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Author Topic: Really "Eggciting"  (Read 8093 times)

Guy

  • Joined Feb 2008
  • East Devon
Really "Eggciting"
« on: February 20, 2008, 12:04:48 pm »
I have just ordered another 6 light sussex eggs to increase my egg laying production (presuming they dont come out as boys!) I thought i would get 6 pure bred eggs to incubate alongside my cross breeds to see which were more viable. alas my warrens seem to have forgotten how to lay , (but they are quite old and they were rescued) Does any one know how long chickens should lay for?? All they seem to do now is eat and walk around without producing anything , I know this doesnt make sense if they should be paying for themselves , but i dont have the heart to  do "the viable option" especially as i rescued them myself in the first place!! :'(   
relax and enjoy life - let others do the worrying
Voss Electric Fence

carl

  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: Really "Eggciting"
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2008, 12:19:05 pm »
I think the first two years are always the best for egg laying, then it dwindles. After about four years I think you get the odd egg, but they become pretty much pets from then. My sussex girls are very prolific at laying, but are just into thier secand year. The boys have also been good for the table. I am aiming to increase my sussex numbers this year and already have three chicks of unknown gender. I am hoping for good things as late last year a neighbour gave me a magnificent young cockerel, who I shall introduce to the girls a little later.

Hilbillie

  • Joined Feb 2008
  • St. Mayeux, Brittany
Re: Really "Eggciting"
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2008, 05:03:34 pm »
"a neighbour gave me a magnificent young cockerel, who I shall introduce to the girls a little later."

I've read in other postings as well about keeping cockerels separate from hens for varying reasons.  My problem is we have this huge chicken barn sat in the middle of a very large field (pop holes all down one side of the barn for the chucks to jump out of).  We'd thought of letting the chickens have free range of the barn and the field plus house a couple of goats in there too, put a decking area in for them to sleep on and some roosting perches and nesting boxes for the chickens.  If we decide to compartmentalise the barn into different goat, hen and cockerel areas (its big enough being 160sq.m) will we also have to compartmentalise the field to keep the hens and cockerels apart? Or do the hens and cockerels only have to be separated in the barn, ie can they mingle during the day out in the field?  We have the option of course of not getting cockerels at all and buying fertile eggs to incubate instead, we could make a nice little section within the barn for doing this, but wouldnt it be easier just to let them get on with it?  Remember we are totally new to this and relying very much on experienced advice!
Hilary

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Really "Eggciting"
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2008, 11:32:21 pm »
Depends what you want the cockerels for. If you're keeping the cockerel for breeding, then he has to be in with the girls (obviously). If the cockerels are for fattening and therefore are more than one, you would probably want to keep them seperate from the hens so they don't fight and don't waste energy on "cockerel" activities. In that case, they will have to be seperate all the time.

Guy

  • Joined Feb 2008
  • East Devon
Re: Really "Eggciting"
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2008, 11:40:37 pm »
we keep our cockerel (lennin-named after the one in "the good life") in with our girls and they thet get on really well , i guess as he has his harem he doesnt have to get all stroppy - although when are fattners get older they do have a crowing contest. we were concerned about keeping him in with the layers to begin with ,but there were no problems.
relax and enjoy life - let others do the worrying

Hilbillie

  • Joined Feb 2008
  • St. Mayeux, Brittany
Re: Really "Eggciting"
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2008, 08:10:36 am »
So to start off with we'll be fine to get some hens and a cockerel and let them live together. ;D  When we do get some "fatteners" will they be ok in the same barn just partitioned off or do they need to be housed in a completely different structure?  In the field wont be a problem, we'll just have to create a run for them.  There's so much to consider isnt there when setting up, we want to get it all sorted out though before we go along and get the birds and bring them home.
Hilary

carl

  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: Really "Eggciting"
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2008, 09:41:19 am »
At the moment I have two boys, a lovely black cochin, who lives with the girls, and a light sussex who lives adjacent in what was the meat boys home. later on I will seperate the light sussex girls,3, and let him have a run and hut with them. I am also incubating some more cochin eggs so that I can breed a few of them as well. last year I just had another l/s boy who lived with the hens all the time, but he passed away, and of a load of eggs i was hatching , what i thought was a girl turned out to be the cochin boy, but I liked him so much we have let him stay with the girls for company. I like the sound of the big shed, what a useful building to have. My hens are over wintering in the stables, with a bit of modification. The pigs ,gos, have stayed outside and will, in two stages over the next three weeks, be processed. The geese have an old garden shed which I moved into the paddock. The hens summer accomodation will be refurbed shortly and the pigs area will be tidied up and reseeded for them. I will get a couple more weaners in june. Then of course there is the veg patch. Never a dull moment.

Guy

  • Joined Feb 2008
  • East Devon
Re: Really "Eggciting"
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2008, 06:52:29 pm »
 hi hilbillie, my meat birds are kept in a run seperate from the layers and have their own house - i had read somewhere that the youngsters had to go onto "rested "ground to stop any potential infection! so hopefully that was right? :D -

Carl , what seed do you use when redoing your piggie area , i am in need of a fast growing mix for mine soon   
relax and enjoy life - let others do the worrying

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Really "Eggciting"
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2008, 09:05:24 pm »
We kept our meat chickens seperate from the layers - until I forgot to close the run door properly.The breeding cockerel kept the young cockerels away from the hens and firmly in their place - they didn't fight, but in the field, the vanquished have loads of room to leg it if they need to. If the young cockeresl had been around long enough to be a big as their Dad, there might have been a few fights, but they weren't.

Hilbillie

  • Joined Feb 2008
  • St. Mayeux, Brittany
Re: Really "Eggciting"
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2008, 10:20:55 am »
 :-\ Thanks all, (sorry to hijack your thread Guy) this all gives rise to further questions so I will have a think and make a separate post. ;D
Hilary

carl

  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: Really "Eggciting"
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2008, 11:06:37 am »
I use a meadow mix from the local agri store. and some herb seeds chucked in for good measure.( pot luck if anything comes through).

Guy

  • Joined Feb 2008
  • East Devon
Re: Really "Eggciting"
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2008, 07:55:41 pm »
thanks carl will look into it!! no problem hilbillie - this is all about us helping each other and updating where we think appropriate - you are welcome ;)
relax and enjoy life - let others do the worrying

 

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