Any particular breeds that continue to lay well as they get older?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by clarkai, Nov 17, 2010.

  1. clarkai

    clarkai Out Of The Brooder

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    So, everything I read says that hens start laying dramatically fewer eggs once they pass two years old. I'd like to find a breed that continues to lay reasonably well, even when they are older. Any suggestions?

    I also would like the breed to be one that forages well, and perhaps one of the heritage breeds?
     
  2. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

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    Most all breeds will still lay occasionally when they are older. The two year thing is for how long birds will (generally speaking) lay profitably. Those first two years she'll lay enough eggs to pay for her feed and upkeep. After that she moves into the loss column though she will still continue to lay. I've got a Buff Orpington that I believe is now six years old, maybe seven. Every once in a while she lays an egg. It's enormous.
     
  3. clarkai

    clarkai Out Of The Brooder

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    So, does no one have experience with a breed of chicken that continues to lay profitable into the 3rd, or even 4th years of life? I'm aware they keep laying even as they lay, but I'm interested in starting to sell eggs, and if at all possible I'd like to select breeds that continue to lay enough eggs to at least pay for themselves as they get older.
     
  4. cybercat

    cybercat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Your true breeds will but they have to be bred for it. The way most of us do it is that we always have chicks hatched every spring so egg yeilds stay high. We will keep older hens for breeding purposes if they meet the standard for the breed and lay well there first year.
     
  5. clarkai

    clarkai Out Of The Brooder

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    I figured that I would have to breed for it, but I was hoping to find some one's line or some breed that had already been selected for that so I wouldn't be starting from scratch. I'd love to be able to use a heritage breed, but it's been very hard to find references to ongoing laying ability.
     
  6. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

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    Quote:This would be something of the Holy Grail of commercial chicken production. These last hundred and fifty years or so no one has managed it yet.

    If you don't force molt or supply artificial lighting you might be able to keep good birds at a higher rate of production for longer than they would otherwise but I strongly suspect that if you kept good records no matter what you do by the third laying season they won't be laying enough to pay for their feed. It would make things ever so much simpler if it could be done.
     
  7. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

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    What I'd love to know is how you jump start a hen back to laying after a molt.
     
  8. Lotsapaints

    Lotsapaints Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2010
    Paso Robles, CA
    Quote:Animal protein would give you a good start
     
  9. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

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    Quote:Once she has finished molting supplemental lighting will often do the trick.

    Unfortunately I can't do that.
     
  10. Domestic_goddess

    Domestic_goddess Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just started selling my eggs, their egg production varies...you can't control it! I put the sign out when I have eggs, and take it down when I don't. If you want want young birds that will lay and lay alot, I would suggest raising chickes every year. After 3 years sale them or retire them. Good luck!
     

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