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Newbie with egg laying questions

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by centavo71, Sep 17, 2009.

  1. centavo71

    centavo71 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 20, 2009
    Northern Alberta
    So, I have 19 white leghorns - 8 of them are roosters. I have 25 meat birds and we will be butchering in about a month. The plan is to also butcher 6 of the leghorn roosters. Am I right to keep a couple roosters with my laying hens or should I get rid of them all? I have NO idea, I am so new at this!

    Now, onto the laying part. Right now I let them out in the morning and they free range all throughout the day. They wander farther from the coop than I would like but they always come back in for night. As they are getting closer and closer to the age they will start laying (they are around 16 weeks now), I am trying to keep them in longer in the morning. So, once they start laying, I will keep them in the coop till noon...is that the right thing to do or do I need to keep them indoors all the time once they start laying?

    Any and all advice would be appreciated!!
    Penny
     
  2. yodercountrygirl

    yodercountrygirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    If you want to have fertile eggs than you should keep a rooster. It is totally up to you if you want roosters!! [​IMG]
    Not sure about the free ranging and the laying bit, but if you want the eggs to be lain in the nest then keeping them in till noon is fine, till they get use to laying there. then you don't need to keep them in at all, they will go and lay in the nest when they are ready. Mine come in from outside and lay in their nest.
    Hope this helps. I am new at this too!!! [​IMG]
     
  3. SweetWater

    SweetWater Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2009
    Bennett CO
    One rooster can cover 8-10 hens by himself. So if you want fertile eggs, keep a rooster.

    As for the laying. Keeping them in the coop till noon should be fine. But you should still look for eggs where they free range because despite your best efforts at getting them to always lay in the nest, some hens perfer to hide their eggs in all sorts of places and watch you look all over the place for them [​IMG]
     
  4. centavo71

    centavo71 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 20, 2009
    Northern Alberta
    Really? They will come back in to lay in their nests? Yay! I really didn't want to keep them cooped up all day!

    That helps tremendously!

    Do you know, do i need to give them oyster shell when they start laying?

    Thanks so much!
     
  5. SweetWater

    SweetWater Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2009
    Bennett CO
    Yes they will need oyster shell and layer pellets/crumbles when they start laying. I personally started my hens on free choice oyster shell and layer pellets when they were 18 weeks old. I got my first egg about a week later.
     
  6. fordmommy

    fordmommy Dancing With My Chickens

    Jul 16, 2009
    Wisconsin
    If you want your chickens to have fertile eggs and hatch them, than you need a rooster. The ratio standard is 1 roo to 10 hens. If you just want eggs, you do not need a rooster.

    As for free ranging. I, personal, just have a LARGE run connected to their LARGE coop. So they don't get to run around the property. So I just let them out around 8am-10am. My girls just started to lay and the eggs come at any time of day. They have, so far, figured out to always lay the eggs in the nesting boxes. I got lucky on that I guess. They just go in and do their business when they need to. Maybe this could work for you. [​IMG]



    P.s. I have not needed to offer oyster shells to my girls. The feed I offer has been good enough. No soft shells. I use Purina Mills.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2009
  7. centavo71

    centavo71 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 20, 2009
    Northern Alberta
    "some hens perfer to hide their eggs in all sorts of places and watch you look all over the place for them "

    Why does that not surprise me?!

    Ok, about the fertilizing thing...um...ok I feel like a bit of a dork. I don't really want fertilized eggs...right now anyway. So, do I HAVE to get rid of the roosters then b/c they WILL fertilize them? I really wanted to keep one or two b/c um, I just love the big guys but if they are fertilizing the egs...then we can't eat 'em...and that's just no good...
     
  8. SweetWater

    SweetWater Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2009
    Bennett CO
    You CAN eat fetilized eggs they taste the same as unfertlized eggs. If you want to keep a rooster, then keep one, lol
    He will protect his girls. If it's babies you don't want, then just eat up all those yummy eggs [​IMG]
     
  9. centavo71

    centavo71 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 20, 2009
    Northern Alberta
    *blushing* now you can see how much i don't know what I am doing! I thought the fertilized eggs would have blood in them!?
     
  10. allmypeeps

    allmypeeps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 9, 2009
    Maine
    I will reitterate what everyone said...

    one rooster is plenty- two may fight. There will be a blood spot in ANY egg fetalized or not. It just happens. Some hens depending on breed may feel like going 'broody' and set on some eggs, if they are fertalized they will eventually hatch. If not chuck them- dont eat an egg that has been set on for a long while as you may drop a chick into your omlet mix- LOL

    I grew up with 20 or so hens and they all wandered back to the coop, laid their eggs, then went back to foraging.

    I myself have 3 hens and they do the same thing. I'm sure if you have a vast bushy yard with lots of hiding places a hen or two may feel an egg comming on and not feel like running back to the coop. But Mine always did.

    Now about oyster shell, lots of people label it as a manditory supply. However I found when using it there tended to be blood streaks on the outer eggshell of my hens. I asked my poultry vet and he said that as long as I am feeing a high quality LAYER food then they would be getting all the cacium they needed and did not need oyster shell. SO I personally do not use it, nor did my family growing up- and out of all our birds not one egg was ever soft shelled.

    I think it all depends on the bird and their individual needs/how frequently they lay and their diet. If you notice any soft eggs then add oystershell.
     

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