Someone educate me on the egglaying habits of my free range gamefowl?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by GaNewChick, May 19, 2009.

  1. GaNewChick

    GaNewChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2009
    McDonough, Ga.
    OK...I am chicken "eggnorant" [​IMG] These guys and gals have free ranged for the last 18 months. Strays that showed up one day after a neighbor moved out ~ "wild things" as I can't touch them or get too close. I was told when I first joined that they are Golden Duckwings and Black Breasted Reds.

    I take that these hens are not daily egg layers? They seem to only lay eggs a couple of times a year in which they disappear (only coming back every few days for a quick scratch feed treat) and then back to their nest... which are in the wooded area beside our house, so I have no idea where they nest. In another week or so two of the hens will come waddling out one day with little ones behind her.

    Is it the breed or is it because they free range with no egg laying supplements added to their diet. Are some breeds like dogs in the sense they go in "heat" a couple of times a year...other than that they don't lay?

    Thanks everyone!


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    My game hen lays 6 eggs a week, right up until she decides to go broody. Of course, I know how many eggs she lays because she is confined.

    Your chickens on the other hand are also probably laying pretty well, but you will not know because they are hiding their nests in the woods. If they are completely free range, the hens may not be laying quite as well as my hen, but they are probably just as healthy.

    Oh, and chickens do not 'come into heat' like other animals will.

    Although somtimes I think my rooster thinks he is "in heat" pretty much year round !
     
  3. GaNewChick

    GaNewChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2009
    McDonough, Ga.
    Thanks for your response. I have walked almost every inch of the woods where they hang out and have never seen one egg nor an egg shell. Thats why I am asking. I have found eggs twice before when one was laying on the backside of the property but a coon or possum found them as they were all broken and she moved her nest somewhere else. Other than that I have never seen any eggs. [​IMG]
     
  4. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    When my game hen decides to go broody, she will cover the eggs she lays with the wood chips in the nest. So, I would guess that since your chickens are mostly wild, they also cover their eggs with what ever is handy !

    By the way, they sure are pretty !
     
  5. prariechiken

    prariechiken Chillin' With My Peeps

    652
    58
    196
    Feb 9, 2007
    Midwest
    Freeranged game hens will lay better than confined game hens, the problem with it is them suckers can hide eggs better than the Easter Bunny. On top of that, the wild critters out in the world love eating these eggs and they have much better ways of finding them eggs than we do. Game hens can be quite productive as long as you pull the eggs daily and keep them from going broody, (easier said than done as many will go broody anyways). Egg laying suppliments are nothing compared to the stuffs them freerangers get ahold of. I recently shipped a game hen to a friend that had been freeranged the last couple years that weighed over 6 pounds. Did she lay well, who knows, all I do know is she raised a couple clutches of mutt chicks she brought outta the brush every year. Also, where many layer breeds will "lay out" within a couple years, I've had game hens be productive layers up into their teens (comparitively of course). Since they are closer to the wild fowl than most breeds, they are more seasonal layers, but you can't ask for a better incubator than a game hen...
     
  6. GaNewChick

    GaNewChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2009
    McDonough, Ga.
    Quote:Thank you. This makes sense. They do seem to be more seasonal layers. My oldest hen came out yesterday for a few minutes to take a dust bath and get her scratch feed treat. I followed her through the thick brush and briars for over a half an hour and then lost her. She trusts me a little bit but then outsmarted me in the end. [​IMG]

    We'll know in a week or so. She'll bring them to us. [​IMG]

    Thanks enola ~ they have been a joy.
     
  7. ibpboo

    ibpboo Where Chickens Ride Horses

    Jul 9, 2007
    always changing
    Those are pretty chickens you have! I have a wild game hen, that just showed up. She is very good at hiding her eggs. Once I couldn't find her for over a week, and I thought she had moved on. Then one day, there she was, right there, under a ladder that had been laying on the ground for awhile and the grass had grown around it. There's no rooster around here, so the eggs will never hatch, so when I find them, i collect them. She finds a new place to hide them every time. Now she got smart and has picked a place way under the barn where I can not reach. [​IMG]
    They do make good brooders. I used to have a different game hen, same thing, was wild, but eventually became somewhat tame, and I would either put fertilized eggs under her (couple times) and a couple other times I bought babies and switched the eggs for the babies when she was up off the nest. I would crack an egg and leave the shell, and put babies there, and she would fall for it and raise them!!
     
  8. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    453
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Love this thread. Chickens are amazing. Thank you!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by