Need a plan for when to add pullets over the next few years.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Carolyn252, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. Carolyn252

    Carolyn252 Mother of Chickens

    I'm going to speak at a Village Board meeting tonight and will ask for the municipal code to increase the maximum number of hens from the TWO now allowed per household, to a new maximum of EIGHT. I'd like to have a good rationale for why I want eight in the flock. My foremost reason is that I want eggs year round.

    Now with just the four hens, I'm only getting one egg a day, from the same chicken, a Delaware, six days a week. The other Delaware started moulting four weeks ago and stopped laying then. The Marans and the EE started moulting about three months ago, and stopped laying then. Their molt is over, and they're fully feathered again, but they haven't started laying again. Probably because of a combination of fewer daylight hours and also the stress from when I added the two Delawares to the flock in mid September. (The Delawares are huge.)

    What do you think is a good plan for optimal availability of eggs year round? I live in a suburb of New York City, so there are four distinct seasons of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Winter daylight hours are only from about 7am to 5pm; a total of about ten hours. Not the needed 14 for best productivity from the layers.

    I know that a lot depends on the breeds, some breeds will continue to lay throughout the winter despite the lack of daylight.

    But in general, what would be a good long term plan and expectations of starting with say, two point of lay pullets in the early Spring, assuming breeds of medium rate of egg production?

    I want to make a case before the Board for what a great boon it would be for the poorer families around here to have fresh eggs for their kids every morning before sending them off to school for the day. Here's what I'm thinking of saying is a good plan: Two hens the first year, two more the second year, two more the third year, two more the fourth year, then cull the two oldest and add two new pullets.

    Assuming a hen will be laying only once or twice a week by the time she's four years old, I'd send her to a local farm then, and add new pullets then, so that I don't exceed my maximum of eight hens.

    With that kind of plan, do you think it's possible to have at least six eggs a week, year round? Or as close to year round as possible. Do you have a better plan of when to cull and when to add two more layers? Which breeds do you think would be best for winter hardy, docile, good egg production, bearing confinement well? And the breed would have to be readily available for purchase as pullets. I don't want to raise chicks, I just want to add pullets to the flock.

    There are lots of economically depressed, immigrant families with lots of children, in this Village, so I'm going to stress that in my talk tonight. Also will be mentioning that the Village is trying to present an image of being "green", i.e., promoting solar power, etc, so promoting high egg production locally is in keeping with walking the walk and not just talking the talk of being green.
     
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Hens lay the majority of their eggs in the first 2 years of life so keeping them for 4 years would not be the most efficient way to keep up the egg production. If you are allowed a maximum of 8, I would get 4 every Spring. Year 1, you get 4. Year 2 you get another 4. Year 3 you cull the oldest 4 and get 4 new chicks. And so on....

    The winter laying is affected by breed and light but also age. A pullet in her first year of laying may still lay quite well over her first winter. By the second year she is likely molt in the Fall and may not lay so well over the winter. But once she gets back to laying, she will still lay quite well (and larger eggs too) for that second year. By then, although she still has eggs left - and anecdotal evidence says she might continue to lay one or two a week for the next few years - she will have had her best two years of laying and continuing to feed her will be a net loss.

    If you follow this plan, every year you will have 4 pullets laying reasonably well over the winter and 4 older hens in their second year of laying who will lay the larger eggs for you.
     
  3. Carolyn252

    Carolyn252 Mother of Chickens

    Quote:THANK YOU, thank you.

    Much, much obliged.
    -Carolyn
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Quote:Yep, what he said. You just have to think of them more as livestock and less as pets who will live out their lives with you.
     
  5. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    And with this rational of having new pullets each year you'd only need six chickens to have year round eggs. Sure you need to stock up prior to hens molt. Though other times of year they produce 2.5 dozen eggs per week; plenty for average home.
     

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