For the first several years that I raised chickens I followed the usual practice of buying my chicks in the spring then waiting the usual 18 to 20 weeks for that first egg. It always seemed that the new hens would just get up to full production and before I knew it fall was here and the egg production would start to decline. I started to think; what if I bought my new chicks in the fall then they would have all winter to grow and by spring they would be laying and at full production all summer long. So I decided to experiment and as it turned out I am very pleased with the results.
I ordered 26 Buff Orpingtons from the hatchery for delivery in mid September. They wintered well and after 20 weeks they started laying their first pullet eggs. Soon everyone was laying nice big eggs. I was surprised to notice that the eggs from these pullets increased in size from pullet size to full size at a quicker rate than my previous flocks. I was also happy to see that out of my 26 layers I was consistently getting 24 to 26 eggs daily and they kept this up all summer into the fall.
I didn’t do anything different in the raising of these chicks than I did with my other flocks; I only changed the time of year when I bought them. To me it’s far more practical to purchase chicks in the fall so they can spend the winter growing. This makes more sense than buying them in the spring, waiting for them to get big enough to start laying good and then have them slow down for winter and barely produce enough eggs to pay for their feed.
Compared to previous flocks that I raised from spring chicks these hens that were fall chicks have produced eggs on a far more consistent basis. So all in all I would say that I am quite pleased with my experiment of getting my chicks in the fall and I will continue this practice for all future flocks. It has worked out well!
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Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite. Psalm 147:5