October 27, 2015

The 'Lorps Are Laying!


My Black Australorp pullets started laying last week. I got my first egg on Wednesday, three more the next day, and one or two every day since. I have 11 Australorp hens, so they should keep us well-supplied with eggs.

Pretty nice size for pullet eggs, I think.

Their hatch day was May 13, so the first eggs came at 23 weeks old. I should be getting eggs throughout the winter. :) Even before they started molting, my old ladies were down to about 2 to 4 per day for 16 hens, so it's definitely time for some new blood.

44 comments:

  1. I'm so jealous! We're new to chickens, have six pullets and one is an Australorp. They're all just about 22 weeks now, and Cher (the Australorp) definitely looks like she's about ready to start. I'm om the east coast too, and so glad to hear that even with our shorter days, she can still start laying now & not wait 'til spring!

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    1. You're right on the verge of eggs! And I'm guessing you'll get eggs right on through winter if your girls are 22 weeks. Maybe not as much as summer, but enough to keep you in eggs for cooking and baking. :)

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  2. Sounds like you will be canning some chicken meat...

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    1. That's exactly what I've been doing!

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    2. I still cant get used to canning meat. No reason you cant, just not something that entered my consciousness until i met you. Canned chicken meat has only really been available in the last few years here and i certainly havent bought any. Tuna & Salmon are the most canned meats in Oz.

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    3. When we ate out of the grocery store the only canned meats I bought were tuna and occasionally salmon. My grandmother used to by canned ham, but all canned meats seem more expensive than buying fresh or frozen. The only time I bought canned meat was when we were preparing for Y2K.

      When we started eating our homegrown meat, I froze it all at first. In fact, the first two goats that came back from the processor were frozen, so I did that with the chickens we did at home too. Two goats is a lot of meat for two people, however, so when the meat had been in the freezer going on a year, I canned the rest. I discovered how nice it is to have meat cooked and ready to heat up and serve.

      I still freeze most of our home-processed meat, but the older birds are tough unless slow- or pressure-cooked. That's when I started canning chicken. That cooks and tenderizes them and makes for a handy meal! I suppose I could say that canning meat is my concession to convenience food.

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  3. We're in the same boat, about 16 older hens, and only around 5 eggs a day, but our young hens haven't started laying yet. We do look forward to that day, but it's still probably a month away. I agree with Farmer Barb, our older hens will go into jars once the young ones get started. Congratulations on your new egg supply.

    Fern

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    1. Pressure canning does wonders on tough old hens, doesn't it?

      Next year I'm hoping to get back to the original plan, i.e. let my hens hatch out a 6 or 8 new chicks to replace some of the oldest birds. They do okay for 2 or 3 years, but after that they eat more than they produce, as you well know! I'd like to keep an ongoing flock of about 12 or 14 of mixed ages. That means I need to stop experimenting with breeds. ;)

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  4. Eleven Lorps a laying and a partridge in a pear tree!

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    1. LOL. Very appropriate for the upcoming season!

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    2. Too soon! Let's deal with Halloween and Thanksgiving first please.

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  5. Those are some pretty birds and some fine looking eggs! Ours are going through a molt and a slacking off a bit. They have also passed the 1/2 mark in what we expect to be there productive laying lives. Every time we start talking about culling some of them out it's like someone is listening under the windows and we get another burst of heavy laying. Soooo, we've decided to carry them all through the winter and see what spring brings.

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    1. We've noticed that too! That when we talk about culling, egg production mysteriously goes up!

      These are all the same age, but I plan to stagger the ages in the future so they don't all molt at the same time. I put away five dozen eggs for an egg drought, and am pleased to have fresh eggs again before we were out.

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  6. I have a question for you:) Scary huh? After having them from chicks, are they any more aggressive that other breeds? I always say I like dumb birds that all get along (not really dumb but docile.) I've never tried 'lorps because nobody could tell me for certain of their temperament.

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    1. That's a good question and I can tell you my experience, but don't know if it's a comprehensive answer. We're switching from a Buff Orpington - Speckled Sussex - Australorp mix flock to straight 'Lorps. They are the youngest and were pretty much picked on by the other, older birds. But in my experience, that's always the case. The oldsters are at the top of the order and the youngsters are at the bottom. The only trouble we really have is with roosters. The bold ones turn out to be aggressive. More than one rooster has always been trouble for us. If you get a mix of chicks in the beginning, I'd say that everyone will get along fairly well.

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    2. we are big fans of the black Australorps and raise them from day olds. We find them very biddable/ trainable and easy to work with. No flightiness and though they have the usual pecking order regime I haven't witnessed any viciousness but when they get very old they can get narky like any of us. We find them to be robust in health and ideal for backyarders EXCEPT backyarders tend to want to name their chooks and they are very hard to tell apart lol

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    3. This is definitely a breed that is hard to tell apart! I actually prefer it that way because when it comes time to cull they all look alike and there are no distinct "personalities." The only problem then is making sure we cull the right ones, LOL

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  7. The Australorps are beautiful! We've had chickens many years but never an Australorp. My hens are molting now and look just awful. I'm getting only one or two eggs a day. So glad to have found your beautiful blog and look forward to reading and learning! Thank you!

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    1. Hello and welcome! They do look pretty bad when they're molting, don't they? I'm hoping for a broader age range of chickens in the future with different hatch times. That way I hope they won't all molt at the same time and I can keep on getting eggs!

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  8. Black Australorps are my favorite kind of chicken. I've raised them for eggs in the past and their eggs are wonderful. Enjoy!

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    1. I love hearing that, Beth, thanks! I've experimented with a number of breeds, but I think we'll stop here and keep on with the Australorps. I like they really well so far.

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    2. They are also cold weather hardy fowl. :) So if you have harsh winters, they will do just fine!

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  9. oh goodie! I need to find a steady supplier of farm fresh eggs. My groomer has them but not enough for all her customers who are interested. and the thrift store has them but they're dirty...not sure the best way to clean refrigerated dirty eggs. :-/

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    1. I'm surprised they try to sell them dirty. Seems like no one would buy them! I don't ordinarily clean eggs, except to brush off anything that can be. They can be washed in warm water and then refrigerated. I read that cold water causes the insides to shrink and draw in any unwanted bacteria.

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  10. Isn't it wonderful? Our chicks had the same hatch day as yours....also Black Australorps and they started laying last Thursday. First eggs always are exciting for us and them. I don't think they are any more or less aggressive or docile than any other. We have a mixed flock of Australorphs and Buff Orphingtons and Auracaunas. They all get along with themselves and us,

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    1. Very cool! Did you get yours from Cackle by any chance? Our chickens might be related!

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    2. Nope, they came from Healthy Hatchey

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    3. That would be amazing to know someone with related chickens, LOL. Interesting that they were hatched the same day, though.

      Every time you comment I click your name to return a blog visit, and then remember that your profile is set to private. Your comments are always interesting and helpful that I'd love to read your blog if you have one.

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  11. Those eggs do look huge, compared to my firsts. Looking fwd to full sized eggs here.

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    1. They do seem kinda large for pullet eggs. No complaints and it makes me wonder if they'll be nice large ones once they get in full egg laying mode.

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  12. I just LOVE your blog! I look every single day to see if you've posted anything new! My grandfather had lorps for years, and two of them made it about 11 or 12 years old and still laid quite a bit for their extremely advanced age. They are very nice and sweet birds, but as the matriarchs of the coop, grandpas lorps definitely ruled with an iron fist! I just turned 19 and still live at home. My parents have been thinking about moving deeper into our city, so I've cut my flock down to three hens; a Buff Orpington that's 3 1/2, a White Leghorn that's 1, and a Barred Plymouth Rock that's 1. My buff is a prolific setter, and has hatched babies all four times that she's been allowed to, and she still ,as more than the barred rock. The leghorn lays every single day, a giant white egg that is sometimes double-yolked. All three are very nice birds and definitely breeds I would recommend. Have you tried the leghorns and barred rocks?

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    1. David, thank you and welcome! Thank you for sharing that with me about your grandfather's Australorps, that's good to know!

      I have not tried leghorns or barred rocks, but I have kept Barred Hollands. They look like the Rocks except they lay white eggs. We really like them and they were very good toward people. It was the other chickens they didn't like. :)

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  13. How wonderful to be getting that many eggs! Since i don't have chickens any eggs are wonderful! LOL Nancy

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    1. Nancy when they aren't laying well I really miss those eggs!

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  14. I am researching in preparation for spring chickens. Do you expect the Lorps to go broody? I prefer the darker color, but read that Bufs are more quiet and likely to go broody. So many choices create a dilemma...

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    1. Let me just say that I hope they'll go broody! This is my first year with them and have read that they aren't likely to go broody. My Buffs were definitely broody chickens, but they weren't quiet!

      A number of years ago I had Welsummers, which are said to not go broody, but I had one hatch out some eggs for me plus raise 16 grafted on Buffs. She was an excellent mother and lost her life to a hawk while defending her chicks.

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    2. There are black orpingtons that you could consider if you like the darker color. I have a buff Orpington that's three and has set four times so far and is a great mother! I love my orp!

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    3. Good point about the black orpingtons, David. I can't help but wonder if they have the same personality as the buffs. But I'm going to resist the temptation to get some to find out! LOL

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  15. Beautiful birds and eggs. It's nice to have young start laying this time of year. Our older girls will slow down dramatically during the winter but we can count on the youngsters to keep us in eggs. :)

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    1. Yes, and that's the reason it's helpful to keep a mixed age flock! At least to me it's a good reason. A few every year for meat, a few fresh and new layers, and a steady egg supply. That's what I'm talkin' about.

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  16. Leigh,

    Those are some really nice looking eggs. Enjoy!

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  17. Lovely black hens and beautiful brown eggs! It's so much fun to have hens picking around!

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    1. Until they unmulch everything I've just mulched, LOL.

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