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How long do chickens lay eggs for?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I heard they only lay well for 2 years and decline from there. However, I am completely new to this so any advice would be very helpful!

 

 

post #2 of 8

That's true, but it really matters only from a production standpoint.  Older hens lay just fine, some of them very nicely.  As for how many years, perhaps some long-time chicken lovers can chime in and let us know how their old biddies are doing.

....waiting waiting waiting for the day when my eggs aren't costing me $500 a dozen....

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....waiting waiting waiting for the day when my eggs aren't costing me $500 a dozen....

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post #3 of 8

This is a very subjective topic.  Chickens are individuals as much as any other animal.  Some will lay for two years, then decide to retire.  Some will keep laying up to 5 years, then slow down/stop.  And some will just slowly decline steadily over the years.

 

Of course breeding vastly affects this.  You may want to determine which hatchery/breeder you would like to buy from, and post a thread here asking for anyone else who has bought from the same location how long their birds have been laying for them.

 

Additionally, the breed of the bird itself will really affect laying life.  All birds are born with a finite number of ova.  How they dole these out is dependent on their breed and breeding.  Some hatcheries breed for birds who churn out their eggs daily (in which case, they run out of ova quickly, such as at the two year mark).  Some breeders breed for steady laying, in which the hens dole out their eggs more slowly, which results in them laying for several years longer.  Note that this does not mean that you get more eggs, just that you get them more slowly and steadily.

"It's easy. You draw a red line on the ground, right? Then you wait for a chicken to come along. When he arrives, he puts his beak right on the line and he's hypnotized!"
Joey Santiago
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"It's easy. You draw a red line on the ground, right? Then you wait for a chicken to come along. When he arrives, he puts his beak right on the line and he's hypnotized!"
Joey Santiago
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post #4 of 8

like others have said, it is dependant on the breed and the lineage of the bird. That being said, I had a 9 year old buff orpington that was still laying eggs...one or two a week before we rehomed her.

Permitted wildlife rehabber, specializing in the North American Bobcat

 

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Permitted wildlife rehabber, specializing in the North American Bobcat

 

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post #5 of 8

usually lay until they stop,,like  old ladies dancing, some dance for 80 years, some do it for couple , some wont even dance..

my hens laid until i ate em in soup heh ;)

BYC's original hippie..0 pair of games,0 peafowl,, 0, 0 savanah moniter,0 black emporer scorpion,0 bull snake,0 ball python,,0 wife,1 older boy,2 girls @ 7and9

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BYC's original hippie..0 pair of games,0 peafowl,, 0, 0 savanah moniter,0 black emporer scorpion,0 bull snake,0 ball python,,0 wife,1 older boy,2 girls @ 7and9

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post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by the1much View Post

usually lay until they stop,,like  old ladies dancing, some dance for 80 years, some do it for couple , some wont even dance..

my hens laid until i ate em in soup heh ;)


When my husband was a boy he asked his farming uncle how long a hog can live for.  The answer?  "Oh, about 6 months."

 

....waiting waiting waiting for the day when my eggs aren't costing me $500 a dozen....

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....waiting waiting waiting for the day when my eggs aren't costing me $500 a dozen....

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post #7 of 8

My Red Star is six and lays 4 BIG brown eggs a week thumbsup.gif

post #8 of 8

I agree with the comment "All birds are born with a finite number of ova.  How they dole these out is dependent on their breed and breeding."  Typically Red Stars (also called Sex Links) will lay all of their eggs in about 2 years, they lay almost daily and then they stop almost completely at just over 2 years old. Other breeds lay less eggs per year but lay for more years - some for four or more years. I think all birds cut down on production by the time they are about 3 years old. They may continue to lay until they are much older it will just be much more sporadic.

 

The question is - how do you want to manage your flock? If you plan to kill and eat your hens as they stop laying then you want a breed that produces heavily and then stops altogether. If on the other hand you want to keep your birds as pets and let them die naturally it might be nice to have eggs over a longer period of time.

 

I often see ads for chickens that are two years old and "still laying great" - that may be true but for how long? You may want to do yourself a favor and pay a bit more for young pullets that are just starting to lay, unless you really are just looking for a pet. That said the old gals are still great for pest control and composting (they love to turn the soil daily) if your space is not limited. Additionally I am sure they eat much less feed than hens that are still laying.

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