Looking to add to my flock in spring, breed advice needed.

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by sunny & the 5 egg layers, Oct 19, 2014.

  1. sunny & the 5 egg layers

    sunny & the 5 egg layers Overrun With Chickens

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    My original flock consisted of two "production reds", two black australorps, and two dark brahmas, and I later added two golden sebrights (a male and female).
    Over this past year, both of my production reds have died. They were both three years old and were sickly. One died in May and the other died in October. Their sickness was slow, no eggs were laid, they lost weight and by the time of their death they both were in rough shape, and though sad, it was relieving to see that they both were taken out of their misery.

    One of my black australorps was beaten up by the flock in January, she has a limp and nearly died. I do not know why she was beat up, maybe her limp caused her to be an easier target? She has made a full recovery (thanks greatly to the folks on BYC) and she still must remain seperate from the flock. She has a nice set up though, and she lives a happy life.

    When my golden sebright hen went broody this summer, she had two healthy chicks, but of course, both have grown into roosters, lol.
    We started with a bad mite infestation about the time that she first went broody, and we continue to fight those little mites in our coop.

    The rest of my flock is very healthy, but it is dwindling down in numbers. I only have four egg layers right now, all of which haven't laid an egg in months. They are all over the age of three, except the sebright mom, who is only two.

    This spring, I am looking to add to my flock (providing that I sell two roosters and get this mite issue under control). But I am having trouble deciding on good breeds to suit my needs.
    I would like breeds that lay well for a long time. I don't need an egg every day from each hen, but I would like a few eggs a week. Do all breeds quit by the time they are three? I remember reading about heritage breeds laying well into their older years, is this true? I do not know much about them.
    My production reds laid very well in their first year, but they both died from what I would assume to be some sort of cancer, or other disease.
    I also would like breeds that are friendly, and not aggressive or flighty.


    Thanks in advance. :)
     
  2. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

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    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    Hi
    My neighbour has a black star, Molly, who is over 8 years old and still pops out the odd egg and she was laying pretty regularly up until a couple of years ago. She is the last of his original flock and looks in fantastic condition and better than his new birds. She is friendly too.... unlike the new girls (Croad Langshans) which are terrified of people and don't lay eggs either.. I think Molly may just be a particularly good example of a black sex link. I had black rocks years ago and I really liked them. They were mature birds when I got them and continued to lay well but I couldn't say how old they were. Sadly a fox took them before old age got the chance.[​IMG]

    My current flock are still relatively young so I'm not in a position to advocate any of the breeds that I have at present as regards longevity and production. I choose for egg colour because I wanted multi-coloured eggs. At the moment laying is right down though because several of my egg producers are seriously moulting.

    I think you may find that your older birds are going through moult and will come back into lay next spring if not before, but it is always good to have young birds coming through to help boost production.

    Regards

    Barbara
     
  3. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    Actually, based on your criteria, you may want to get some more Black Australorps. My BAs have typically layed 5 eggs per hen per week (occasionally 6) when they are in their laying prime, and they have often given me 3-4 years of good laying (more than any other of dozens of breeds or hybrids that I've had). I've also raised Black Sex Links (Black Stars) and Red Sex Links (Red Stars) for many years, and they are egg laying machines. They have been my best layers in their primes, consistently churning out more than 300 eggs per hen per year. Because the sex links put such energy into their incredible lay rates, they typically have a rather short laying life, but I've had the occasional Black Sex Link (Black Star) give me 3-4 years of good laying.
     
  4. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

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    Montana
    P.S. I forgot to add that the Black Australorps are very calm and gentle. My children, and now my granddaughter, made lap pets of ours.
     

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