Timing seems off

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by gadus, Sep 26, 2016.

  1. gadus

    gadus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I bought 6 each of three different varieties back in late April/early May. While some of them have started laying-and I suspect all of them within a few weeks- it seems to me that the timing for delivery of chicks doesn't agree particularly well with where I am and the coincidence of the expected onset of laying with the onset of cold weather. It seems they might be hampered by cold weather and not become reliable egg-layers until next spring. It was 34 degrees this morning so we're into the cold already, with the majority of the flock not having laid any eggs yet...

    What can I expect here in the Northeast as the cold increases month by month? Will it be a lean egg-laying season until the warm weather returns (with attendant light)? Thoughts from fellow Yankees?
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    What breeds do you have? It's perfectly normal and natural for chickens to sexually mature during the fall months. Your hens should start at a breed appropriate times and lay through the winter at a slightly decreased rate. Weather shifts can halt laying through winter but a after a week or two most resume. In early Spring under increasing daylight they will be at their best production for the laying season.

    To optimize laying, feed a good quality ration with a protein content of 18-20%, and never let them run out of fresh unfrozen water. Some use lights to encourage laying, but first year layers don't respond to lighting like second season layers do, so I don't believe it increases production.
     
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  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    It's the length of days/nights, not the cold, that can slow onset of lay in pullets.
    Many pullets will lay all winter without supplemental light, older layers are much less likely.

    Pullets can respond to supplemental light, they just often don't need it.

    I'll find out this winter as I have pullets slowly coming into lay(6-7 out of 10 so far) and this is the first year I haven't used light.
     
  4. gadus

    gadus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the responses. I have red stars, black stars, buffs and Americaunas; the red stars are the only ones laying currently. Not having raised birds in awhile, I thought it would be fun to try some different varieties. I've read that having some different varieties can be an advantage, as some will pick up the slack in the winter months as others fade. However, if I'm to get serious about egg production, it now appears seemingly best to focus on one breed w/rooster-and hatch my own. I'm looking at reds-had em as a kid-but spoke to a fellow the other day and sounds as if they've become through breeding a more cantankerous bird than I ever remembered them being. Love to hear opinions on the subject.

    -Sounds like I can put the 40 watt bulb and timer away and just let them do their thing at least for the first year.

    -Local feed (grower crumble) appears to be only 15% protein; looks like I should find another source or see if I can get some in.

    -I gather when people say the first year of laying, its marked from the onset of egg-laying and not the actual ages of the hens?. So a hen at the end of her first year of laying will be 17 months old, give or take.

    Again, thanks. It's fun to wing it but also nice to have good info.

    .
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Red stars are a proprietary hybrid cross, I believe...also known as a sexlink.
    High production birds won't breed true for you, but should still carry good production properties.

    ....or maybe the 'reds' you are talking about are Rhode Island Reds?

    Yes, first year of laying ends at about 18 months....since they usually start about 6 months.
    No, doesn't match up with their age and makes it kind of confusing when you go to rotate out stock.
     
  6. gadus

    gadus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 28, 2015
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    Yes to raising Rhode Island Reds. I remember some fairly gentle birds growing up but had a conversation with a guy that raises both meat birds and layers, he said the Rhode Island Reds are not the birds they used to be. More vicious apparently.
     

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