How many eggs are you getting?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by pennydog, Jan 6, 2014.

  1. pennydog

    pennydog Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 8, 2013
    Reading one of the other threads debating feed and health and me being somewhat new to chickens, how are everyone else's chickens doing? Knowing how other people's chickens are producing would help me and possibly others qualify the health of their own birds.

    How many egg laying hens by breed?: 10 barred rock, 9 road island red, 2 amber link, 4 black sex-link and 5 isa brown... 30 total. For what it is worth, they are all hatchery chicks and this is their first winter.

    Average eggs per day, right now?: 10

    Where do you live?: Northern Michigan

    Hours of artificial light?: None (though we have a 60 watt bulb that turns on about sunrise and turns off in the late afternoon to make the barn less gloomy, it is on for 8 hours)

    Do they have artificial heat?: No

    What are you feeding of significance including scraps, snacks and free ranging?: Their main diet is (by weight) 50% whole corn, 25% roasted soybeans (but we bought junk soybeans and are currently fixing this problem), 6% whole oats, 6% whole white wheat, 6% BOSS, 3.5% flax, 3% Fertrell Nutri-Balencer and .5% Thorvin kelp meal... based on Joel Salatin's recipe.

    To be thorough in this discussion, at this time they're not eating much of the flax, Fertrell, Thorvin and only about half the oats... it ends up in the bottom of the feeders and ultimately gets dumped on the floor... maybe consumed later but probably just buried.

    They get kitchen scraps daily and have a pan of oyster shells all the time. They just get straight water. They also have sod clumps and gravel available all the time.

    They free ranged all summer and fall but have been 100% indoors, on oak sawdust, since mid November.

    Any issues?: We killed a feather picker last week that turned out to have fatty liver disease and have an isa brown that isn't looking good. Everyone else looks pretty good with some feather picking issues.

    Again, the roasted soybeans we bought seem to have an issue, they will hardly touch them. I've never seen roasted soybeans so have nothing to compare to but in researching, they seem to be bad and we've been trying to force them since November (I should have listened to the birds, they new it was junk). I posted here about the soybeans earlier (https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/841936/chickens-wont-eat-roasted-soybeans#post_12456526). I'm hoping the substitution of another protein source and ultimately quality roasted soybeans will fix our problems.
     
  2. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    I know most people will tell you pullets keep laying through their first winter, what they don;t mention is that without a longer light period they will slow down. They can also molt in their first fall, not always and not usually hard. My flock in my new coop is all pullets in their first year, so they are the ones I compare with not the older barn flock. I got hit with both the slow down and molt. I didn't have electric in the coop to start in the fall, so they didn't have the extra light and the Buff Rocks went into a molt in October. I was down to the slightly younger Wyandottes laying in there. I added a light the Saturday before Thanksgiving, adding a half hour a week. They are up to around thirteen hours have have started to lay again. I'm getting around eight out of thirteen a day now. I might be getting more, but the bantam and one of the Wyandottes fly out most days and I have only seen one banty egg since the New Year. Have to correct that. What they get to eat is commercial feed mostly and some scratch. They have almost a quarter acre to pasture in, that includes two thirds of the garden. Here in my part of Pa. I've have snow cover for about half the time for the last four weeks.

    To get ten out of thirty isn't to bad in the depth of winter when the days haven't started to get noticeably longer isn't bad. Wait till next year when they are older, molt and you have no eggs on some days.
     
  3. song of joy

    song of joy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 22, 2012
    Central Pennsylvania
    I have 4 pullets, age 6 months. Hatch date 6/26. They began laying in mid- to late December at 25-26 weeks of age. Breeds: Rhode Island Red, buff orpington, black australorp and barred Plymouth rock. I am getting 3 eggs/day from these 4 pullets, even during this really cold snap we're having in central Pennsylvania. The flock's rate of lay is currently about 5 eggs/pullet/week. They have no supplemental heat and no supplemental light. They are fed Southern States layer feed (16% protein) and have a heated waterer. During cold weather, they get 3/4 to 1 cup of scratch before they go to roost at night.

    These pullets began laying later (25-26 weeks) than chicks I've previously purchased in April, who began laying at 22-24 weeks of age. I'm not sure why. Perhaps spring chicks mature faster than summer chicks due to light levels?
     
  4. CourtsCacklers

    CourtsCacklers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 18, 2013
    Northern Ohio
    My Coop
    Hello!!!! We are in Northwest Ohio. We only have 3 Rhode Island Red (RIR) and 3 Silver Laced Wyandottes that hatched on March 20th 2013. We got our first egg at exactly 20 weeks and the others followed shortly...When the days were long and warm I got 6 eggs on most days with an occassional 5 egg/day or 4 egg/day in there here and there. The chickies can free range on most days, even in the cold, unless the temperatures are extreme like they have been the last few days (below 0), then they do not have access to the outdoors. Even if the temps are in the 20's they love to be outside. They DO NOT like the snow and will not leave the covered area of the run if it is really windy and cold or snowy. They have access to Nutrena's Natural Feed (commercial) at all times but I do not overfill it as I try to keep it as fresh as possible for them. I am growing some forage mix indoors for them that the 6 of them eat a 17"x17" tray in a few very short minutes (I don't think with 30 chickens I could keep up!) I also supplement with Organic Alfalfa sprouts which actually sprout in like 3 days which they also devour. On most days, but not all, they get a small handful of scratch mixed with their pellets. They are giving me 5 eggs on most days-- (6 eggs a couple days a week and an occassional 3 or 4 thrown in there sometimes too!) I don't think that is too shabby for winter. Their coop has a farm durostat that is connected to an outlet in the ceiling that we have a heat lamp plugged into. If the coop temperature falls below 40, the heat lamp (with a red bulb...so not very bright) kicks on and will go back off when the temperature reaches 45-50 degrees F. The dim light of the heat lamp doesn't seem to affect their bedtime/wake-up schedule...They religiously go to roost atleast 1/2 hour to 45 minutes before dark. I know they don't get up to lay in the night because of the heat lamp because I go out there everynight before I turn in for a once over (heatlamp snugly plugged in...no dust on it , etc...)....collect any lingering eggs...and tell them good night. I am also out there first thing in the A.M. with no eggs yet. I am pretty new to this but in my experience the day light does affect them to a point as they won't ovulate at night, however I think the bigger issue is the temperature. Chickens do best when the temperature is between 40 to 80 degrees. If it is below 40 then they are using their energy to stay warm rather than produce eggs. I do not supplement them with the heat lamp for their egg production but rather because I feel better about them maintaining a comfortable temperature. They generate heat on their own, especially when they are among many other chickens. There will be people that will agrue about the neccessity of any additional heat at all, saying that being in the colder temperatures helps them to get used to it and become cold hardy and it is then very dangerous to them if their heat fails. I won't agrue against that-- it is the same way with an outside dog vs. an inside dog. I monitor my coop very closely so I don't stress about the risks of having a little addtional heat. Good Luck! [​IMG] The good news is....the days are getting longer already....
     
  5. MikeMoab

    MikeMoab New Egg

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    Dec 20, 2013
    Michigan
    Location: South Central Michigan
    Birds: 5 California Gray Leghorns that I received in error this spring. Bought 20 Cornish cross, 5 were not.
    Feed: Layena Layer Pellets with some cracked corn mixed in and free feed oyster shell. (Hens seem to avoid the corn though)
    Light: None
    Heat: None
    Water: 5 Gallon bucket with horizontal watering nipples and a submersible heater
    Coop: Modified meat bird tractor. 5' x 14' overall with a 3' x 5' coop on one end with two nest boxes. Coop is covered on top and 3 sides (West, North, East for a wind break)
    Because of the low coop height, chickens sleep in the nest boxes, typically 2 in one and 3 on the other.
    I do have a roosting bar that they only use during the day.

    With this set-up, I have had no issues with predators or frostbite, the tractor is full of grass clipping and leaves from the fall.
    I am getting 3 to 5 eggs per day, I would say a 4.2 average, and have been since they started laying this fall. (5 a day that last three days)
     

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