1. It's important to choose breeds based on productivity. The hens you select to raise should lay, on average, an egg a day. I know it's tempting to choose some hens based on their looks, or the color of eggs they lay, but if productivity and saving money are important to you, these should be secondary concerns. (Check out this chicken breed chart to determine which breeds are the best layers.)
2. Hens aren't egg laying machines. They won't lay at all until they are mature enough. Then they will stop laying while molting, and their egg production naturally slows or stops during winter.
|Courtesy Raketenpilot and Wikimedia Commons.|
4. Choosing breeds that lay better in the winter is a good idea. This is why I originally chose Australorps. But again, hens that naturally lay more in winter will slow down their laying before the two year mark. (For more on good winter layers, click here.)
So as a homesteader, you need to choose what's most important to you. Do you want more eggs in a shorter amount of time? Or do you want the hens to lay well for a little longer period of time, allowing them to follow their bodies' natural no-laying periods?