Sunday, November 2, 2014

An update on the layer chickens - Fall 2014

I don't write about my chickens frequently.  That's probably because there isn't a lot to tell.  They're easy to take care of.  I lock them up at night and let them out in the morning.  Every 3-4 days I add food to their feeder.  That's pretty much it.
It's infrequent that anything changes.  We added a few birds to the flock in August, but most of them didn't make it.  The good news is that the one remaining chick is doing well.  She's as big as the mother hen now.
The bird in the middle is the last remaining chick.
The other thing that has happened recently is that their egg production has fallen drastically.   There was a time when we had 6 birds that we would get 4-6 eggs per day.  Now we have 8 birds and we're lucky to get 1-2 eggs per day.  Sometimes we get 0. 

Part of that is due to the time of year.  They lay fewer eggs when there is less daylight.  I think the big issue is age.  From what I've read, the prime egg laying age is 6-18 months.  Most of my birds are more than 2 years old.  The new chick isn't old enough to start laying yet, and I don't know the age of the mother hen.  She still sticks close to the chick.  I don't know if she's still playing mother or if they've just formed their own little group.  Regardless, she's not laying.

I'm ready to start culling the older birds.  I'm willing to put them in the freezer, but my children won't let me.  They want to keep them around as pets (which they pretty much are).

My barred Plymouth rock is molting again.  She did this last year.  Looking at the pictures from then I'm guessing she's going to look a lot worse before she looks better.
She looked good on 9-14-2014.
My Rhode Island Red molted in June.  She looks pretty good now.  She's the only one that still lays eggs reliably.  Most of the eggs we get come from her.

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