Question about raising new chickens each year to have eggs through winter.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by crazyhatlady, Dec 12, 2014.

  1. crazyhatlady

    crazyhatlady Chirping

    Feb 27, 2013
    I have some questions for those that raise new chicks each year to make sure they have eggs through the winter.

    What is your schedule like? When do you start raising the new chicks and when do you cull or sell the older hens?

    My goal was to always butcher my older layers for stew/soup chickens. As I went into this for food not pets.

    I want to set up a schedule for this each year but not sure exactly what to do at what time of the year.

    If you do this, can you please share with me what you do?

    Thank you.
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I get chicks as early in the year as I can, usually Feb or March. They start laying from August to October, depending on when I got them and what breeds. They lay through the first winter for me, then take a break at the 18 month mark to molt and recharge. I don't use lights to stimulate laying, so it's at this point I look them over and decide who stays and who gets sold. I don't butcher 18 month layers as a rule, cause in my mind they've got good laying left in them and I can usually sell them. I have butchered hens a few years old and they've made fantastic broth and soups. Each year I buy (or now hatch) more chicks in the spring and repeat the process.

    In a smallish backyard flock in can be a challenge to bring in new pullets. You have to keep in mind how much space those new birds are going to take while you have the younger birds growing up and the older girls laying during the summer. Then, it's your decision if you keep the first batch over the winter knowing they'll start laying again in the spring, or cull them from your flock instead of feeding them over the winter.

    Folks have different ways of keeping track of which birds are what ages. Changing breeds is an easy way to tell who is 1 year old, who is 2 years old, etc. Some folks roll through the colors--white eggs one year, brown, the next, green after that, then back to white. Leg bands can also help you track who is from which year.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I am a bit lazy, and only have one set up... so I wait for a broody hen. I don't add light as no electricity to the house, so I tend to be hatching eggs in June. December is often lean for fresh eggs. Right now, a good egg laying breed, while not laying an egg every day, will be laying some eggs. I have some point of lay hens, whose combs are getting very red, but while I look each day for a pullet egg, I will not be surprised is they don't start until January.

    What works for me, is in July and August, when they are laying up a storm, I freeze those eggs to use for baking or egg casseroles, and this allows me to get by for the most part on using the fresh eggs just for breakfast.

    Having some dual purpose birds, some egg laying breeds, some birds at different ages will work well in a single coop/run set up. This fall my broody hen hatched me out some more, so they should be laying by March. I am expecting better egg production next winter with those younger birds.

    Donrae's advice is best if you want consistent egg production, but you can make it work other ways too.

    Mrs K
  4. chickamy

    chickamy In the Brooder

    Dec 13, 2014
    Can't help you - My girls are pets too
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    It would be helpful if you told us how big your coop and run is, if you have any options for alternate housing, and how big your flock is. How many layers would you like to keep, and what kind of egg production would you be happy with???
  6. crazyhatlady

    crazyhatlady Chirping

    Feb 27, 2013
    Thank you everyone for your responses and help. Between your responses and then actually finding the correct search terms, I'm figuring it out.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: