You may have heard the Silkie Bantam is only a fair egg layer, but is this really a fair statement? Perhaps they get a bad rap because they’re often broody which interrupts egg production. True, but in my opinion, this incredible bird should be considered a master of two jobs. I give them five stars for their dedication to motherhood, and here’s their generous contribution to the breakfast menu. Not bad, not bad at all!
My Silkies lay every other day on average, with little change during our mild Arizona winters. There are six birds in my flock over the age of four and are still producing at the same rate. As far as I’m concerned, a chicken’s production decreasing after the age of two years has not proven true on our little farm.
But there are always exceptions…
Meet Fern, this little lady doesn’t lay eggs at all, ever! Hatched in 2012, isn’t interested in setting on eggs, and has never gone broody. But no worry, there’s still a job for her here as a bug eater. She’s also valuable as a warm body to the others on those occasional cold winter nights.
Concern: Are there harmful effects on chickens exposed to pre-emergents?
I was introduced to pre-emergent applications years ago when the weeds on our ranch became an overwhelming challenge to control. We tried everything including Round-up, it was incredibly costly to spray our entire property and it wasn’t even very effective. After a month the weeds were all back.
Pre-emergent applications sprayed twice a year are virtually 100%, and a fraction of the cost too. We use a professional service here in Phoenix called Southwest Ground Control that guaranties we won’t see a single weed or they come back free of charge. To give you an idea of cost, it’s about $260 per acre.
However, now that I have some chickens that are retired and free range on my property, I had concerns about their exposure to my bi-annual pre-emergent treatment scheduled for this week. After my research I decided to only partially apply herbicides, here’s why…
Are Herbicides Harmful to Chickens?
Herbicides are intended to kill weeds. While many herbicides are usually not as toxic as pesticides, herbicides may be dangerous to chickens… Read More
Here’s a handy chart from the Poultry Site that identifies the egg problems you might be seeing among your laying hens.