My initial flock (back in 2011) consisted of 1 each: Barred Rock, Buff Orpington, Rhode Isl Red, and Gold-Laced Wyandotte. I wanted dual-purpose breeds that would lay well for eggs then provide good stew meat. Unfortunately the BR was taken early by a raccoon, but the other 3 prove to be quite good layers. When the time came I had the final 2 processed for the freezer; note to self... these are stew hens, not so good for Traeger!
Since then I have tried several other breeds, the most current being Black Jersey Giant, Ameracauna, White Rock and White/California White Leghorn.
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Needless to say, putting lights on molting hens - who won't be laying anyway - is a mute point. So much for my "bright" idea!! : )
|notes on egg production, weather, day-length...|
the only ones who have been laying
are my new chicks!
Around here, our darkest winter days only have 8h 42m of daylight (12/17 - 12/25), after that the days start getting longer - YEA!!!!
I set the timer and on Dec 17th, the lights came on at 6.45am - giving them aprox 9h 45m of light. My husband was giving me a bad time for putting "christmas lights" in the coop, but i insisted it was for egg production ; )
|hens are up early! |
lights come on at 6.45am
On Dec 19th, I got my first egg out of that BJG! So far, I'm getting and egg every-other day from her. The rest of my hens should follow about every 2nd week.... with the Ameracauna being the last to start laying around the 1st part of February.
Aside from being day-length sensitive, they are also night-blind so if you plan on adding supplemental light to your coop add it in the morning. You don't want them running around when the lights go off at night!
The 2 WR hens ("ghost hens" as they are referred to) are my oldest... 2015 is end of the line for them, so off the processor they will go, and new chicks will follow to take their place.
I'm not sure yet what breed(s) I will get - thinking about maybe getting Gold Star or Red Sexlink as they are both excellent (brown) egg layers and will also provide good stew meat.
I'm also doing Cornish Cross meat chickens again this year - Chick to Traeger in 8 weeks!!