What kind are the best layers?

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by W4kfarm, Feb 23, 2016.

  1. W4kfarm

    W4kfarm New Egg

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    I am getting ready to get chicks or hens already laying and was wondering what the best producers are. I have 4 kids and we go through a lot of groceries! Also how old are hens when they start laying?
     
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC!!!
    For pure production you can't beat the white leghorn - there is a reason they are the bird of choice for commercial farms -- they are egg laying machines and they are extremely efficient at feed conversion, especially in comparison to larger, heavy breeds. If brown eggs are what you are looking for I would suggest looking into red or black sex links (sold as cinnamon queen, red star, black star, golden comet, etc) -- they hatch with male and female being obvious by down color, making mistaken sex identification a non-issue and red sex links are the most common brown layer used in commercial production.
    Age at the point of lay will depend on breed -- the commercial strains will mature more quickly (laying as early as 16 weeks, with 18-22 being most common) and other breeds maturing anywhere from 18-30+ weeks. Generally speaking, the heavier the breed (think standard cochin, brahma, etc) the longer they take to mature and begin to produce.
    Are you wanting kid-friendly breeds?
     
  3. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Meant to add - with kids in the mix, a fun option would be Easter Eggers which are birds bred for teh potential to lay blue or green eggs (some will lay brown/cream/pinkish).
     
  4. W4kfarm

    W4kfarm New Egg

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    Not so concerned with kid friendly, my youngest is 9, but I do like the colored eggs. Are the leg horns also good for meat? I was told the hens will not lay eggs if you don't have a rooster also-is this true?
     
  5. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    For white eggs, Leghorns are the most prolific. For brown eggs, red or black sexlinks can't be beat, but they burn out after their second summer. Rhode Island Reds, Plymouth Rocks, Production Reds, or Australorps will be better producers in the long run. They average about 4 to 6 eggs a week for the first 2 years, and they will continue to produce 3 to 5 eggs a week for at least 3 to 5 years.
     
  6. N F C

    N F C doo be doo be doo Premium Member

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    You do not need a rooster to get eggs from a hen. Roosters are good to have if you want fertile eggs (so you can hatch your own chicks) and they do provide some level of protection against predators but they are not necessary to get eggs.

    If you haven't already done so, check out the Learning Center. There are some great articles there to help you get off on the right foot.

    It's nice to have you here!
     
  7. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Leghorns are lightly built, scrawny birds, so they don't make for a good dual-purpose breed. No animal, bird or mammal, requires the presence of male to ovulate (essentially what laying an egg is for chickens). It's kind of like saying to a woman that she needs a man around in order to menstruate. They will lay eggs whether there is a rooster present or not. They can also go broody without a rooster.
     
  8. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Hi and welcome to BYC. I am also getting some white leghorns in a couple of weeks so it will be interesting to see how they perform. My dual purpose birds lay very well, but blimey do they eat!

    All the best
    CT
     
  9. NickyKnack

    NickyKnack Love is Silkie soft!

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    Welcome to BYC and the coop! There's a lot of great peeps here! Feel free to ask lots of questions. But most of all, make yourself at home. I'm so glad you decided to join the BYC family. I look forward to seeing you around BYC.
     
  10. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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