Age of hens?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by raro, Oct 24, 2011.

  1. raro

    raro Out Of The Brooder

    84
    3
    41
    Aug 9, 2010
    Is there any way to tell how old a hen is? My hens have one by one stopped laying, and nothing else fits. I am wondering if maybe the farmer who sold them to me lied about their age. I was a greenie and knew nothing. He said they were 20 weeks old, but...they could have been ancient, and how would I know?! And...they have never moulted. It's about 14 months since I got them; shouldn't they have moulted by now? Unless they've long since passed their prime?
     
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    It is possible they are much older than you think. You got them a year ago August?

    This time of year is rest time for most breeds. The ever decreasing light (which became noticeable to the chicken back in August) triggers molts and also shuts down laying. All you can do is allow them some time of rest. If you wish, you can up their protein intake from 16% to 18% or even 20%. You could also try to see if increasing the lighting through the use of a timer would restore some laying. Many folks have the light come on at 5 am and leave it on until 9 am. These additional few hours aren't going to push a hen. It is also possible there is lice, mites, and internal parasites that are causing them discomfort.

    After doing all that, there's nothing to do except wait and see. If you could also tell us the breed, it would also be somewhat helpful.
     
  3. sonew123

    sonew123 Poultry Snuggie

    25,007
    68
    388
    Mar 16, 2009
    onchiota NY
    Quote:Wait..you got them 14 months ago?? If so that should make them less than two years old...A long molt that you can hardly notice--mites/worms??
     
  4. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Chickens don't moult in their first year do they? If I have a hen that was born this spring, when will she moult?

    I also have a hen that is a little over a year old (Delaware), and she has yet to moult.. When should I expect that? I hope it's not in the dead of winter! Naked chickens are not going to be happy in -20 weather [​IMG]
     
  5. sonew123

    sonew123 Poultry Snuggie

    25,007
    68
    388
    Mar 16, 2009
    onchiota NY
    Quote:I have had many chickens molt in their first year. Depending on when they were hatched. Alot of my Winter hatches are starting to molt now...they start laying for the first time for 2-3 months and BAM-molt:(
     
  6. greymane

    greymane Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,706
    16
    203
    Jun 2, 2011
    Snyder County, PA
    Quote:You could ask them, but they usually lie. (Some get REALLY offended and just peck you on the nose.) [​IMG]
     
  7. raro

    raro Out Of The Brooder

    84
    3
    41
    Aug 9, 2010
    Thanks. I got them 14 months ago and treated them for mites pretty quickly. They are red sex links and for about 9 months they each laid an egg every day. Then one stopped laying. Then another, and so forth, starting around April or May. I thought they would moult the first year, but they haven't, so I'm wondering if they're several years old and just going through menopause. I don't know if I was tricked by the farmer or not. Sigh...
     
  8. sonew123

    sonew123 Poultry Snuggie

    25,007
    68
    388
    Mar 16, 2009
    onchiota NY
    Quote:Menopause! [​IMG] [​IMG] I dont think the farmer lied seeing as they laid for 9 months straight. If they were old you would have gotten half that amount of eggs or less and not for 9 months. I have 2 -4 year old hens that have not laid in over a year! But they are retired and can do whatever they want:) Im thinking moulting their second time--how red are their combs and wattles? what color are their legs? I know they are supposed to be yellow but HOW yellow are they?
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by