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Author Topic: Best layers??  (Read 2357 times)
poka-bee
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« on: March 17, 2008, 11:59:57 AM »

I am getting chix again & would like to know which layers do the best in the dreary wintertime.  I know they really slow down with the short days but do some keep up better than others?  There is no electricity in the barn so won't have any lights.  The ladies in my CSA all want fresh eggs, they are paying over $4dz for organic eggs...my chix will pay for themselves & my family will get fresh eggs free!  Thanks!!
Oh yea, time to put hummer feeders up in the NW, they come around St. Paddys day here!
Jody
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« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2008, 02:28:07 PM »

Hi, Jody!  I am starting some new chicks this spring also!  Also wanting to sell as organic eggs....what you are getting is a VERY good price!  I will only be able to get around $3 here and that's only if I sell to the tourists!  Not too many health-minded people in these parts!  If you go to McMurray's hatchery site online and look at their info on the types of birds, they usually tell which breeds lay best in winter months.  If you are looking for brown egg-layers, as they seem to sell better as organic (people seem to equate the brown eggs with farm and fresh, don't know why), then look in that category.  They mention Partridge Rocks as doing very well in the winter and they are a beautiful bird...I am ordering them!  Also am ordering New Hampshires, Buff Orpingtons, Barred Rocks, Red Stars(supposed to be the most proliferant egg layers of all the breeds) and Rhode Island Reds.  I currently have a few Black Australorpes and their eggs seem kind of small, even though the birds are huge! I want the biggest eggs possible!  Might want to ask over at the Backyard Chicken forum.....thousands of chicken folks with all the answers!  Good luck!   cheesy
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danno
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« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2008, 03:30:59 PM »

I always had Buff Orpington up until a year ago when 2 dog killed them all.  These bird layed about every other day, ate to much and were way to broody.  Last year I change to a high bred Isa Browns.  These are used heavily in the brown egg industy. They are sexed by color so you dont end up with roosters on less you want them.  I have been amased at there productivity.  this is a medium size bird so they eat less.  they lay large to ex-large almost everyday.    I have about 55-60 of these and my best day was 60 and even through the cold Michigan winter my production never dropped below 48 with a average of 52.  The company that I use has a web page if anyone is interested.  One more thing about the lack of electricity.  You need 15 hours of light per day or they will shut down.  I would suggest a solar panel light on a timer. It would pay for it self in know time over winter. 
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randydrivesabus
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« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2008, 03:47:23 PM »

organic chicken feed must be expensive stuff.
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danno
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« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2008, 03:58:47 PM »

"organic chicken feed must be expensive stuff"

It is very expensive and to be certified organic they have to be freerange or a very large pen, they cant be exposed to treated lumber,  cannot be vacinated as chicks, cannot be feed Terramycin as chick and there can be no pesticides used on the property for 3 years.   My birds are vacinated as chicks for several killers, I feed Terramycin in there water for a couple of weeks, I use roundup in my garden and the bottom plate of my coop is treated
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« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2008, 09:44:42 PM »

Never heard of a hybrid by the name of Isa Browns....must do some research.  I agree the heavy breeds like Orpingtons eat alot but I like a big chicken and I want a broody hen so I can raise broilers.  The heavy breeds double as a meat source for us here.  I've had a few Orpingtons and never had a problem with them as far as egg production, though.  I think for their size, Rhode Island Reds seem a pretty good choice, as do the Red Stars, if you don't want to go with a dual purpose breed for meat production.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2008, 09:56:54 PM »

organic chicken feed must be expensive stuff.

Not really, most people refer to it as table scraps.  All the vegetables anyways, the meat leftovers get fed to the dog.

iIbreak up the clam and oyster shells I bring back from the beach and use it for grit.

I have bought 6 light Brahmas and 6 Black Austrolorps this year because that was what was left by the time I got to the feed store.  I've had Buff Orpington and Light Brahmas before (their 1st generation offspring are sex linked) and like them both.  I've always wanted to try some Austrolorps and New Jersey Giants, but the NJG's are the 1st to sell out. 
« Last Edit: March 19, 2008, 10:49:33 PM by Brian D. Bray » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2008, 10:31:30 PM »

Lucky for us here, noone really cares if you are certified organic....we just slap up a sign that says organic, free-range and the folks buy.  I have even seen "non-certified organic" signs....basically, all this means is we feed nonmedicated feed to free-range chickens and don't use any chemicals in the raising of these birds.  Impossible to find organic feed in our area as I live in the commercial chicken capitol of the world!  Lucky to find feed that is unmedicated!  I've tried getting around giving laying mash by feeding BOSS, but the egg production dropped immediately.  Same with just feeding table scraps and such.  If egg production is your main thing, I can't see getting around feeding laying mash or some mixture equal to it.
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poka-bee
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« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2008, 11:13:51 PM »

The lady at my csa said she will order the organic food @ cost cause she wants eggs & is too busy with the farm & family to deal with the chix too. Not selling to stores or stamping my name on the eggs or anything saying organic.  The people aren't that picky & chix will be free range to eat all the "organic" fly larva out of the horse poop! I don't use any chemicals of any kind outside as it is, too many critters everywhere to risk it.  I'll get fly control & no table waste & everyone gets good eggs, it's all good!
Jody
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danno
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« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2008, 08:37:07 AM »

This is a link with some info on the Isa Brown chicken that I now have




http://www.townlinehatchery.com/
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Cindi
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« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2008, 10:25:22 AM »

This thing about organic chickens, when I inquired the price of organic laying pellets it was $16 a bag, the regular pellets were about $10, give or take.  I have no interest in buying pellets that are so much more.  Free range is how I define my eggs, and yes, table scraps, the greens, and lots of pasture chickenyard to forage on.

The hybrid brown ones that we got last year were called Sex Sal Links, they are only good for eggs, they are so puny as far as meat goes, I would barely consider them except for a soup, too meatless for anything else.  I am not getting more of these when they all get old enough for the pot.

When I order my chick from McMurrays I am ordering:
Barred Rocks
Australorps (because of the size, meat birds as well as eggs).  The two Australorps I have now have nice big sized eggs not smallish
Rhode Island reds

and yes, I saw the Red Stars, they were a thought too

I have a Rhode Island Red rooster who has been breeding a whole whack of chickens.  I am going to take many eggs when I get back from Vegas and get the incubator going.

The red rooster and the Barred Rock hens will make offspring that are known as the Red Rocks.  Excellent layers and meat birds.  So, along with the chicks ordered and the chicks hatched in the incubator, I should have a nice flock by the time the fall comes and the small Sex Sal Links all go to the boneyard.  Have a great and wonderful day, Cindi
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« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2008, 11:03:07 PM »

Hey, Danno! Those Isa Browns look sorta like Golden Comets and a little like the Red Stars.  Wonder if they are the same crosses but named differently by different hatcheries.  I really wanted to find Golden Comets at McMurrays but their Red Star looks and sounds a lot like them.  I am also going to order a Partridge Rock...supposed to be good mothers and get broody.  I'm kind of weird, I guess, but I like to see chicks hatched the old fashioned way.  Good luck, Cindi!!
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2008, 11:45:12 PM »

Hey, Danno! Those Isa Browns look sorta like Golden Comets and a little like the Red Stars.  Wonder if they are the same crosses but named differently by different hatcheries.  I really wanted to find Golden Comets at McMurrays but their Red Star looks and sounds a lot like them.  I am also going to order a Partridge Rock...supposed to be good mothers and get broody.  I'm kind of weird, I guess, but I like to see chicks hatched the old fashioned way.  Good luck, Cindi!!


Yeah, they look like a simple Leghorn Rhodie cross to me too, just a fancier name.
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danno
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« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2008, 07:43:13 AM »

The ISA Brown is a French breed of chicken, which is a cross between Rhode Island Red and Rhode Island White chickens. The breed is known for its high egg production of approximately 300 eggs per hen in the first year.

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Michael Bush
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« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2008, 10:01:26 PM »

>I am getting chix again & would like to know which layers do the best in the dreary wintertime.

Last I heard a Black Austrolorp held the record for the best layer.  They are a heavy breed (which you need if you want eggs in winter) and they are the record holders. Smiley  But there are others that would do well.  The hardiest ones I've had are the Auracanas.
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prisoner#1
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« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2008, 11:16:50 AM »

Lucky for us here, noone really cares if you are certified organic....we just slap up a sign that says organic, free-range and the folks buy.  I have even seen "non-certified organic" signs....

in my opinion the organic certification is a bunch of wash,  if you start browsing the FDA website you'll find
the free range is defined as chickens having access to the outside, it can be one small door that remains
open, the chickens may never leave the building but they're classed a free range

a little deeper into the pages of the FDA you'll discover that 5% of your fertilizer and pesticides can be
chemical in nature nad you still qualify under the organic rules, we have companies like HJ Heinz, ConAgra
and Monsanto to thank for this, apparently the market is dominated by these guys

most recently a few groups have gotten together the market as 'naturally grown', they're pushing for
much stricter regulation in order to keep the conglomerates out of production unless they play by the rules
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« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2008, 11:27:12 AM »

I don't use any chemicals of any kind outside as it is, too many critters everywhere to risk it.  I'll get fly control & no table waste & everyone gets good eggs, it's all good!

when you get ready for planting try and till as soon as the ground is workable, I use my pigs for the tilling,
set the chickens loose in the garden area and they'll be happy to take care of larvae and the bulk of the
weeds, my chickens are free range birds, they've done a fantastic job at controlling the fly and tick
populations, between them and the pigs they're the best farm machines I've ever bought
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« Reply #17 on: March 27, 2008, 03:46:38 PM »

Hey,

I am also trying chickens for the first time. There is a great market for anything raised not in the factory farm style. I suppose that they might be organic as don't intend to medicate or feed store bought food as there are a large number of opinions and recipes for making your own and as am in the heart of farmland and getting bin sweepings will be almost no $$. That is where I would be unsure to call them organic because farmers did spray herbicide (only) on their cereal crops.

I got black sex-links as they are a dual purpose and intend to keep not a lot over winter.


Both Red and Black Sex-Links use a red male for the father. Either a Rhode Island Red or a New Hampshire may be used. Black Sex-Links are produced using a Barred Rock as the mother. Both sexes hatch out black, but the males have a white dot on their heads. Pullets feather out black with some red in neck feathers. Males feather out with the Barred Rock pattern along with a few red feathers. Black Sex-Links are often referred to as Rock Reds.

I bought unsexed as I also intend to caponize the cockerels as even tho I am somewhat a 'foodie' capons are the stuff of legend and have never seen one for sale. The few places in US and rest of Canada sell them @ 10-12lbs. for $8-10/lb. Free range eggs here go for $4/doz. The factory free range in the super stores are over $3/doz and they stretch the idea of free range.

Spinning in circles with frustration as have many outside projects w/the bees etc. and is STILL WINTER-LIKE around here.

cheers

peter

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Cindi
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« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2008, 10:24:53 AM »

Peter, oooh that thought of the cockerels and caponizing freaks me right out.  I know it is done, but just the thought of it is a strange one.  Have you done that before?  I am curious if it is a deep process.  No.  Never mind.  I don't want to know, hee, hee, that weak stomached side of me just came through.  Beautiful day in the greatest of this life.  Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
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