When should I add new chicks?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Madamegato, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. Madamegato

    Madamegato Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 30, 2011
    ABQ, NM
    Hi all!

    So I made it through my first season with my girls and we're into the second round of egg laying (1 molt). Here's the information and what I've noticed, so hopefully you guys will be able to help me figure out what to do. I have four girls (2 EE's, 1 BR, 1 Dom). Their first year they basically laid one egg a day for each of them, so 8 every 2 days. This year it seems we're getting 5 every 2 days, roughly a 40% drop (over a 2 day period). This is actually okay, because we're still getting a surplus for our family. This amount seems to be just right for us.

    My question is this. If this production is about what we want, should we bank on the third season (2 molts) dropping about the same amount (i.e. another 40% over 2 days) and thus get 2 new girls this summer who should be ready to lay about the time molt (and spring) hits? Or should we wait an see and get the new girls later (after 3 molts) and chance production being enough?

    I'm sorry if this sounds like a really bad math problem for the 8th grade, LOL. Our concerns are basically making sure we have enough space (we have a small courtyard where the girls have about 100sf to roam and scratch in, along with a 15sf coop - they are rarely locked in their coop so they have free range majority of the time), and ensuring that we have egg production at roughly what it is currently (so we can stockpile a little to get us through the next molt).

    I suppose what I'm looking for are opinions on how I should handle this one way or another. Ideally I'd like to get it to where we're adding 2 new girls every 2 years, but by the same token, given the time it takes to grow them from babies and start them off right, it seems I need to add 2 new every year in order to have the new ones laying every year and a half...

    Alright, I'm going to stop now because I think I'm just getting more convoluted. So... can anyone drop some wisdom on me? What are your thoughts/opinions?

    Thanks for any and all help!
     
  2. fiddleblue

    fiddleblue Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 19, 2009
    I found with my chickens that they laid pretty consistently the first two years, then dropped off around the 3rd year. From what I read this is true of many chickens. I dont' see that you'd get a big decrease from year 1 to year 2 unless other factors are involved, such as stress on them.
    I recommend adding your new chicks when the old girls are about 2 or 2.5 years old, so then at age 2.5 or 3 you'd have new ones starting to lay just as the old girls are getting slow.
    You will have to think what to do with the ones who age off the laying group altogether, and slow down in a big way...either slaughter or give them away.
    I had my 3 year old girls get slow at the end of the egg laying season last year, then thru winter I did not artificially light them so no eggs, but now in spring they are laying a lot again, making up for lost time it seems, almost one egg every other day.
     
  3. Madamegato

    Madamegato Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 30, 2011
    ABQ, NM
    Do you think it's too early to judge production? I'm not sure since it's still late February if, once our days get longer, production will increase or if we're getting what we're going to get. As far as I know, they're still the same ol' happy-go-lucky ladies, nothing has changed for them but the weather and we're pretty careful to ensure they aren't too stressed. Maybe I'm counting too soon?
     
  4. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    To ensure a steady production adding two each year is the way to go. But it would be easier to replace them all every two years. With replacing all every two there would only be brooding every other year, no quarantine and integration if you buy pullets. And yes there will be another drop in production in the third laying cycle.
     

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