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How many eggs for backyard poultry

 
Guy De Pompignac
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Location: SW of France
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Hi,

i'm interested if some of you have the number of eggs per hen per year that can be exepted from backyard poultry (the permaculture way),

say, no artificial light, no concentrated pellets

I've found numbers from backyard rearing of scavenging hens (foraging, kitchen scrap, some grains) in the "developing" world and it turns around 30-50 eggs/hen/year (mean of the flock).

but i think in "developed" countries poultry breeds make more eggs, but i cannot find any numbers, good researches are always for the poors ...
 
Alison Thomas
pollinator
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Location: France
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Well ours free-range (scavenge) around 3 acres and there are now 8 of them.  We get about 5 eggs a week from each (though 2 are now in their retirement) until Dec/Jan/Feb when it falls to about 2 or 3 a week.  They get 250g of wheat grain between them morning and night plus whatever they can flutter their eyelids for in crumb terms from the table. They don't get kitchen scraps except egg shells and cheese cut-offs as we also have pigs. 
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Laying depends so much on breed and conditions I think it's hard to give an accurate answer.  Light breeds will tend to lay more.  Heavy and dual-purpose will tend to lay less. Modern egg-laying breeds like Leghorns will lay the most under the right conditions.  Laying will drop off during very hot or cold weather.  I think it's safe to plan on an egg every other day from each laying hen.  But right now, for instance, none of my hens are laying - it might be too hot.  Or, they might be laying somewhere I'm not finding the eggs! 

My very best layer was an Araucana who laid an egg almost every day for about 6 years.
 
Rob Sigg
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Location: PA-Zone 6
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I bought my RIR and BR about 8-10 weeks ago, I was told they would lay in a few weeks....still no eggs. They have grown modestly and their combs/watttles are very tiny compared to an older one I got. Ive let them mostly free range with just some grain. Im at a loss as to why they haven't laid yet, very frustrating.
 
Guy De Pompignac
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Location: SW of France
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same appent to me recently, we bought three hens the 4th of august and the didn't lay until a few days ago. But we found that they lay in the garden, so maybe we missed some eggs earlier than that. Can ot be your case ?
 
Rob Sigg
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Location: PA-Zone 6
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Ive checked everywhere. The are isolated to an area that doesnt have much in terms of high growth, so Id be able to see. I really think that they didn't grow big enough yet, mabye because they were mostly free range?
 
Guy De Pompignac
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Location: SW of France
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i asked some friends about my problem and it seems not unatural that the hens dont lay for 10-15 days after such a change,

or maybe its a calcium or protein (depending on the grain) defficiency ?
 
Rob Sigg
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That was my thought too, so I upped their daily amount of grain and I started putting boiled crushed egg shells in with their feed. Hopefully it will help.
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
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Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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but how old were the birds when you bought them?  were they pullet chicks or pullet big girls?  Most breeds don't lay until they are 18 - 22 weeks old.?
 
John Polk
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Chickens are pretty low on the food chain, and consequently are very easily stressed.
Any change (housing, feed, or whatever) will create stress.  Until they 'adapt' to their new surroundings, their egg machine are put 'on hold'.
 
Ken Peavey
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When they are laying well, figure 75% drop an egg on any given day.  Good weather, hens comfortable with their home, at ease, no recent predators, plenty of stuff to forage, some kitchen scraps here and there.

When they are laying poorly, 10-20% will drop an egg, and the eggs will be smaller.  Cold weather, drought, new home, stress, pick a reason.

Mine are moulting right now, I'm getting 1-2 eggs a day from 4 hens.  Typical production this time of year would be 3-4/day.
 
Rob Sigg
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LOL, just got my first egg today! Was a little pale in color and on the smaller size, but looked good otherwise. Wahoo!

I bought them when they were fairly large pullets, so Id say at least 14-18 weeks old.
 
Ken Peavey
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Atta Boy, Rob.

You'll never go back to the store for them pale pasty things again.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Lucky you!  I've got some spring chickens that have not yet begun to lay.  Hatched in April, and he cockerels are crowing away, but nary a beginner egg from those girls.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
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happycobber wrote:
Lucky you!  I've got some spring chickens that have not yet begun to lay.  Hatched in April, and he cockerels are crowing away, but nary a beginner egg from those girls.


What breed are they?  Some breeds begin to lay very young (and even if yours hatched early in April, they would still be very young to be laying); others take a lot longer.

Kathleen
 
Sam Surman
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I've recently sourced a nice line of Black Australorps and am waiting on a breeding pair in the next few weeks ... I've tried many different breeds over the years and just love my Game fowl, but they are really only spring time layers.

The BA's in the past were great laying birds, and the guy that breeds these says that they are laying 280+ / year and some up to 320 / year. These figures are what I'm after in a traditional breed that can rear its own replacements, so yet again I'm setting out on a new trial with a new breed. I've been very disappointed with some breeds that I've had in the past, breeders over the years spending too much time on looks at the expense of laying ability, so I'm looking forward to trialing this breed, and hopefully getting a true winner from years gone by.

Cheers

 
Thelma McGowan
Posts: 170
Location: western Washington, Snohomish county--zone 8b
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we have 9 hens. they lay about 7 eggs a day. 

I let them out of their run  every after noon when the coast is clear , since most predation happens between midnight and 10:00am. so they free range on an acre for about half the day. we do suppliment with some pellet food although this time of year not very much. after free ranging in the afternoon and evening all the hens run around lop sided with their bellies (or Gizzards) so full I think are about to pop!

during the summer I sell 3-4 dozen a week and make a lot of deviled eggs :0)
 
Rob Sigg
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Location: PA-Zone 6
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Just an update on mine. I only have 1 RIR laying right now and she is laying 1 a day. I assume that will go down in the winter and hot summer. People I have talked to in my area say 75% capacity during those times. I hope that helps.
 
Walter Jeffries
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Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
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During the warm months we get about 0.8 eggs per hen.
During the winter with no artificial light and no food supplements it drops to about 1 egg per week and eventually the birds die.

Yes, I said die. We live in the mountains of northern Vermont. Think four to five months of total snow coverage. Some sort of food is necessary during that time. We primarily feed our chickens meat - all natural, organic pork. It is what we have left over from our weekly slaughter. We raise pigs. During the warm months the chickens's job is to act as organic pest control for flies. They supply a bounty of eggs to feed weaner piglets. During the winter the pigs feed the chickens.

With the supplement of pork, hay and whey plus artificial light we get about 0.4 eggs a day from the hens.

If you want the birds to live through the winter they need some food. Light is also appreciated.
 
Rob Sigg
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Location: PA-Zone 6
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I assume you then eat the bird? What breeds do you raise?
 
                                  
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we have 2 "california gray" and 2 ISA brown.  they have laid 18 to 25 per week through winter (added light, no heat) on table scraps, garden trimmings, and pellets, but mostly pellets.  we're terrorist chicken owners here, so they don't freerange out of fear of the fuzz.

if our local overlords see fit, they might let me do this legally!!!  if that's true, the girls can freerange and i'll back waaaaay off on the pellets.  i'm a little wary of the hens picking off too many baby veggie tops after germination and ruining my garden mojo, so maybe i'll have to do a selective free range...  like guantanamo lite.

i'm by no means experienced, but am really happy with having fresh eggs daily.  my 3 y.o. wrangles them all over and has a blast.
 
Terri Matthews
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Location: Eastern Kansas
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When I was free-ranging my birds (before the foxes moved in), I gave them all of the feed they wanted, plus table scraps. They prefered bugs and table scraps but the feed ensured that they had all the food they needed.

Most young birds gave 5 eggs per week, excepting when they moulted in the fall. Older hens laid less but the eggs were larger.

Some birds-especially those with too much bantam blood- gave much less but a few gave more. I figured the costs and as long as a bird gave 3 eggs a week she was earning her keep. Since older birds lay fewer eggs, that gave me an average of 3-4 years of profitable life per chicken.

My son's pet hen died at night at age 8.

Without lighting a good hen will lay for 7 months: poor layers will not do as well.

Be prepared to back up your chickens foraging with feed: a hardworking bird that feeds you deserves her dinner. Bugs appear in flushes, and too often they dissapear for periods of time.Also, a hungry hen lays less and gets sickly.
 
Terri Matthews
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Thekla McDaniels wrote:
Lucky you!  I've got some spring chickens that have not yet begun to lay.  Hatched in April, and he cockerels are crowing away, but nary a beginner egg from those girls.
Most breeds lay in 4-6 months. It sounds like yours will lay soon!
 
                      
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What is your average for eggs, Do you want to buy eggs or want to get eggs from someone to hack it for this person, Let me explain some about your business.
 
                  
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permaguy wrote:


I've found numbers from backyard rearing of scavenging hens (foraging, kitchen scrap, some grains) in the "developing" world and it turns around 30-50 eggs/hen/year (mean of the flock).

but i think in "developed" countries poultry breeds make more eggs, but i cannot find any numbers, good researches are always for the poors ...


Are you saying that rich chickens lay more eggs than poor chickens?? I mean come on, I live in a developing country and let me tell you what is happening here there is no specific breed that common people raise(not the commercial thing) it has been selected for years and years and they have proven them selves my grand father had 5-6 eggs a week from the middle of spring till fall.
 
John Polk
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He is merely quoting numbers from research.  "eveloping countries" paints a broad canvas.  It stands to reason that if a people are hard pressed to feed themselves, there will be little for the flock to eat.  A poorly fed flock will not lay as well as a well fed flock.

The sad fact is that the people who most need the extra protein, will get the fewest eggs.
 
Guy De Pompignac
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Location: SW of France
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Owl wrote:
Are you saying that rich chickens lay more eggs than poor chickens?? I mean come on, I live in a developing country and let me tell you what is happening here there is no specific breed that common people raise(not the commercial thing) it has been selected for years and years and they have proven them selves my grand father had 5-6 eggs a week from the middle of spring till fall.


It seems that breed is part of the pb (but traditionnal breeds are better scavengers and tougher). Maybe lack of protein and calcium may be problematic too.

But i think poor chicken keepers are more interested by #eggs/purchased food than #eggs/bird/year, and conditions are maybe good for that purpose
 
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