Do production reds "burn out" faster than RIR??

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by opihiman911, Apr 29, 2008.

  1. opihiman911

    opihiman911 Songster

    Mar 19, 2007
    I used to raise only RIR. Several years ago I got a pair of production reds by accident. They layed great for 2 years, then suddenly stopped. I thought they were molting but this went on for months on end with an occasional egg, maybe one or two a week from them. I had enough of them being freeloaders and they were cullled into the crockpot.
    My friend got several production reds and the same thing is happening. They are probally 2 -2 1/2 years old and they have stopped their prolific daily laying and are down to a couple per week.
    I have 4 purebred RIR who are my oldest hens and are over 4 years old and still lay atleast every other day. I know they slow down when they get older, but to completely stop laying? Is this normal for "production" strains?
    What other breed/hybrid chickens have a short laying life? While on the subject which have the best egg laying longevity? I can attest to RIR and BR hens laying well for going on 5 years old and still getting atleast an egg every other day 3-4/week. Any other geriatric hens out there that still earn their keep?

  2. cjeanean

    cjeanean Can't Decide

    Mar 5, 2008
    Hmmmm, although I don't know anything about production breeds that's what it sounds like. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if they're bred to get their best egg laying in during the first 2 yrs, cause that's how commercial businesses run. They want chickens that lay very well for a short time, that way they can refresh their stock without getting rid of good birds. I think with production breeds they're taken out of service at like 72 weeks, something like that. That's right about 2 yrs, if my math serves me correctly. Then again I could be wrong, like I said I don't know anything about them, just what I've heard/read about egg production etc. Good luck!
  3. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    Generally when I hear people use the word "burn out" on production reds or sex links, they are people who have 'rescued' birds from egg batteries. Under those conditions I could see how a bird could get burned out.

    My understanding is that a chicken will lay longest if it doesn't initially come into lay too soon its first time. So, being a hybrid, sex links and productions will want to start laying a full month sooner than your purebreeds. This, possible, could lead to less longevity.

    On the other hand, any hybrid should have better genetics than any purebreed... so I would be surprised if they underperformed.
  4. wynedot55

    wynedot55 Songster

    Mar 28, 2007
    from what you say the pro reds have a production life of about that appears tobe true for you an your friend.most hens get culled at 3yrs old because of low egg production.if you have chickens for dont cull them when their laying days are done.
  5. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    Let me add that hens from egg batteries are culled before 18 months (prior to their first molt). If you ever wondered what went into your chicken & rice dog food, wonder no longer. Even worse, that frozen chicken burrito you had for lunch that one day you were in a really big hurry....
  6. Yes, they do stop laying much sooner than a heritage breed. My friend raises chickens, mainly RIRs now and some leghorns. A few years ago he had production reds and they only laid for about 2 years. He was really upset, his dad has a restaurant and that's where all the eggs go. He ended up culling 25 birds and starting from scratch. The RIRs he replaced them with are still laying really well and it's been over 3 years now.
  7. Tutter

    Tutter Songster

    Apr 12, 2008
    N. California
    Darn, and I have 5 Red Stars coming in my chick order in June. I'm assuming they are the same?

    As for other breeds, my usual heavy breeds lay a long time well. Buff orpingtons, barred rocks, and black Australorps.

    I was surprised by my Ameraucana's this year. They have never laid well in the cold, and I just assumed they would slow down this year when they began laying regularly again, since they are 5 years old.

    But, now that it's warmed up again, they are each laying an egg a day. Pretty ones. [​IMG] When we had an unexpected storm come through a week ago, and had hard frost for several days, I had about 1/3 drop off in production, but as soon as it warmed again, they all went back to an egg a day. [​IMG]
  8. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Songster

    Jan 25, 2008
    How about the Black sex links? Is this normal though all production sexlinks?

  9. ella

    ella Songster

    I started out with 5 Golden Comets.

    I lost two to reproductive problems (egg yolk peritonitis) one to a respiratory infection and one to persistent crop infections.

    They all laid quite well throughout their lives. The remaining GC my sweet Ella is five years old, perfectly healthy and still gives me about 3-4 eggs a week.

    That has been my experience, it's hardly scientific but may have some helpful info in there. [​IMG]
  10. kstaven

    kstaven Crowing

    Jan 26, 2007
    BC, Washington Border
    Almost ALL "production raised" and "sexlinked layer" birds will lay better than a heritage breed for the first few years and then taper down quickly in comparison to a heritage breed. It is very rare to see a production or sexlink go much past 4-5 years without dropping below 50- 60 eggs a year while the heritage breed is still going strong at this age.

    There is that bird that is an exception to this rule but they are rare.

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