Egg and meat production in poultry

What do you do to increase egg and meat production within your homestead flock?

  • Other~feel free to explain other methods you use to increase production.

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Beekissed

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Almost all hens laying for the past two days...I have 17 hens, one of which is a 6 yr old EE that only lays a couple of times a week, so I don't count her as a steady layer. So, 32 eggs gathered these past two days, which colors me happy.

That's a mix of 3 yr old, 2 yr old, one 6 yr old and 6 pullets. The EE pullet mixes are just now kicking in, as is the pure EE pullet. I also have a mutt pullet that looks to be a BO/BR cross bird...she's just starting too. The older birds(WR, BA, WR/BA mix) and WR mix pullets have been laying well for some time now.
 

Chic Rustler

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Spring is in the air!



One thing I can say for certain is rir are terrible meat birds. I dressed out 5 black sex link roosters and one rir. They were more than twice his size at the same age.

It has me wondering if I shouldn't cull my rir rooster and let the BO rooster take over. With the mix of BO, BR, BSL , and RIR hens I have I might get decent eggs and better meat birds
 

sumi

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I got my first egg in weeks! :) I'm starting to wonder if the hens haven't been sneaking off to lay somewhere I can't find the nest and had no choice but to lay in the shed, since the snow kept them inside the last 3 days. I really need to get the coop up for them.
 

Beekissed

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I got my first egg in weeks! :) I'm starting to wonder if the hens haven't been sneaking off to lay somewhere I can't find the nest and had no choice but to lay in the shed, since the snow kept them inside the last 3 days. I really need to get the coop up for them.
I would say that's a distinct possibility. This is the time of year they are looking to lay a clutch and sit on it, whether they actually do that or not is up to the individual genetic trait,but a lot of chickens are still driven by that instinct in the spring.

I just ruined a nest that had 14 eggs in it. In the days after ruining that nest, the production in the coop nests went up to nearly 100% of viable layers.

I have no doubt they will establish other nests out there, so I keep watch. If it's in a good place to brood, I'll keep removing eggs from it that I don't want hatched and see if one of the hens will actually sit on it.
 

sumi

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DS found another egg from his hen in the shed today :ya Finally we're getting eggs and they getting laid in a good post for us. I'd hate for her to go broody outside somewhere. The eggs are infertile and it's dangerous out at night for a hen.
 

Beekissed

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It's been a good laying year and had fair hatching, though not stellar. Time to butcher old hens....only had one rooster this season and had to keep him for breeding in the spring. Will order some chicks in the spring....haven't done that for YEARS, but need a fresh infusion of WR blood and to replenish some of the BAs.

Butchering in the fall, eliminating those not laying as steadily, always shakes up the pecking order enough that the young hens and cockerel get a better life and can find a good place to roost. Also seems to stimulate laying for some reason....not sure why but laying always seems to increase after a good culling. Fear factor, maybe. :D

Will take the coop down to winter numbers, which is always nice on the feed bill.
 

milkmansdaughter

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I'll be doing the same here in a few weeks. Ive got some meat chickens to cull along with a few that I have to constantly kick out of the nesting boxes at night. And there are two loud panicky chickens and a few that hang around all day waiting to be fed rather than free ranging. These will also be culled.
 

Beekissed

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I'll be doing the same here in a few weeks. Ive got some meat chickens to cull along with a few that I have to constantly kick out of the nesting boxes at night. And there are two loud panicky chickens and a few that hang around all day waiting to be fed rather than free ranging. These will also be culled.
I have a few of those too and they are on the list....can't WAIT to kill those two, as they have eaten a truckload of cat food in the past few years and both were insistent on getting into the garden this past season. AND, what is much worse, they've taught that kind of behavior to a couple of the young pullets. Only one thing can get you killed any quicker around here and that's attacking the food bringer~as a hen~or overall lack of lay.
 

Mini Horses

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We all hate the cull. I have gotten the cooler weather here, so I HOPE to get a few down and canned. Looks like week of Thanksgiving I'm pretty much off and weather should remain cool. If it isn't rainy -- as it has been for 2 weeks -- plan to start with roos. Have a lot of those! Thanks to Spring hatch. Then, I can look at the hens.

Once you start, it's a doable mess. It's the getting started that's hard!! The first blood and gut takes over and you push through, for me at least. I have the cages all together to grab them from the roost the night before and pen. There are two that I will be THRILLED to eliminate, just annoying birds. They are all eating quite well, so should be good meat and will certainly reduce the feed bill!!

I'm going to intro "new blood" this year, also. Bee, where do you order your WR? Looking at both options -- chicks & hatching eggs. Have a few months to decide.
 

Lazy Gardener

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Last time I processed, I did so in my laundry room, over the laundry sink. I lined the walls around the sink with a plastic trash bag taped to the walls, made a killing cone out of a heavy (wood pellet) plastic bag. Stapled it into a cone and hung it from a shelf bracket over the sink. That cone was nice and deep, as well as conforming well to the shape of the bird. Never used a cone before. Made the job infinitely more manageable. Set an upside down dish strainer in the sink to raise the height of the bird as I worked on it, and to allow the water and gunk to freely drain. I found that my tap water was plenty hot enough for the scald! (hot water tank was about 8' away) Easiest set up and clean up ever. And, no matter the time of year, I could process without being pestered with flies/yellow jackets, or frozen fingers.

I live on a little dead end road, with my yard visible to road traffic as well as surrounding houses, so... processing in the laundry room allows me to do so without feeling like I'm on public display. I imagine all the folks who think their meat magically appears in little cello packages don't like being confronted with reality.
 
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