Lack of eggs

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Lack of eggs

Postby Vivienne » Tue Nov 01, 2016 10:56 pm

I have 7 brown shavers,my friend has 6 all purchased from the same place and together.They are just over 2 years and were little pulleys purchased The most eggs I have gotten was 5 - once, sometimes 4 mostly 3 and today two.My friend is having the same result. I consider the the worst I've ever had. In the past I've had hi lines and found them ok. Please can you recommend a better breed for my backyard? Housing and feed are up to scratch,persevering I don't think will get better results.I appreciate your advice,cheers Viv
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Re: Lack of eggs

Postby sewren » Wed Nov 02, 2016 8:40 am

Hi Vivienne - welcome to the forum!

I'm sorry to hear you are disappointed with your birds, but to be honest your shavers sound like they are producing about what I would expect shavers of that age to lay. Shavers have been 'designed' to lay incredible reliably, pretty much an egg a day, for the first year of their life, then in their second season the rate drops off (which is why commercial operations sell them at this point). It's just not possible for them to keep up that commercial rate of laying forever so they pump them all out at the beginning of their life, in comparison to heritage breeds which tend to lay at a lower rate, but more steadily for their whole life.

You will probably find that your shavers won't live too much longer either, I am afraid. I have heard of exceptions, of shavers living to quite old, but in general they seem to start dying at about 3 yrs I think. Unfortunately the selective breeding for excellent laying seems to have resulted in a lack of longevity...

If you want a reliable layer that will lay almost every day then you would need to get shavers or hylines at point of lay, so at about 16-18 weeks old. Then you'll get a good few years of laying out of them, although of course you will experience the drop off yourself. Out of the heritage breeds there are strains of leghorn which are excellent layers of beautiful large white eggs - and they come in a variety of colours too (although I believe some colours are better layers than others?) - so that might be a breed you could look into. You probably won't get quite as many eggs from them as a commercial breed in the first year, but over the lifetime of the bird I expect a leghorn would out-lay a shaver or a hyline.
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Re: Lack of eggs

Postby Marina » Wed Nov 02, 2016 10:16 am

Hi Vivienne and a very warm welcome to the forum from me, too :D

Shavers and Hylines are the most economical layers during their first season you can get - not the best layers by quite a margin. The males are discarded at hatching as they hatch with white hatch down (as opposed to the pullets who hatch with orange hatch down). So no need to raise the cockerels which saves a lot of money and adds to the 'economy' of things.

Shavers and Hylines start to lay from 16 weeks old - but a very small egg. Heritage breeds may start from 20 weeks onwards but most will take 24 to 26 weeks before the first egg eventuates. The heavy breeds often need 36 weeks or more before they lay their first egg but once they lay many lay very well. My best layer ever was a Black Orpington who laid some 330 eggs during her first year of laying - but she was 8 months old when she started to lay. She still laid 250 odd eggs during her second season and had 2 more seasons of very good laying.

New Hampshire Reds, Buff Plymouth Rocks and North Holland Blues are heritage breeds who won't disappoint you but unless you buy 3 month old pullets you'll have to deal with the cockerels. Other good laying breeds are Rhode Island Reds, Leghorns, Andalusians, Anconas, Minorcas. if you like the laid back heavy breeds they can lay very well, too - in particular Black Australorps and some strains of Orpingtons lay well.
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