Can you stretch out a hen's laying years?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Sunnysidedown, Sep 3, 2014.

  1. Sunnysidedown

    Sunnysidedown Out Of The Brooder

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    Here's a dumb question(s) for you experts :)

    I've read that a hen lays about 1,000 eggs over it's laying lifetime and that the average laying lifetime of a hen is 4-5 years. Are these correct assumptions?

    Whether it is or not, my 2nd question is -
    Can I stretch out the laying life time of our hens by not installing a light in their coop during the winter? We love eggs but with 5 hens we will surely be getting way too many for the 2 of us and will give them away to folks year round. But if they slow down or stop laying in the winter months does that extend their laying for a couple of more years (assuming a hen lays 1,000 eggs)? Our 5 hens are 2 Buffs, 1 Leghorn, 1 Black Sex Link, and 1 Wydannette (sp). Will be glad to supple more info if needed.
    Thanks for your thoughts and advice!
     
  2. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member Project Manager

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    They have only a certain number of eggs to lay. We have 6 hens, only 2 of us, so we get more than we need, give a lot away, cook lots to feed back to the girls. I don't think you can do anything to overcome mother nature, but folks who add lights,etc to make lay more will shorten their laying years. I think, let nature run it's course, don't add extra light to coop at night, and let them do what they do. Have read that as they age, they less often but can lay eggs longer than we might expect.
     
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    I'm not sure that there's any research to back up the idea that winter lighting shortens the lifespan. I do know that nearly nobody selects for longevity in chicken breeding, and especially hatchery birds aren't selected for that trait. Hybrids in particular are bred to produce many eggs for a year or maybe two, and then be culled. Breeders who produce from two year old OR OLDER parents will produce more chicks who can live longer. I've had three hens now who made it to ten years of age, and pullets who died of peritonitis at less than one year of age! Extreme examples, but there it is. Mary
     
  4. BethanyS

    BethanyS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    as far as I understand females are born with all the egg cells they will ever have.so yes you do make a difference when you leave on light or feed excessive amounts of super layer feed.Originally chickens were jungle birds layed less often and didn't consume as much as we feed. Humans have developed breeds and high nutrition feeds resulting in daily eggs.maybe instead of a full feeder you can feed them a certain amount a few times a day and find a good feed amount to get an egg every other day per bird.just a thought
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014
  5. BethanyS

    BethanyS Chillin' With My Peeps

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  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    I would think that a bird who's genetically programmed to lay an egg daily will not do well being underfed. She needs what she needs; less will not improve her life. The birds I've posted who got sick had problems like egg peritonitis, liver abcesses, and cancer of the liver. Nothing that limiting food would have helped. Selecting for high production has costs for the individual, in chickens, cattle, or whatever. Mary
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. BethanyS

    BethanyS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    this has me reading.they are hatched with THOUSANDS of ova cells.in hindsight heritage breeds and game birds may lay less eggs daily over a longer peperiod.now I'll be googling breeds and laying longevity for days lol Kinda sad breeders are "retired"so early.Guess it would be costly to wait and see what birds stay productive. I may add a new rooster to our flock next year.. hmmmm
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014
  8. BethanyS

    BethanyS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    obesity may be linked to liver and other cancers. I don't know how you could tell if a chicken is obese lol but seriously fat builds up around organs and stains the body.If I sat in front of a never-ending food fountain I would DEFIANTLY over eat.I'm not suggesting starvation just moderation and exersice: )
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014
  9. evemfoster

    evemfoster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I read on a thread only this morning that Buff Orpingtons hold the longest laying record at 19 years. I would imagine at that age its only a few eggs a year.

    I looked for the thread but couldn't find it again.
     
  10. evemfoster

    evemfoster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You can tell when a chicken is fat by feeling their behind. If they are fat there is a thick layer of fat under the skin around the vent. Generally fat chickens don't lay eggs. The fat takes up the room the hen needs to produce the eggs.
     

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