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Buying two-year-old layers

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by henryclay1991, Dec 19, 2008.

  1. henryclay1991

    henryclay1991 Hatching

    Dec 19, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    We're new to the backyard chicken adventure and currently have five chicks ranging from 5-6 weeks old. We are thinking about adding a few hens who are already laying and my wife has found three from an urban farm (we're in central Phoenix). One is an 8-month-old (Polish) and the other two are around 2-years old.

    In reading Storey's Guide, it seems that many people cull their layers after about two years of laying. Would we be buying hens just as they're dramatically slowing down their egg production, or would we still have a chance at getting several more years of good egg production? One of them is an Araucana and the other is a mix of Black Leghorn and something like a Jersey.

    We're still in negotiations about the whole "culling" thing at our home. Since eight hens is our practicable limit, I want to make sure most of them are decent layers and won't be facing butchering anytime soon (our focus is not the meat, but the eggs).

    Thanks - this forum has already been very helpful in helping us with our chicks!

  2. cubalaya

    cubalaya Crowing

    Nov 19, 2008
    central virginia
    i had some dominiques that were still laying good at four years
  3. Teach97

    Teach97 Bantam Addict

    Nov 12, 2008
    Hooker, OK
    the birds you list are not super egg producers so should give you several more years of egg production...they won't be everyday layers but decent...
  4. Jerseys are not good layers, just fyi.
  5. halo

    halo Got The Blues

    Nov 22, 2007
    My Coop
    In buying older hens from other people, its very hard to determine how old they actually are. What they are saying are 2 year old hens may actually be 3 or 4 year old hens. Its better, if you can find them to buy young pullets that arent laying yet, or one just starting. Even older chicks might be a better option.
  6. Jenski

    Jenski Songster

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    Your larger issue may be whether older hens end up picking on the chicks (if you place them together). Mixed-age flocks can also have illness issues, like coccidiosis, etc.

    I personally don't see any reason for a small-flock backyard chicken keeper to cull for lack of egg production, but I imagine some folks might like the dual purpose egg/meat thing. What I am sensing from this forum is that these chickens overall are getting far better care than large production farms, and you will probably find many backyard chicken keepers with hens in decent production for several years. My oldest hen is in her third year (at least), and we're still getting around 4 eggs a week from her. She is a fantastic girl, and our flock leader; I can't imagine ever culling her, eggs or no eggs. (However, I did not get her with the intention of cooking her up, and that makes a big difference, too.)

    One thing you might want to think about is just enjoying your chicks this year and watching them grow, and then adding some "new blood" in a year or so. By then you will know so much more, and you'll have lots more ideas about breeds, etc. What you may find is that the breeds you enjoy become much more important than quantities of eggs ~ which differs greatly, even within breeds.
  7. Laskaland

    Laskaland ThE gRoOvY cHiCkEn

    Aug 2, 2008
    I would pass.. unless they GIVE them to you, they will probably end up eating more food than you get in return of eggs and meat.
    The Polish would be a nice lawn ornament, though [​IMG]
    Seriously, just wait it out for your babies to grow, it will be better for you inthe long run
    Other thing you can do, is post on craigslist to see if anyone has some young hens.
    Good Luck!!

  8. henryclay1991

    henryclay1991 Hatching

    Dec 19, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    Thanks, everyone, for the advice.

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