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Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by wintertexan, Feb 18, 2015.

  1. wintertexan

    wintertexan New Egg

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    We spend winters in Texas and summers in Alaska. Last summer I got 4 established layers from a friend. Had never had chickens before. Had a blast with them they were lots of fun and lots of eggs. I gave them to a couple to winter over and has not gone well. One was killed by hawk and other 3 don't look well and have stopped laying. While they were great pets I do want the egg production. Is it realistic to think I could nurse them back to healthy production or would I be better off getting new chickens?
     
  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! Sorry about the hen you lost. Do the hens seem sick, do you know if they have been well fed and taken care of etc? Most hens after the pullet year will molt and stop laying for the winter and will not pick up again until in the spring, especially if they do not have added light. Many hens look pretty rough when they molt, ragged feathers etc. When they start laying again, they won't lay as well as they did when they were younger, the general rule of thumb seems to be that a hen will lay about half at age five of what she did at a year.
     
  3. wintertexan

    wintertexan New Egg

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    They have been fed and given light on a timer but when I saw a pic of them they looked pretty bad combs almost dehydrated feathers very ragged. Can I successfully introduce another chicken to this group if I take them back? Four seemed like the perfect number for the size of coop I had.
     
  4. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life Out of the Woods Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC! I'm glad you joined us!
     
  5. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    I think getting a new flock would be best - it might take so long to get your older ones back in shape - you won't get the quantity of eggs you want.
     
  6. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    You can add new chickens to a flock, it does take some doing/time and needs to be done slowly, good link from the Learning Center on it https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/adding-to-your-flock the easiest method seems to be to have the flocks separated by wire, ie dividing the coop into two sections or keeping the new/younger ones in a cage.
    BYC runs a Worst Chicken Molt Picture contest, to give you an idea of what the hens can look like, link to the 2014 one
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...st-chicken-molt-pictures-fall-winter-2014/190
    If they are just molting, they should start laying again in the spring, then you need to decide if you would rather have young birds which will need to be raised for 4-6+ months before they start laying, or keep the older birds which won't lay as well but should lay sooner this year for you... in the fall production breed pullets should lay through the first winter, but the older birds will usually molt and quit again in the fall (they will start laying sooner in the spring if you add light in the coop, but they will take some sort of break). A lot of people who keep chickens primarily for eggs will rotate their flock, replacing part every year, so they always have pullets laying in the winter and 2/3 year birds which still lay well, but cull them in the fall when they go into their second or third molt.
     
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  7. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help.

    Kelsie has given you great advice and links.

    Good luck!
     
  8. wintertexan

    wintertexan New Egg

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    Great info in such a short time so glad I found this site!
    If I did go with a new flock any info on contacts in Alaska to purchase.
     
  9. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    Welcome to BYC! [​IMG]I'm glad you joined our "flock"
     
  10. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

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    [​IMG] I'm glad you joined our "flock!"
     

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