out with the old, in with the new...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by cptbahama, Oct 17, 2012.

  1. cptbahama

    cptbahama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 13, 2011
    augusta, georgia
    I'm considering making some changes to my flock. I have some questions...but first, a little background.
    We built our first coop in February 2010. Got our fist chickens the same month. There is a local farm that raises pullets for sale so we were lucky to get a variety. We have the following varieties:
    Rhode Island Red (she is a rebel!)
    Ameraucana's or Easter Eggers, light blue and green eggs
    Buff Orpington (became very broody, and fast)
    Silver Laced Wyandotte (she ended up being our largest bird, and I think that's why we lost her to the summer heat)
    Gold Laced Wyandotte
    Welsummer (she took the longest to start laying)
    Black Astralorp (she ate the eggs so she had to go)

    My questions:
    They are approaching 2 years old. Their age and the shortened daylight, we are down to 1 or 2 eggs a day (in full swing summer we sometimes got one egg from each bird).
    My options are to eat, sell/give away or keep and add younger birds but feed is not cheap.
    If I harvest them at near two years old, does the meat taste good? Will egg production pick back up in Spring or have they basically reached and passed their peak egg productivity?
    I want to maybe try some new varieties, can you suggest some, other than the ones I listed already?
    I have more details and tons of pics on my page.
    Thanks for all the advice and help.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012
  2. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    They will pick up laying again. Their production will drop by 5 to 10 % and by about that much each year there after. So yes they have peaked in their first year. Some say the flavor is good in older birds. They are tougher and need to be cooked some way other than a quick fry.
  3. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    They will pick up in the spring. My oldest hens are almost 4 years old and a couple of them still lay really well. (about 5 eggs a week) I raise babies every year so I have pullets that will lay through winter while the older hens are molting.

    If you do decide to process them, you will want to slow cook them, otherwise the meat will be tough. Soup, crock pot, etc.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2012
  4. off-grid hen

    off-grid hen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 1, 2011
    Upstate NY
    I don't have much to add here, I just want to commiserate. I am going through the same thing with no eggs from my girls experiencing their second fall, they're now molting. I have 17 that are laying, and getting 5 eggs a days for 4 days in a row. Even though I knew the drop in production was coming, I wasn't quite prepared for it being THIS slow. Part of my issue is the breeds of some of my pullets. [​IMG]

    I also wanted to say that I know a version of your signature... "The best fertilizer is the farmer's shadow". Good luck with your flock.

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