what determines "first laying season"?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by newfmadible, Nov 8, 2008.

  1. newfmadible

    newfmadible Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 4, 2008
    North central Ohio
    I am not sure if this is the spot for this question, but here goes...I don't have any chickens yet, but plan to get chicks in the spring. I am trying to determine the best timing of it all. I understand I can't expect my fist chicks to each POL until approximately 20 weeks. So, assuming I get them late March or April I am looking at no eggs until Aug or Sept. Then, I also understand that production falls off as hours of daylight wane and cold weather sets in, so here in Ohio that would be about Nov. Am I right in assuming then that the first year of laying for my chicks will really only be at it's peak for a couple of months? Since I also read that the first two years are a hens best laying years, it seems like the first year will be a wash-out. That doesn't make sense to me. Am I figuring something wrong?
    Should I have planned to get my birds in the fall instead? Help! I am so confused! [​IMG]
     
  2. Solsken Farm

    Solsken Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Most of our hens started laying as late as 24-32 weeks. Some that were hatched May 15 still aren't laying. Many hatched as late as June 1 still are not laying. I have read many folks have had pullets lay as early as 16-17 weeks, but that sure has not been our experience. Ours are now laying strong, even though daylight has decreased substantially. (We are closer to the shortest day now). I will be supplementing light during the day for them. (Not at night).

    If you live in an area that is warmer, get those chickies as early as possible in the spring. March 1 should yield eggs by August, earlier if you are luckier than us and get young layers.

    As far as the question about the age, I cannot answer as I haven't had chcikens long enough. I am sure someone else will chime in.

    ps, If you get them now, they will be laying by spring![​IMG]


    edited to add -Oh, WELCOME TO BYC!
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2008
  3. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    My Spring chickens are just starting to lay well (or lay at all). I've never purchased chicks in the Fall. I actually got these a little early. In past years, I've tried for 1st of July chicks. The weather has warmed by that time and I've had great success with chick viability.

    You can get them "wound up" and they will do just fine in egg production their first Winter. Winding 'em up has to do with good food, plenty of fresh water, comfortable home, etc. Start providing a little more light than what occurs naturally - along about the 1st of October up here near 49° North latitude. I go for 14 hour days.

    One half my coop is fully insulated. It seldom drops much below freezing in there even without heat. The birds do fine.

    Welcome to BYC!

    Steve
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2008
  4. newfmadible

    newfmadible Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 4, 2008
    North central Ohio
    Thanks for the response and the welcome Jennifer! This is a terrific forum. I am spending WAY too much time looking around here though!
    I would love to get chicks now, but the hatchery close to me is sold out of pretty much everything right now till spring. [​IMG] But this gives me time to plan and make countless lists of the breeds I want to try! Revised daily of course! [​IMG]
     
  5. woodward farms

    woodward farms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 15, 2007
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    i am in northwest indiana just about 8 miles from its northern tip, so i am as far north as you should be in ohio.
    i got my 6 hens this yearin the early spring hatch date right around april 1

    they started laying in early/ mid august most of september all of october i was getting a 5 /+ egg a day avg in to late october, i am seeing constant 4 egg a day out put now. no added light.
    i have 4 barred rocks and 2 RIR i think the barred rocks have out produced the RIR bird per bird

    i say the sooner the better you start the better off you are.
    the first 6 plus weeks are in a brouder anyway so my ladies did not stay out in there coop till early mid may when it was nice out in my mind the timing worked out great....
     
  6. ChickenToes

    ChickenToes Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2008
    NE Wisconsin
    I got my chicks around April 20th, and they began laying September 16th.

    They were laying like crazy until the days started getting shorter and shorter. Their production really dropped, so I put a light in the coop. I hooked it up to an automatic timer. The light turns on at 4 am and turns off at 7 am. So far it's working - their production is back up to around 9 eggs day. Some of the hens still aren't laying, but hopefully they'll start pretty soon.
     
  7. newfmadible

    newfmadible Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 4, 2008
    North central Ohio
    So, probably the earlier the better in the spring and then I can "help" them lay more by adding light for the winter months. I am trying to focus on cold hardy breeds some of which are listed as winter layers. (Dominique, Delaware, Orpington). But I really want to try Buckeyes, Brahmas and Australorps too! Oh and Welsummer and EE's!
    If you just let nature take its course and don't add extra light, do the hens tend to continue laying for a longer number of years? Sort of like giving them a bit of a resting period?
     
  8. Morning Dove

    Morning Dove Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 13, 2008
    Eastern Shore MD
    I have speckled sussex and they lay all year round.....

    Dove
     
  9. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Quote:I bet that will be a difficult one to answer. Are you trying to talk yourself into not worrying about Winter egg production, now [​IMG]?

    I've had Orpingtons, Brahmas, Australorps and EE's - from your list. They will all do fine in the Winter. I'd like to try those Delawares sometime. You can tell that I go for the big girls for the henhouse. The EE's aren't my 1st choice - there's a lot of variability between 'em and they're kinda little . . . Had a gorgeous rooster at one time, tho'. (Just trying a little to fend off the EE lovers [​IMG])

    My brother had Speckled Sussex and liked them real well. They are real pretty, too .

    Steve
     

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