How best to space pullets to account for molting

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by saraem, May 23, 2016.

  1. saraem

    saraem Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have a very small flock (4 right now but one is looking like a rooster so very well may be 3 soon!) If our 4th girl is indeed a cockerel, we will probably add 2 new chicks at some point in the next year.

    I am wondering if there is any ideal time to help ensure the most steady egg production. Is it likely that our current girls will molt together being that they are the same age? Or is it more seasonally motivated and they will all molt together regardless of age?

    Since we have such small numbers, even if 2 hens molt simultaneously, we would have a substantial drop in eggs.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2016
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Your current hens won't molt until next year, 2017, in the fall. Most will go through it from September to December. So you would want next year's birds to start laying about that time. Depending on breeds I would buy my chicks from April to June. I always buy my replacements by June and they are laying well by December.
     
  3. saraem

    saraem Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you!! That's exactly the info I was hoping for.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Yep, new pullets every spring to ensure eggs thru the olders molt in fall and hopefully thru winter too.
    Not all pullets will always lay thru winter without supplemental lighting.

    But you have to plan on how you are going to integrate new birds each spring/summer
    (easiest to do with some 'extra' space),
    and what to do with the older(est) birds when you start running out of space.

    To keep the eggs coming, breed can also matter a great deal, especially if you are so limited on population.
    Getting a production breed almost guarantees an egg a day continuously for months on end....
    .....other breeds, not so much.
     
  5. saraem

    saraem Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have a RIR, a Buff Orpington, a Barred Rock, and a Black Australorp (this is the suspected cockerel). All hatchery stock.

    If we do add 2 chicks next year I'd like a wellsummer and a blue egg layer (still deciding on breed), and I would get them from a breeder to ensure good egg color. I know that means less eggs perhaps, but I'm ok with that as our family only uses about a dozen/week.
     
  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Hens of different breeds are likely to molt at different times, and that helps with maintaining egg production throughout the year. Lighting from about four to eight AM during the winter months helps too. Mary
     
  7. DanEP

    DanEP Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I rotate my girls out at 24-30 months old but always have the new girls laying before laying before the old girls really get into their molt which usually starts late September or October where I live. For this reason I try to have my new girls by mid March which will have most of the new girls laying by late summer so I always have eggs.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Yeppers, same here!
    New girls are laying in time for old girls to be culled before winter population restrictions come into effect here.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2016

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