Oh for an egg!

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Oh for an egg!

Post by Sean Ph'lib on Tue Dec 12, 2017 4:06 pm

How are ye lads doing with regard to gugs? My hens and ducks are still on strike - plenty going down their throats but nothing coming out the other end except you-know-what. I don't want to go down the road of electric lights in the coop, but at this stage I'm getting desperate!

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Re: Oh for an egg!

Post by Deryn on Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:01 pm

Our hens are still laying well with enough left to sell a few. Now the ducks are almost completely on strike. Was looking into lighting and couldn't get a definitive answer as to weather it makes any difference for ducks. The conclusion I came to was that it didn't make a difference but if anyone knows otherwise would be grateful to hear.

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Re: Oh for an egg!

Post by Sean Ph'lib on Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:44 pm

What breed are your hens Deryn? Mine are Welsummers and Welsummer x Buff Sussex and Welsummer x Rhode Island Reds. They look beautiful but they're certainly not as good for laying as hybrids.

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Re: Oh for an egg!

Post by Deryn on Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:39 pm

We have mainly the laying hybrids with a few Marans, and Buff Sussex in the mix

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Re: Oh for an egg!

Post by wayland on Wed Dec 13, 2017 9:39 am

How old are your Birds Sean? My pullets are now laying freely and should do all winter I hope. I have a mixed bunch of hybrids and no lights should be needed as this is their first winter. Deryn, my Ducks are also on strike. We do get the occasional egg. I am thinking its the cold snap thats done it. These birds are young and not moulting yet so I dont think that lights will help.
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Re: Oh for an egg!

Post by Sean Ph'lib on Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:33 pm

Most of the bleeders are this year's hatching - their age is not the problem. Maybe I'm overfeeding them?

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Re: Oh for an egg!

Post by Deryn on Wed Dec 13, 2017 5:13 pm

Ours have a full feeder at all times, so would wonder if that's the problem. They only have layer pellet and a handful of mxd corn to scratch at in the afternoon. What do you feed yours Sean?

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Re: Oh for an egg!

Post by Sean Ph'lib on Wed Dec 13, 2017 6:58 pm

They have all-day access to two feeders, one has a mixture of mixed corn and organic layer's pellets and the other has oats. And, being free to roam, they have as much grass, herbs, worms, insects etc as they want.

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Re: Oh for an egg!

Post by Deryn on Wed Dec 13, 2017 7:40 pm

I would cut back on the corn and oats if it was me as we had a problem a few years ago with overfeeding the corn. They say that corn to hens is like sweets to kids so should be rationed. It is really good for keeping them warm but too much in my experience is not good for egg laying.

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Re: Oh for an egg!

Post by wayland on Wed Dec 13, 2017 8:10 pm

I would agree with Deryn. If my birds were given the choice they would go for the mixed corn and not the layers pellets. I have had this problem in the past which resulted in a lack of eggs.
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Re: Oh for an egg!

Post by Sean Ph'lib on Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:25 pm

I'll give it a try, though I'm fairly sanguine that as soon as the days start to lengthen, they'll quickly come into lay.

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Re: Oh for an egg!

Post by Sean Ph'lib on Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:28 pm

STOP PRESS!!! My little Partridge Wyandotte bantam presented me with an egg today - and a pretty good-sized egg for a bantam! She's a real star - this past year, she went hatching on 27th January and brought out ( and reared) a half-dozen Welsummers, five of which turned out to be pullets. She fell in laying then for a bit and went hatching again on 6th May. That round, she brought out half a dozen of Welsummer x Buff Sussex chicks - four pullets and two Sunday dinners. Then she went laying out and when I found her in a briar patch, she had a dozen of her own eggs under her. I brought her in, eggs and all, and she hatched out eight of the twelve - four grey cocks and four half bantam Rhode Island Red x Wyandotte pullets. I'm going to keep one of the cocks and breed back to her in the hope of getting some more like her.

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Re: Oh for an egg!

Post by Deryn on Fri Dec 15, 2017 6:47 pm

Congratulations on the egg. I'm sure your right about them laying as soon as the light improves but it is very frustrating waiting. Try upping the layers pellets and cutting the rest down, it does work.

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Re: Oh for an egg!

Post by wayland on Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:49 am

What a great little bird Sean. All these "X`s", I am surprised you can keep up with it all. Still very few Duck eggs here. I am getting complaints from my regulars at the mart. I am thinking of keeping them in for a while.
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Re: Oh for an egg!

Post by Sean Ph'lib on Sat Dec 16, 2017 3:54 pm

I tried keeping 'em in Wayland and no dice. I think ducks don't usually get going till the new year. I'd give my eye teeth now for a big blue duck egg!

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Aforementioned bantam

Post by Sean Ph'lib on Sat Dec 16, 2017 4:14 pm

Here is the aforementioned bantam.  If she were a racehorse, she'd be my stable star.  I bought herself together with her twin sister who immediately went to work and layed a clutch of eggs in a briar patch and settled down to hatch them.  She was in such an inaccessible place, I thought she'd be safe but, unfortunately, the sionnach discovered her and all he left was a handfuĺ of feathers!  I'm more careful of this one.  If I ever again come across her breed, I'll snap 'em up!



I don't know why this yoke keeps turning pictures sideways - I had a few more to post on different topics but I can't get 'em right way up!

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Re: Oh for an egg!

Post by wayland on Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:54 am

Very nice Sean. I would like to let my birds roam more freely but too many predators about here. Still the wheel turns and it will soon be Yule and then down hill to spring and hopefully many new clutches to marvel at. Cheers.
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Re: Oh for an egg!

Post by Carlarua on Sun Dec 17, 2017 11:55 am

The chickens at the house are past their prime it seems (Orpington/RIR mix), we do get the occasional massive egg, but nothing more than that. They get layer pellets and green kitchen scraps.

The hens at the sanctuary I volunteer don't lay anywhere, but since people abandoned them at the gates (very considerately tied in 2 empty feed bags) we presume they're past their best and people don't want to kill them themselves but don't want to feed them either. They get a mix of layer pellets, rolled barley and whatever greens they get roaming. Not a single egg to be found in their boxes... They're a mix of RIR, Wyandotte, marran, little bantams and everything in between.
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Re: Oh for an egg!

Post by Sean Ph'lib on Sun Dec 17, 2017 2:24 pm

I might be wrong, but I think rolled barley would be very fattening for hens; great for fattening pigs or - indeed - table fowl, but personally I'd avoid it for layers. Also, I don't know why people feed rolled or crushed grains to poultry. They have their own built-in crushers in the form of a gizzard and are all the healthier for crushing their own. Apart from the fact that whole grains are cheaper and keep better. When I buy whole maize for my hens, I've often been treated to raised eyebrows and informed that: hens can't eat that - they haven't any teeth! My answer: they have teeth - made of stone! And, provided they're allowed to roam and pick up new "teeth" there is no grain they cannot deal with!

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Re: Oh for an egg!

Post by wayland on Thu Dec 28, 2017 8:37 am

Any eggs yet? Our Ducks are giving me the odd egg but the Hens are all laying well Smile
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Re: Oh for an egg!

Post by Sean Ph'lib on Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:45 pm

Not a gug! Except for my little bantam who continues to sodier away with an egg every second day. I forget, Wayland, did you say you were giving them light? Also, what breed are they?

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Re: Oh for an egg!

Post by wayland on Thu Dec 28, 2017 6:56 pm

I am not using a lamp this winter or should I say, not have to for the hens as they have only just come into lay for the first time. Next year will be different as they would have molted and cant grow feathers and eggs at the same time. My neighbors hens have just started to commence laying after being off lay for six weeks or so. I think a lamp will get your birds laying sooner than just waiting for the longer days to arrive. I wish I had a bantam like your`s. As to the breeds I have, they are a bunch of mongrels. I have two like Light Sussex, two like Rhode Islands, two like Lavender Buffs, and two like Harlequin. A pretty looking bunch of misfits. My one cockerel is a misfit also. He is a Silky X Rhode . A stupid looking bird but very game if you catch me drift.
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Re: Oh for an egg!

Post by Sean Ph'lib on Fri Dec 29, 2017 2:45 pm

Stop the lights! Two eggs today! I knew 'twould happen once the days started lengthening. Regarding which: the old people used to say that, from Christmas Day to Small Christmas Day (6th January), the day would lengthen at the rate of a cock-step per day. And, from then till St Brigid's Day (1st February), for the length of time the wren would be boiling!

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Re: Oh for an egg!

Post by wayland on Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:54 pm

Glad to here they have started laying Sean. I have not heard that saying before. Nice one Smile
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