chickens past laying age

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by happymorrows, Feb 28, 2009.

  1. happymorrows

    happymorrows Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2009
    Morganton, NC
    So, what do you do with the chickens when they stop being productive? When I was a kid we had chickens, and when they stopped laying we gave them to a family for pets. I have a very small area to raise chickens though, and don't know if I have the space for girls who are purely pets. Is there a solution to this other than chicken noodle soup. I think the girls deserve a better fate than that after years of devoted service. Oh, and how many years do chickens usually lay for? Thanks!
  2. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    Can't help you there. There is appointed a time for all creatures to die. My older layers have an appointment this spring. [​IMG]
  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    One of our members had a 17 yr old hen who still would lay an occasional egg, but that is rather rare. My older girls still lay several eggs each week.
  4. vermontgal

    vermontgal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Based on this document from the Florida Extension service, chickens who keep laying (at all) are likely to keep laying 1-2 eggs a week up to age 10! (Still taking time out to molt, of course)


    While most people say that it is time to retire after age 2-3, I think my chickens are likely to keep me in eggs for a long time. The neighbors won't get as many, but I only eat ~6 eggs a week! Right now I am also doing a lot of egg-based entertaining... friends coming over for brunch and we'll have quiche or omelets!
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2009
  5. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 2, 2008
    South Central KY
    My DH keeps after me to off the non-productive older hens, but I don't really think I have any non-productive hens. I'm sure my 5 and 6 year old hens lay less, but I'm pretty sure they still lay. I'll be finding out for sure soon, I'll be rotating hens through isolation to see who's laying and who's not, and marking them accordingly. Non-producers, if any, will get a second chance at the end of the rotation, in case they were having an off week. Betcha there won't be any hens going to the freezer. We get plenty of roos to eat.

    I have enough room that I don't care if I'm feeding 2 or 3 non-layers anyway. Certain ones have a lifetime pass anyway, because one or the other of us is attached to them.

    I'm seriously giving thought to getting rid of the guineas, though.

    NYREDS Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 14, 2008
    The choices are rsther simple. 1] keep them until they die or 2] they make good soup. There's no universal right answer. You have to decide what works best for you.
  7. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    I have a five year old who still lays an egg a day. And I have one of undetermined age who seems to be done laying, but she is so good at direcing the beginners around that she gets a stay forever pass.
  8. DDRanch

    DDRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 15, 2008
    I keep all mine until they die. Currently my 4 older hens who have not laid eggs since last summer are happily in retirement. They took charge of the babies last Spring protecting them and staying with them while they free range. My older girls are also hawk savy, keep a good lookout and sound the alarm.

    I know that my local feed store will buy back unwanted chickens but I just can't give any of mine up just cuz they are older and not laying. I don't want to use the word unproductive, because they give back so much, they just don't lay eggs anymore.

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