the other. You have to have enough for those to balance out. Some of that is heredity and some is all those other variables about how they are raised and kept.
  9. karenearls

    karenearls Hatching

    Nov 21, 2014
    Thank you so much for the info!

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