Buying Chickens in Winter

Discussion in 'Breeding, Raising, Feeding and Caring for Animals' started by StephenWard9, Mar 31, 2011.

  1. StephenWard9

    StephenWard9 Junior Member

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    Hi,

    We're in Melbourne and are very excited about getting a couple of chooks in the near future.

    I've heard they are less likely to lay in Winter and the overall period they for is quite short (maybe less than 2 years).

    So this is making me wonder if it's a good idea to get chooks at his time of year or is it better to wait till the days start getting longer again? Would that increase the period they lay for? Is there anything I should look out for, e.g. when they were born, when buying chickens at this time of year?

    Cheers
    Steve
     
  2. pippimac

    pippimac Junior Member

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    My mum has many, many chooks.
    Plenty don't lay at all because they're ancient and my mum's too sooky to kill them, but lots of the 'retired' birds laid till they were at least 8.
    It's important to note, they're all various combinations of heritage breeds (mongrels, in other words). I think hybrids can lay themselves to death and commercial egg-farmers only give them a few years. With heritage chooks, at 2 I imagine they should be only just getting into the swing of it!
    I'd say get your chooks in the spring or you're just paying for feed if they're not laying, but chook people may well be able to blow that theory...
    I assume a lot depends on the age of the birds you're getting: last season's chicks? point-of-lay pullets?
    Most heritage breeds start laying around 6 months old, give or take.
     
  3. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Depends on why you are getting chooks. If the only useful output is going to be eggs - wait until the weather warms up. If they are being used as garden slaves, fertilizer producer, and psychotherapy then get them whenever you are ready. My chooks are good psychotherapy.
     
  4. geoff

    geoff Junior Member

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    Chooks do still lay eggs during the cooler months, and if they're factory breeds they lay pretty consistently through. They may have a moult and go off the lay for a bit, but it's usually not too long, couple of weeks to a month. The moult usually happens late summer to autumn though, so you'd be close to missing it anyway.

    We've got factory breeds still going fairly well after 4 years, they're not producing an egg a day anymore, but they might still be doing a bit better than some of the heritage breeds we've got lol!

    Spring might be the best time as the other folks have said, if you're truly worried about feeding them and only getting a 2, 3 or 4 eggs a week per chook, on the other hand the excitement of having them would go a long way toward making up for the lack of eggs. As eco4560 says, they've got a lot of other great uses around the place as well!
     
  5. Pink Angel

    Pink Angel Junior Member

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    I am in Melbourne and my chooks do not go off the lay over winter. I had previously been told this also, but it never happened.
    My chooks are like pets though and the children give them cuddles daily. They free range half the backyard and have access to the back verandah, so that is where you find them when it is raining.
    I do not have to speand too much on food for them as they have a lot of scraps and they forage the back yard and have all the vege's that are thrown away. (grub infested or like)

    They are interesting creatures to watch and you will find they give back more than just eggs. I would love to see some in everyone's back yard!!
     
  6. Mudman

    Mudman Junior Member

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    Get your chooks whenever they are available and try to get rare or heritage breeds.
    They are much more interesting than the isa-browns especially the naked necks!!!
     
  7. Imarni

    Imarni Junior Member

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    Chooks generally lay around 18 weeks, usually it's the second year they will go off the lay in the Winter if it's their first year they should still keep laying, Its either Hybrids or Isa's can't remember that will reduce laying after the 2nd year, but have a look at www.backyardpoultry.com.au in the breeders section and see whats available, you will find some ususual breeds there and some awesome priced chooks.
     

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