Raising Replacement layers

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by jjstroz, Aug 9, 2009.

  1. jjstroz

    jjstroz In the Brooder

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    Feb 25, 2009
    Chillicothe, MO
    Anyone have a minute to share ideas with me on how to keep our flock going?

    Our goal is to maintain a flock of layers that will provide eggs for our small family and allow us to sell enough eggs to at least break even on feed costs....

    We have a 11X14 coop for layers to live in and a 8X8 tractor to raise pullets in. We also have a great place in the barn to brood.

    How often do most people get replacement birds? How old should the layers be before you get a batch of chicks?

    I'm thinking we'll have a kind of out with the old in with the new each year before winter comes....not sure.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    I'd suggest replacing half your layers every year. It may take you a couple of years to get the timing right, but pay very close attention to when they molt and go from there. This is usually in the fall when days get shorter.

    Hens really slow down laying when they molt. For utmost efficiency, you don't want to feed them during a molt while they are not laying. You do want them to go through their first major molt as the eggs get larger and they seem to reach peak production after that first molt after they start laying. Then production drops off about 15% on average after each following molt.

    You might time it so the pullets are starting to lay when the others quit. Process or do whatever you do with the two year old hens, move the year old hens to the tractor so they can molt, move the new layers into the coop so you can adjust the light to keep them laying, and move the older hens back into the coop after they are well into the molt so they can return to laying when they finish molting.

    Hope this makes sense. I know what I am trying to say.
     
  3. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    I do it yearly. Now I have to build a larger coop. This will make 3 coops. I have combined two flocks in one coop and have another flock in the second coop. Now I need another coop for more. [​IMG]
     
  4. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast

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    Quote:That's the ticket!
     
  5. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    I'm constantly hatching and adding new pullets to my flock. That way even if some are molting or not laying I'll still have some that are.
     
  6. jjstroz

    jjstroz In the Brooder

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    Feb 25, 2009
    Chillicothe, MO
    Ridgerunner: Thank you so much for the great answer to my wonderings....it makes good sense to me.

    I wouldn't have thought about moving the molters out to the tractor while the new girls get started laying. It will take some practice to get all that timed.
    You also confirmed what I had thought about the two year old birds. I have some now that are starting to molt, they won't be economical to keep around much longer.

    Always nice to have a plan, and even nicer when things go as planned [​IMG]
     

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