Breeds for Longer Life and Reliable Laying?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by PatriotM, Feb 22, 2014.

  1. PatriotM

    PatriotM New Egg

    May 14, 2011
    I've had chickens for 3 years. I bought 6 day-old chicks three years ago from TSC. These 6 chicks consisted of 2 Black Sex Links, 2 Golden Sex Links, and 2 Rhode Island Reds. Three years later, I have 1 Black Sex Link, 1 Golden Sex Link, and 1 Rhode Island Red. The first one died at 1 year; another at 2 years, and another at 2 1/2 years. I believe that the first one might have fallen off the roost in a freak accident, but I believe that the other 2 died of being egg bound. I have a friend that also bought chickens 3 years ago and she had an even higher percentage of chickens die than I did.

    My question is whether there are any breeds that would be reliable layers and have better longevity?
  2. ocap

    ocap Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 1, 2013
    Smithville, Missouri
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Feed store and hatchery grade birds vary greatly, so I won't try to over state the situation. However, if you want longer life and can accept less eggs per year, but the same or greater number of eggs over a lifetime, then you want to get birds that bred to the Standard from a breeder of quality birds.

    Almost all the common "breeds" sold by hatcheries through feed stores are not birds designed for long careers. The birds are pretty far off the Standard written for the birds and many of the birds have been hybridized by mixing in Leghorn blood, for example, to make them better layers. This all creates birds that make the hatcheries more money, as more eggs means more chicks to sell. The birds have been selected to mature early and lay heavy, heavier than what would normally expect for the breed. This is all done to increase profitability for the hatcheries, but in many cases the result is that the birds can experience much quicker burn out.

    Hatcheries must be profitable in order to survive. They provide a great service to people. They are sort of the McDonalds of the chick world. They provide available, shipped, healthy, and inexpensive chicks.
  4. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 28, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    Thank you.

    I have been saying this every since I read about it in the Practical Poultry magazine and from what I've read the English know their chickens.

    Just two things I would add.

    1. These hybrids you speak of are more susceptible to health problems than a good line of heritage or well bred birds.

    2. One has to be careful who they buy from even if they are so called breeders or at least understand there are no guarantees even then. Show bird breeders can be just as bad.

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