? small white laying hens

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I bought some small (3lb) white laying hens this summer. They had been debeaked when I bought them. They have not gotten any larger and now one of them apears to be molting on the underside but it is 20 degrees outside! My other hens are heavy breeds and seem fine. Should I be worried?

-- mother hen (m35a2-1@freewwweb.com), December 21, 1999


You seem to have bought White Leghorns. They are the commercial favorite for laying hens. Is it possible that you bought them at the end of their first year of laying? They may be going through their first molt. They will never weigh anymore than 3.5 lbs

-- Cornelius Van Milligen (CAVM@AOL.com), December 22, 1999.

I'll have to agree with Cornelius - sure sound like leghorns to me. They should be laying fairly large white eggs. If they are also quite a lot more flighty than your heavy breeds, that nails it - they're white leghorns. I've never cared for them because of that aspect, and I prefer the heavy breeds anyway, since we tend to hatch out quite a few chicks, and the heavy roosters make a much better meal than a leghorn. Still, if your #1 concern is egg production, they are very good layers. Don't worry about the molting. I have a couple of Black Australorps in the same condition. We're in Maine, and it ain't exactly balmy!

-- Brad Traver (homefixer@mix-net.net), December 23, 1999.

Thank You for your help. I really did not know what to think about the hens. Have a Merry Christmas.

-- mother hen (m35a2-1@freewwweb.com), December 23, 1999.

We also raise heavy breeds but were offered a leghorn for free. While we were a bit leary of them since they were such a commercial breed and didn't look hardy enough for WI winters we were happily surprized. Our white leghorn lays like crazy and is a very good forager in our free range set up. They are a very old breed and I think they perform very well on the homestead. We still like our heavy breeds but I'm happy to have a few leghorns around as well!! Kim

-- Kim (fleece@eritter.net), December 26, 1999.

Those birds will never be more than three-three and a half pounds, but when they're done laying, they make some great soup.

-- Dan (dshaske@excel.net), December 27, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ