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Lifespan and egg laying of laying hens

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

My hens are about 2 years old. They are all molting right now. Ive got no eggs for several weeks. How old are chickens when they stop laying and how long do they live? Im wondering when I should replace some of the girls.

post #2 of 8

It depends,
what breeds of chickens do you have, most birds stop laying when they molt,some stop laying eggs through the winter. And a chickens can live upwards of eight years some times but most stop laying by then wink
- Roxyblue

Loving caretaker to four amazing hens: Gloria the bard rock, Roxy the amerucauna,Stella the speckled sussex,and last but not least Luna some sort of cross between a Columbian wyandotte and an I-dunno-what.  I live in the city and need to move, chicken math is growing on me!
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Loving caretaker to four amazing hens: Gloria the bard rock, Roxy the amerucauna,Stella the speckled sussex,and last but not least Luna some sort of cross between a Columbian wyandotte and an I-dunno-what.  I live in the city and need to move, chicken math is growing on me!
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post #3 of 8

If you have laying breeds, they will most likely give you one more spring/summer of decent production, although molting/egg recovery does take longer in the 2nd year, at least according to MY girls. hmm  Some chickens can lay for many years, 5, 6, 7, 8...but they will take increasingly long breaks, and the production will be pretty low (I've read of 8 yr. olds laying an egg a week).  So those who replace generally do so around the 2-3 yr. mark.  My big girls are just over two years, so I brought in babies this fall to take up the slack a bit come spring.  But my chickens are pets, so my original girls will stay here anyhow, laying or not. smile
In your case, I'd be looking at early spring chicks, which will carry you through next fall/winter.  Because by then, your original girls probably won't be producing much.

Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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post #4 of 8

After they're two or three, their egg laying gradually decreases, it might be a while until they actually stop smile

-Magical Avian Emperor Mr. Lord King Sir

My BYC best friends are polishchickens111ChickenPeepwillowbranchfarm, and BunnyBuns

It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.

 

 

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-Magical Avian Emperor Mr. Lord King Sir

My BYC best friends are polishchickens111ChickenPeepwillowbranchfarm, and BunnyBuns

It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.

 

 

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post #5 of 8

About the only way to always have eggs is have a few spring hatched pullets every year.  First year pullets don't normally moult their first fall and if they start laying well in early September, tend to lay right on through the first winter without a hiccup.  Of course, the next fall, they too will be older birds and moult.

Most hens will lay reasonably well for two years and some then, go into a severe decline while others decline almost imperceptibly. This depends on the breed and whether it is a high production bird in the first place.  Just in my experience, a typical hen has about 1000-1200 eggs to lay.  The question is how fast will she lay them?  The hybrids are designed to lay them quite quickly, over the first two years. 

Some folks "turn their flocks over" every two or three years, cycling in young pullets every year, while cycling out older birds.  These are personal management decisions.

 

 

Practicing Sustainable Agriculture At The 45th Parallel

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Practicing Sustainable Agriculture At The 45th Parallel

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post #6 of 8

Thanks for the info. Good to know.

The person who gets money dishonestly is like a bird that hatches eggs it didn't lay. In the prime of life he will lose his riches, and in the end he is nothing but a fool.
Jeremiah 17:11

1 Wife - 2 Dogs - 3 Goats - 2 Dominiques - 1 Cockatiel
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The person who gets money dishonestly is like a bird that hatches eggs it didn't lay. In the prime of life he will lose his riches, and in the end he is nothing but a fool.
Jeremiah 17:11

1 Wife - 2 Dogs - 3 Goats - 2 Dominiques - 1 Cockatiel
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post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

Yea, good info. Thanks everyone. I have RI Red hens and a Black Austrlorp, 2 Buff Orps, and a Barred Rock. I would generally like to cycle out the older ones when they stop laying. But I cant see that happening as my kids have turned them into pets.

post #8 of 8

I have a flock of young pullets still waiting on my first egg. Is it safe to assume I wont get any till spring 2012? If I follow your thoughts than I should get new birds cycled in early spring 2013?

Way to many chickens to remember, 7 runner ducks, 2 Turkeys, and 1 huge BO roo.
Enjoying my little farm surrounded by city.
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Way to many chickens to remember, 7 runner ducks, 2 Turkeys, and 1 huge BO roo.
Enjoying my little farm surrounded by city.
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