Broody vs Layer health

JacinLarkwell

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Mar 19, 2020
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South-Eastern Montana
So I started thinking today (such a dangerous thing, I really must stop).

I've seen people claiming about how brooding actually makes chickens live longer because they take a break from laying. But yet when brooding, they're not eating or drinking often, they don't exercise often, some don't take dust baths and most will lose a good amount of weight.

I doubt anyone on here has done a specific study between the two, but I am curious on people's thoughts about which life would be longer (a consistent layer [let's say 5 or more eggs a week] or a persistent broody (like a silkie).
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
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Feb 2, 2009
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So I started thinking today (such a dangerous thing, I really must stop).
No need to stop, just consider the source and don't take yourself too seriously. :oops:

I've seen people claiming about how brooding actually makes chickens live longer because they take a break from laying. But yet when brooding, they're not eating or drinking often, they don't exercise often, some don't take dust baths and most will lose a good amount of weight.
But don't necessarily take others too seriously either and that's not a joke.

I doubt anyone on here has done a specific study between the two, but I am curious on people's thoughts about which life would be longer (a consistent layer [let's say 5 or more eggs a week] or a persistent broody (like a silkie).
I don't have anything specific to back up what I'm going to say, just my thoughts, but do you have any links where they were saying that so I could read it in context.

My thoughts on longevity of life (not laying eggs) has little to do with how many eggs they lay. How much they eat has a lot to do with how many eggs they lay and what size those eggs are. If you feed them really well, meaning mainly a high protein diet, the eggs will be larger than if they did not eat a high protein diet so that makes them more prone to prolapse, being egg bund, or internal laying. If you overfeed them they can get fat, fatty liver syndrome is real. Overfeeding can affect health in a chicken, cat, or human.
If you feed them appropriately so egg laying isn't a danger, I don't think egg laying will shorten their life.

Before a hen starts laying she builds up a lot of excess fat. I've butchered enough pullet, hens, roosters, and cockerels to see that difference. That fat is put there for a hen to live off of when she goes broody. That way she doesn't have to be off the nest a lot looking for food or water. So yes, a hen loses a lot of weight when she is broody, but it is fat put there for that reason. It doesn't hurt her to lose that fat. I don't think losing that fat and regaining it so she can start laying again is going to shorten her life.

Production type hens are not usually bred for longevity of life. Heredity can play a part in how long a hen lives. But a lot of our hens do not die from old age. Predators get them or they develop some type of disease. I don't see them being broody and not laying for a while as a way to extend their life. I don't see them laying a lot of eggs as a way to shorten their life. If there is any effect at all it will be negligible, you aren't going to notice it. Something else will get them.
 

JacinLarkwell

Enabler
Mar 19, 2020
21,139
64,044
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South-Eastern Montana
No need to stop, just consider the source and don't take yourself too seriously. :oops:


But don't necessarily take others too seriously either and that's not a joke.


I don't have anything specific to back up what I'm going to say, just my thoughts, but do you have any links where they were saying that so I could read it in context.

My thoughts on longevity of life (not laying eggs) has little to do with how many eggs they lay. How much they eat has a lot to do with how many eggs they lay and what size those eggs are. If you feed them really well, meaning mainly a high protein diet, the eggs will be larger than if they did not eat a high protein diet so that makes them more prone to prolapse, being egg bund, or internal laying. If you overfeed them they can get fat, fatty liver syndrome is real. Overfeeding can affect health in a chicken, cat, or human.
If you feed them appropriately so egg laying isn't a danger, I don't think egg laying will shorten their life.

Before a hen starts laying she builds up a lot of excess fat. I've butchered enough pullet, hens, roosters, and cockerels to see that difference. That fat is put there for a hen to live off of when she goes broody. That way she doesn't have to be off the nest a lot looking for food or water. So yes, a hen loses a lot of weight when she is broody, but it is fat put there for that reason. It doesn't hurt her to lose that fat. I don't think losing that fat and regaining it so she can start laying again is going to shorten her life.

Production type hens are not usually bred for longevity of life. Heredity can play a part in how long a hen lives. But a lot of our hens do not die from old age. Predators get them or they develop some type of disease. I don't see them being broody and not laying for a while as a way to extend their life. I don't see them laying a lot of eggs as a way to shorten their life. If there is any effect at all it will be negligible, you aren't going to notice it. Something else will get them.
Yeah, I'll see if I can find the threads I saw people saying broodies were healthier
 

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