Best breeds for laying after 2 years old?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by rabbithaus, Aug 5, 2009.

  1. rabbithaus

    rabbithaus Songster

    Jun 21, 2009
    Triangle, NC
    This is a spin off from Speckledhen saying that her 3+ year old barred rocks were still good layers. I'm assuming that most of the 'expect about x number of eggs from breed y' are referring to the hen's prime first two years. From what I've read, egg production dramatically drops off after this point. Are any breeds better than others for laying at 3+ years?
  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Free Ranging

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    I have no clue, but great question.
  3. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Here's the way I understand it. Every hen has a set number of eggs she will produce in her lifetime. When she lays these eggs is determined by several factors, including how much light she gets. This is the main reason why I chose not to add light in the wintertime. Add light and you'll get more eggs sooner, because the hen will be laying at a time when she would normally take a break (in the winter). Don't add light and you may get less eggs in the wintertime, but the hen is likely to continue laying for a longer period in her life.
  4. fiberart57

    fiberart57 Songster

    May 31, 2009
    Well said. Even though my girls are about 14 weeks old, I'm not in any hurry for them to start producing eggs because of all the information I've read about letting them mature completely so they will be healthier, more productive layers. I have no plans to provide them with additional light in the winter as well, instead I'll allow their bodies this natural "respite".

  5. nop169

    nop169 Songster

    Jul 27, 2009
    iN OUR EXPERIENCE - VERY FEW OF OUR HENS DRAMATICALLY DROP OFF EGG PRODUCTION. Other than some breeds who lay a few & go broody (cochins) - most of our barred rocks, black australorps & speckled sussex seem to lay as usual year after year. We have a 8 year old hen who layed daily up until she died. Alot depends on the breed - as mentioned cochins will lay so long & then set.. a few other fancier breeds do as well. We commonly keep our original flock for 6 to 8 years and only hatch replacements at that time & retire the older hens to the poultry yard rather than the laying house & pen.
  6. alpinefarm

    alpinefarm Songster

    Dec 6, 2008
    Western Colorado
    My hens tend to lay well into their 8th year and taper off after that. I believe active lifestyle and sound diet play a part in longevity for them...I feed a whole grain/supplement free diet and they free range every afternoon-into-evening, have plenty of room and perches in their coop and yard.

    Breeds that have done well for me overall--including living and laying long--are Ameraucanas/LF and bantam, cochin bantams, RIR, New Hampshire Reds. This year, I am trying a few new breeds, including Norweigon Jaerhons, which are supposed to lay well during cold winters.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2009
  7. Akane

    Akane Crowing

    Jun 15, 2008
    Every hen has a set number of eggs she will produce in her lifetime. When she lays these eggs is determined by several factors, including how much light she gets.

    Not entirely true. Hens do have a set number of eggs however that number is so great that no matter what the hen will not lay all of them in her lifetime. Chickens have a very great number of follicles. I can't remember the exact number in the article I was reading but I believe it's well in to the thousands. Egg production drops with age because the number of maturing follicles and therefore egg yolks being produced decreases and not because they run out.

    That doesn't mean laying constantly doesn't have any negative effects. It still requires energy and nutrients to make an egg and it's possible the hen's body might become stressed by constant year round egg production and stop laying as well or they may get sick easier. I haven't seen any problem with keeping mine under lights part of the winter but theoretically it's possible.​
  8. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    Most birds will start laying when their bodies are ready. How long they lay depends somewhat on the breed. I have noticed also that some birds do drop off in the number of eggs they lay and others being fairly consistent even within a single breed. Each bird is different. I do give my birdÂ’s vitamin and electrolyte supplements occasionally, as now since it has been so hot out. Also I have a night light in their coops. I don't see where it makes any difference.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2009
  9. Muscovies! LOL I have one hatched in 2003 and still lays almost every day spring through fall. She only goes broody every other year, though and just hatched out 16 ducklings two weeks ago!
  10. warmwater

    warmwater Songster

    Jun 7, 2009
    Currently we have 7 hens (one is out of commission because she is raising 5 - 5 week old chicks at the moment). My two oldest hens are almost 7 yrs old....1 BR and 1 EE....Three days a week we get 6 eggs so I know they are still laying. They're such good girls.

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