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Questions about roosters and hens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by dbiorn, Nov 14, 2014.

  1. dbiorn

    dbiorn New Egg

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    Oct 23, 2014
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    I have a question I'm fairly new to owning chickens. I was told tonight that I need to separate my rooster from my girls or I won't be able to have any eggs that are edible. I've never heard this before but like I said I'm new to this. I was also told that after two years hens stop laying eggs and they rotate them and kill them to eat. Is this true? I have seven girls and one boy. The red hen was giving me eggs for about four days straight and has stopped completely. She is new at Lane eggs since she was born in May. I might add two of the seven hens I received from a friend and I don't know how old they are the the five hens and the rooster were born late May and I've had them since chicks. I'm not getting any egg production from any of them.
     
  2. Toddrick

    Toddrick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Welcom not BYC! Fertilized eggs are perfectly good to eat, you just have to retrieve them daily so they don't get sat on and begin to develop.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2014
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    The first 2 points that you were told are nonsense. Did they explain why they thought the eggs were inedible?
    The only difference is a blastoderm or blastodisc on the yolk. That's the white dot that's on all egg yolks. The difference is imperceptible and in no way affects edibility.
    Hens can lay for 10 years or more though they usually don't last that long.
    It's true that in commercial egg farms that they cull every 2 years because in the competitive egg business they can't afford and usually don't feed them while they're going through their first true molt.
    For spring hatched pullets, they sometimes take longer to begin laying because days are getting shorter. You can jump start them by adding a light on a timer to give them about 14 hours of light.
    Since you have a cockerel and most of the females aren't laying, they should be eating something other than layer feed because birds not building egg shells shouldn't be getting 4% calcium.
    Best practice is to give a grower/finisher feed (about 16% protein if you can find it) and provide oyster shell in a separate container for those laying.
     
  4. dbiorn

    dbiorn New Egg

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    Oct 23, 2014
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    Thanks Toddrick and Chickencanoe!
     
  5. One Chick Two

    One Chick Two Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just wanted to add to all the good advice above, once a hen sits on a fertilized egg, it takes 24 hours after that point for an embryo to begin to develop.

    We've done blind taste tests from ferilized and unfertilized eggs (from 10 people), and have noticed no noticeable discernible flavor difference from either, in three breeds of birds, one being banty.

    As for rotating the hens, some people do this as a rule of thumb, however, some hens can be superb layers even years later. You'll know when they quit laying for good. (Ideally, if you start chicks 8 months before the 2nd year, you'll have new girls coming online if you rotate at year 2.) I know one man who has a lovely, 10 year old Black Copper Marans hen he still shows (and wins), who laid very well until her 8th year! That said, this is not the norm and does not happen often, but, these are the types of healthy, good genetics that should be brought forward. Good luck!!!
     
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