Chicken Age?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Summerford, Sep 29, 2015.

  1. Summerford

    Summerford Chillin' With My Peeps

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    At what age do you start weeding out the old chickens and adding new. I have some that we have had for 3 years and they were at least 1 when we got them. They have slowed laying big time. I'm getting only a few eggs a month from each.
     
  2. Chicken Girl1

    Chicken Girl1 Always Thankful Premium Member

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    Well it depends, I keep my hens until they die my oldest is 5 and she lays about 4 eggs a week but if you want them only for productive laying you will need to get new ones.
     
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  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Northwest Arkansas
    Right now, have they slowed down because they are molting? After three years though you should know all about that.

    Hens tend to lay a lot less as they get older. Each is an individual and may not follow the norms, but after their second adult molt and every molt after that a huge flock will drop in production about 15% to 20%. You have to have enough for the averages to mean much but that is certainly the general trend. So after four years production should have dropped significantly.

    Some people keep them as pets and keep them until they die. Some keep track of each hen and replace her when her individual production drops. I have a rotation set up that I try to follow but sometimes life gets in the way. I bring in new pullets every year and retire the older hens after their second full season of laying.

    Say your basic flock is 8 hens. I’ll bring in four new pullets every year. The hens that were last year’s pullets get to go through a molt and another season of laying. Most of my pullets skip the molt their first fall and lay throughout the winter. The four hens that have already been through a full molt will be removed from the flock after they finish laying and go into molt. Mine get to see their second birthday but not their third.
     
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