Year old Chickens or Pullets?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by egglicious, May 13, 2011.

  1. egglicious

    egglicious Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hey all! I am getting very close to finally bringing my chicken fantasies to reality! I was wondering... I have a friend who raises awesome organic chickens and she might have a year old black australops (sp?) and delaware for me if I so desire. I really want chickens for egg production, but only for my family and maybe a couple neighbors occasionally (family is just me and hubby plus toddler right now). Should I take her chickens who are guaranteed friendly/gentle/organic/local or buy a couple of pullets online or at the store? Is the egg production after one year that much different? Any thoughts are appreciated. Thanks for helping this newbie out! [​IMG]
     
  2. MuscovyMad

    MuscovyMad Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Suppose you kind of answered your own question. If you take your friends then you know exactly what you're getting. And if they are guarnateed frinedly then thats always great. I'm not an expert but i'm uessing it is slightly less after a year but not that much.

    If theres not enough eggs you could alway buy a pullet online and add it to your flock to top up the numbers. [​IMG]
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    At one year, I am not sure if they have had an adult molt yet or not. Some pullets don't have an adult molt their first fall and winter but keep laying all winter. Some do molt, however. Why that is important is that chicken egg production stays about the same after the first adult molt as before, but the egg size and quality tends to improve. After the second adult molt, which may be this coming fall or the following, egg production on average drops by about 15% or 20%. After every adult molt after that, egg production will drop another 15 to 20% on average. For commercial operations, that drop becomes enough that they are better off replacing their layers pretty often. With us, especially if they free range and find a lot of their own food, that drop off is often not as important.

    Each and every chicken is different. Some drop in production more than this and some less. You have to have enough chickens for the averages to mean something. It sounds like you are planning only two or three. You may get one that is not near the average, either way, so your results may be off the average. And this is drop in production, not total production. It depends how much they lay to start with. Some hens of any breed lay more often than others to start with.

    I'd suggest a minimum of three. They are social animals and need to have other chickens around. If you only get two and something happens to one, then you have a problem. If you have three and something happens to one, you have time to solve the problem.

    With the one year olds, you should get pretty good egg production this year whether they have already had an adult molt or not. They may lay as well or even better next year. But after that, you will probably notice a drop-off.

    Starting with year olds means you will need to replace them or get some new ones to add to them a year sooner than you would have if you had started with chicks. One big advantage is that you know these are hens. If you get chicks, you might get a rooster.

    I've had Delaware and Black Australorp. I think they are both good choices.
     
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Providing point of lay pullets or year old, young hens for people is something many raisers do. It saves the new owners the whole expense and hassle of brooding and feeding for 6 months, and waiting for eggs. I'd expect to pay $20-$30 a bird for year old hens. The raisers have that much or more in them. Each market is different.

    We sell quite a few point of lay pullets and year old hens to folks. There's little or no profit in it, but providing clean, healthy, happy chickens to friends and neighbors is rewarding. Perhaps your friend would also "take your order" for future birds as well. I know we like to take future orders when raising out chicks.
     
  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict

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    I would make sure the chickens were just a year old (not almost 2), get along well together (and she's not giving you her problem chickens), and maybe get a third one because it is very hard to add a new chicken later if something happened to 1 of them.
     
  6. egglicious

    egglicious Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, y'all. Awesome replies. This is such a great forum. So friendly!

    I am definitely gonna get three birds, only one of them will be a four year old silkie who no longer lays. I'm basically getting her for my son, since she is really sweet and not really being handled much anymore since my friend's step children moved away. Depending on how these hens lay I might get another bird at some point, but i'm getting ahead of myself. :p

    One thing I was thinking... after the chickens stop laying in a few years what do folks normally do? I can't really imagine just getting rid of them as they will be part of our family. Just something i've been thinking about...
     
  7. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Quote:My chickens have a home for as long as they live. They either laid eggs for me, or provided fertilizer, or kept the bug population at bay, in ADDITION to filling my heart with joy. They don't need to pay rent when they retire.
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    We all have different goals and reasons for having chickens. For some people they are pets for life. I raise them to play with the genetics and for meat more than purely for the eggs, so mine get recycled. I get new chickens every year this way. Some people have them mainly for the eggs and get rid of them when production slows. If they are not comfortable eating them, and many are not, they may put an add on Craigslist. Often this means someone else eats them.

    There is no one answer for all of us.
     

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