bantam egg layers??

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by silverseeds, May 22, 2012.

  1. silverseeds

    silverseeds Terra-former

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    Im pretty new to chickens but as far as I can tell there dont seem to be any good laying bantam hens.

    Is there a reason for this?? What I mean is, is there a reason it HAS to be this way?

    I know often smaller animals are more efficient (although more work because more animals) then larger ones at feed conversion. So it seems bantams that produce as well as the heavy egg producing large breeds would be perfect for a homestead set up.

    Either way I think Im going to try to breed them. I started a thread on breeding quiet roosters for suburban homesteaders also, and this thought goes along with that one.

    My situation is similar to such a person even though Im well outside of town and HOAs... Reason being there are just to many predators here. From mountain lions and coyotes and bobcats to hawks and such. So I might trial freeranging some birds but its unlikely to work well. So instead Im going to set them up a large area, and grow much of their food to bring them. So not terribly different then a person who lives in the subburbs and needs to cage their birds.

    whether growing or buying feed, using less is obviously a big plus, so if like other animals smaller often means more efficiency I would think a small bantam that lays eggs as well as some of the bigger breeds could be really neat.

    Or am I wrong? does such a breed already exist???

    I think Im going to try it... I got the bantams in part because they will go broody and I dont NEED the incubator (although I have one) wih the heavy producing large breeds to keep production. I know if I DID end up with a good producing bantam it would likely be in part because I bred the broodiness out of them. But heck if I pulled it off and it WAS more efficient, keeping a mother line of bantams and a egg line would be easier then a bantam mother line, and full sized egg producers..

    so what do you think???
     
  2. patty12

    patty12 Well-Known Member

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    I think Bantams are not as productive because they spend a lot of thier lives trying to hatch eggs and raise chicks. I doubt if you can get the broody out of them. If it's bantam it is broody.
     
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  3. Allen W

    Allen W Well-Known Member

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    Find some leg horn bantams. Mixed bantams tend to lay better then pure breds too.
     
  4. silverseeds

    silverseeds Terra-former

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    So you dont think you even CAN breed the broodiness out of them? People bred the broodiness out of some large breeds, seems possible doesnt it?

    I know no one seems to have done it, but that doesnt mean it couldnt be done. I guess I will see, i think Im going to try. Seems like it would be a potentially efficient bird compared to larger chickens.
     
  5. wolffeathers

    wolffeathers Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The reason is they simply haven't been selectively bred for egg production.

    I imagine bantams have been primarily bred for exhibition and broodiness. I know when my Bantam Cochins lay, they lay an egg 2/3 the size of my standards and lay every other day. But "when they lay" is the key, they like to go broody and hatch eggs. I bought them to be my living incubators, so I'm fine with them not laying.

    What is your primary goal?

    If your primary goal is efficient production of eggs, then you're not going to beat the production leghorns. They were created by industry for the bottom dollar. A little bird that lays a big egg with as little feed as possible for as many eggs as possible. They are an all white, boring to look at bird; but they weren't created for looks.

    A second runner up is the "cherry egger". The "modern" Rhode Island Red, they've been bred and modeled after the leghorn that my "rhode island reds" are basically red leghorns in body type(just a bit larger), a tad less flighty and lay brown eggs instead of white.

    Modern bred birds, just aren't the big dual purpose birds they used to be. Eggs are the bottom line, so these birds have been scaled down and the egg production scaled up.

    If you haven't tried the production leghorn, they may be what you're looking for. It's considered a "standard" bird, but it's a small standard bird.

    They do not go broody, so if you are wanting to hatch out replacements you will need another breed. I suggest bantam cochins to be your living incubator and brooders to hatch out replacement egg-layers.



    If you're looking for a project and want to breed egg-laying bantams. I would start with bantam leghorns or bantam rhode island reds and select for egg production and select against broodiness. You may be able to speed the process by crossbreeding production leghorns with leghorn bantams.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2012
  6. pancho

    pancho Well-Known Member

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    People do not spend the time breeding for an egg laying bantam. It isn't worth the effort. The eggs are small, to small for the effort and cost of breeding them.
    There are not many things with poultry that haven't been tried. Not many new ideas.
    If you see something that isn't being done with poultry it is usually because it has already been tried and proven unsuccessful.

    Same thing goes for a quiet rooster, not worth the efffort.
     
  7. TriWinkle

    TriWinkle Fist City

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    I believe there's Rhode Island Red bantams, correct?
     
  8. silverseeds

    silverseeds Terra-former

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    Im not even sure what I have. I bought about 2 dozen mixed bantams. Mixed as in assorted I think they are purebreeds.
     
  9. silverseeds

    silverseeds Terra-former

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    Thats the thing, they lay eggs 2/3 the size of regular eggs, but eat less then 2/3 the feed. So if the little guys made eggs as often as some of the other breeds, by my math they would be more efficient.

    and yeah I got them to be my living incubators as wel. but if I could breed them to produce as well as standard egg laying breeds then Id just have some for mothers and some for potentially more efficient production.

    I have those breeds actually! Just babies though right now.
    ok... Well i guess I will see. If I had a bantam that produced eggs 2/3 the size that ate less then 2/3 the feed Id be better off. Perhaps the market simply calls for "regular" sized eggs? point bing perhaps its possible even if its not been done...

    Yeah, have those, and not sure about what bantams I have. Ive got about 2 dozen assorted breeds. I was going to spend a bunch and select out specific breeds, but I just grabbed them from the feedstore instead when they had a whole mess of mixed ones and offered me a deal. ($2 bucks ea.)

    Well I dont know what bantams I have, but yeah thats the plan. I should be able to figure out what bantams I have as they age. there are atleast 14 kinds I believe. Atleast based on looks. I took a long time to ensure I picked one of each type they had, then got extras of the coolest looking ones.

    I guess I can just see which ones produce best, and cross those to my full sized roosters, while also crossing one of the bantams roosters to my best layer of the other breeds. Then cross those chickies, and see where it gets me... Its jut a pet project. Im already going to raise them, might as well play a bit to!!! If it doesnt work, oh well. I still have my living incubators either way... and production breeds. I have a electric incubator to, but I liked the idea of naturally hatching them out as well.
     
  10. silverseeds

    silverseeds Terra-former

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    I dunno though. Very likely your right. Yet you also say that the eggs are to small for the effort. We didnt get the REALLY good egg producers until relatively recently in the scheme of things. Perhaps most who wanted eggs just got those if top production was key? Certainly commercially no one wants little eggs...

    But with eggs 2/3 the size with lower then 2/3 the feed, sounds like the potential is tere to me...

    Coturnix quail have tiny tiny eggs, but they are WAY more efficient at turning their food weight into egg weight then chickens. that is where I first got the idea...

    Oh well, maybe I will waste my time... I will let you guys know if it proves worthwhile.
     
  11. wolffeathers

    wolffeathers Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sounds like you're off to a good start. Just trial and error your way through it. It will be fun either way.

    You will like the living incubators, especially if you hope to go off grid. I prefer broody hens because you give them their privacy, some food and water and they take care of those eggs better than I could hope to.
     
  12. pancho

    pancho Well-Known Member

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    Some coturnix lay eggs the same size as some bantams.

    There was a reason to develop egg laying birds, same with meat birds. There is not enough demand for egg laying bantams just like there isn't any demand for bantam meat birds.

    To go to the expence and time to produce a bird that specializes in anything takes time and money. If there isn't a payback people are not going to invest the time and money.
     
  13. VA Susan

    VA Susan Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I wish you success. I'd love to have some Banty crosses. Our Old English Game Banty is a pretty good layer when she isn't broody. We have a RIR rooster and tried to hatch out a couple of our her Banty eggs, but all her eggs were infertile. Hope you have better success.
     
  14. silverseeds

    silverseeds Terra-former

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    Well presuming its possible, and further presuming I can do it with my 2 dozen bantams and 2 dozen of a few of the top egg layers among fullsized breeds, I AM going to do it! i guess we will see. I dont care if theres a payback, I find it interesting, and would be neat to have a more efficient layer if possible. Who knows if I pull it off I might have other homesteaders growing my egg laying breed. Its mainly just an experiment for me though honestly.

    I breed plants as well. Just starting, but Im breeding a full range of crops, Ive even collected 1000s worth of various fruit trees, to breed for the high desert as well. Some of my plant breeding projects are truly long term. Decades with me doing it by myself, if it ever even works. Others are more direct and attainable though. Its just fun for me...
     
  15. pancho

    pancho Well-Known Member

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    You can try. You won't live long enough to make much difference. It takes more than a few years to make any definite improvements.
     
  16. unregistered168043

    unregistered168043 Guest

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    I don't think bantams are more efficient because you are getting a smaller egg, less often. Its really a relative thing. They may eat less, pound for pound, but they produce proportionately less. If they were made to produce more they would probably consume proportionately more.

    Anyway, I think people make too much of 'maximizing egg production'. Unless you are running a business it really doesn't matter. My birds eat mostly free range, they get scraps and feed corn. No artificial lighting. I do none of the things that everyone says you're supposed to do to 'maximize egg production' and I still get way,way more eggs then I can consume for less than the spare change in my pocket.

    The only problem I can see running into with banties would be that in winter time laying comes to a complete stop. I think you can breed that out of them, same way modern laying hens have been bred. I'd bet banties are just like chickens were before selective breeding. No reason why they couldn't be bred the same way.
     
  17. sunflower-n-ks

    sunflower-n-ks Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have bantams and love them. I must say that most of the comments do contain truth. But, there are so many different ways of looking at things. They are saying a bantam egg is 2/3 the size of a regular egg. What breed are they talking about? My little japanese and japanese cross lay eggs that are closer to 1/4 the size of a commercial 'large egg. They don't lay many and they go broody a LOT. But they are sweet little birds.

    You might have to develop a market for small eggs also. For a single person a tiny bantam egg has value. I am learning to enjoy "baking in a coffee mug." A bantam egg is just right to put into a mix for that. No dividing an egg to get the right amount for the recipe.

    I have heard that in some areas quail eggs, and I would think the tiny bantam eggs would be good also, are sold to be boiled and put into childrens school lunches. Just right for a bite size serving. Some of those quail eggs sell for more than large chicken eggs. Make your market. Now, I am off to find a bantam egg and make a mug full of brownies. Yum
     
  18. wolffeathers

    wolffeathers Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I was the one who stated 2/3 the size of a standard. I bought two bantam cochin hens to set eggs, 1 went to setting immediately and the other kept laying for a while. I was quite surprised at the size of her egg. It was each hen to a coop, so I know it was hers. (Wouldn't have believed it otherwise).

    Small eggs are the best to pickle. I had Coturnix quail for a while, there eggs were the perfect bite size for pickled eggs. (Once made a 30 egg omelet...for 1 person. LOL)
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2012
  19. silverseeds

    silverseeds Terra-former

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    Thats part of it really. I really am unlikely to let them free range with all the predators around here. I buy food now, but by summers end hope to grow all or most of their food, and definitely grow it all next year. Efficiency would sure be nice...

    If it doesnt work oh well. I will just keep some of each size then.
     
  20. silverseeds

    silverseeds Terra-former

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    i dont need a market for them. Its just an interesting project is all. If it works out and other homesteaders wanted them, Id just give them eggs most likely.