At what age is a hen considered an older layer?

AmberKnits

Songster
5 Years
Apr 28, 2015
356
272
171
Upstate NY
Ive noticed some egg quality issues from one of my hens lately, a 2 year old TSC barred rock (at least, I think it's the barred rock - I've got a large mixed flock). She doesn't show any signs of illness, so I am wondering if she is considered an "older layer" and if egg quality issues could be expected.
 

Whittni

Crowing
8 Years
Mar 26, 2011
3,689
329
302
Southern Utah
I'd say a 2-year-old is getting there, and could be sold as an older layer. It's easy to check if she's laying though, if she stands like a penguin rather than more horizontal like a squatting hen, then she's not laying. Same if her vent isn't moist.

I personally love older chickens though..
 

AmberKnits

Songster
5 Years
Apr 28, 2015
356
272
171
Upstate NY
I'd say a 2-year-old is getting there, and could be sold as an older layer. It's easy to check if she's laying though, if she stands like a penguin rather than more horizontal like a squatting hen, then she's not laying. Same if her vent isn't moist.

I personally love older chickens though..

She was one of our first chicks, I have no intentions of getting rid of her or adding her to a stewpot. I haven't noticed her standing differently - still horizontal. She lays almost every day. But the shells are wrinkled and the whites are watery. I've seen no other signs of illness in this hen, or any other bird (not a single cough or sneeze) - so I'm trying to figure out a cause for the weird eggs. I thought possibly she related?
 

azygous

Crossing the Road
10 Years
Dec 11, 2009
19,713
24,669
912
Colorado Rockies
The quality of the eggs of older layers over age two can be improved by feeding fermented feed or by adding probiotics to their feed. I have hens six years old that lay regular, good quality eggs on fermented all-flock feed with oyster shell free-choice.
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
Apr 9, 2016
13,054
16,852
772
California's Redwood Coast
Hi. Here is a link to a pretty informational article.

Though I wouldn't get over worried about the disease portion since you aren't seeing any signs.

It's also possible (I think) for weather to effect your egg whites say if it's very hot, the hens can be a little stressed and it may effect the older girls more.

If your girl is barred with a straight comb and you got her from the feed store, she likely is a Rock. Dominique will have a rose comb and barred feathers.

I also ferment... and really enjoy the older hens. Check out the link in my signature and consider it if you have a little extra time and energy.

If we have plenty of eggs for the family (and you know with chicken math we do :oops:), any that are less than stellar get fed back to the girls. :drool
 

AmberKnits

Songster
5 Years
Apr 28, 2015
356
272
171
Upstate NY
I have been cooking up her eggs to feed back to the flock (the yolks have been great for our current batch of chicks).
@EggSighted4Life did I miss the link?
I'm in upstate NY - while we did have a freak snowstorm not too long ago, the weather has been fairly agreeable. She's definitely a barred rock. I've been wavering about fermented feed for a while. My hens are picky about their feed - they throw the layer all over the floor, and a lot goes to waste. They will eat feather fixer with no issues though. My main concern with fermented feed is my ability to maintain the feed. We've got a busy household these days - and it seems like I'd forget about a bucket of fermenting feed and it would go bad (like the 30 gallons of maple sap I never boiled down....)
 

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