Summer chick specials are everywhere!
It may not seem like a great time to consider your egg production for winter right now, as the county is steaming madly in the mid-section.
The truth is this: if you want good egg production this winter, you'll want at least a couple of new layers for your coop. This is the time to get your chicks!
Most breeds do take a winter break from laying after their first full year, and that break usually coincides with a molt. This can cause a 6- to 8-week long hiatus that leaves you desperate for fresh eggs, or *gasp*- buying them from the grocer.
If ordered now, chicks will hit their 6 month stage in December, and begin laying somewhere during the winter break. It's good to consider chicks now, as well, because many of the national hatcheries are offering specials! Really, anytime from now through September will be a great time to get new girls growing.
Just this week I got email notices from 7 hatcheries offering sexed pullets for under $2 each, and a couple offered free shipping on a batch of 25. If you team up with several in your area, you can get just a small number of new hens-to-be, and happily gather new eggs from them as young layers in the dead of winter.
There will also be swap meets in Overbrook July 14 and August 25, and an auction in Gardener September 15. These are great opportunities for picking up interesting new breeds and perhaps branching into peafowl, ducks or geese!
Just remember, any time you go into a situation with other poultry owners, you must practice biosecurity to prevent your flock from being contaminated by cooties from another flock. you should also quarantine any new birds for thirty days prior to integrating them into your birds.