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same batch split, different results: ???

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Puck-Puck, Nov 4, 2009.

  1. Puck-Puck

    Puck-Puck Songster

    In brief, my neighbour and I split an order of red sex link pullets. She got their first egg on 5th October; I got the first on 17th October. She is getting about 5 a day, now; I am averaging about one a day. I am wondering if I should be doing something different, or if she just lucked out and picked the more precocious layers out of the box of cheeps.

    The details: hers are in a sectioned-off area of an outbuilding, not going outside, but with a window over them and a fluorescent light that casts an orange-pink glow. It is on from 6am to 6pm. Mine are in their own coop with run, with a window that admits sun when it's sunny, and as of last week a 40W household bulb, so that between daylight and electric light, the coop is lit from around 8am to 8pm. Half of her birds are on layer feed. All of mine are, and have been since 7th October (before they started laying, but the feed store lady said it should be okay, being so close to laying age, rather than drive in and get another bag of grower). Her first eggs were soft-shelled. My hens' eggs have been perfectly formed with good shells. The eggs come in about four styles or "signatures", so I expect that at least four hens are laying. My neighbour lost one bird over summer, for reasons unknown (it got very hot for here, this year). I have had no losses and no problems that weren't mostly in my newbie head, and have at present 13 friendly, soft, glossy, active, docile hens that are about as healthy and happy as chickens can be, I reckon. For this I count my blessings.

    Am I being greedy and impatient, expecting the same amount of eggs as she's getting, or am I doing something incorrectly? Are they just slower bloomers, still warming up to the job? Although I won't go bankrupt from feeding them if they don't produce much over winter, that's not the idea...between the 13 laying hens in the one coop and the 8 laying hens in the other coop, I would like to make an omelet or a quiche once in a while, or have a few eggs to spare for the neighbours!

  2. Puck-Puck

    Puck-Puck Songster

    Answering my own question and posting, in case anyone needs to see "control group statistics" on the benefit of a light *if* you are concerned about late laying. *Assuming* that it all isn't a big coincidence and was going to happen anyhow, these are the results of supplementing morning and evening light in the coop, which is the only change I made: after a week, laying increased to three eggs a day for three days; and now my birds are averaging five eggs a day like the neighbour's. It seems that it may take the birds about 12 days to respond to the increased light. It also seems that having supplementary light when the days grow short, whether they are laying or not, encourages them to lay earlier. I am not saying you should do this; I know that many people prefer to go with natural light for very good reasons. I am offering the information as a point of reference.

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