Egg Layers - How long do you keep them??


In the Brooder
9 Years
Jan 25, 2010
I'm wondering how long most people keep their hens. (egg layers)
Leghorns - 2 1/2 yrs old
Red Stars - 2 yrs old

It seems like my leghorns are still out laying the red stars even though they are older. And, their looks are fading more too:(
I only get an egg every few days from the leghorns. The red stars give me one or two eggs a week. I really care about them, but I feel like I'm going through alot of feed on them. Just curious what other people think....Should I wait until the weather really warms up and see how they lay?
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Love My Chickens
10 Years
Jul 28, 2009
Floyds Knobs, Indiana
My Coop
My Coop
Well mine are pets and will be with me till they die, even if no eggs. But their ages sound about right for decrease in egg production. I figure folks who do the "out with the old, in with the new" to keep egg production up base it more on how many eggs they're getting (or not) moreso than age.


Chick Magnet
11 Years
Mar 3, 2008
Generally after their first molt (~ 18 mo) they start slowing down. I rotate mine no later than 2 years, but usually after the first molt.

urban dreamer

10 Years
Sep 28, 2009
Sherwood, AR
I have two BRs that are 2 1/2 years old. They are my pets and I don't have the heart to eat'em. My solution was to get more chickens! I now have a 1-1 1/2 year old EE and a 24 -25 week old EE. That way I'm still getting a good egg supply and I get to keep my old girls too! My city limit is four so I will have to wait until I move out into the country to get more than that.

Cindy in PA

14 Years
Jul 8, 2008
Fleetwood, PA
I usually sell mine during the spring they turn 2, when the new chicks are ready to go in the coop. They have several months of their second year of laying to go. I know they lay much longer, but I don't eat them and not many people will buy them if they are over 2 years old. Out of my first group many years ago, I kept 3 when I got rid of them, because they were my kids pets, but now I get rid of them all. Last time I sold them to a real nice guy that has a menagerie of fowl at his Mom's farm and he keeps them forever. He was really excited to get my EEs. He has a sort of old age home for birds, so I was lucky.


The Happy Hen
11 Years
May 16, 2008
Nesconset, LI, NY
I do the same thing, but now I have TOO MANY chickens! But I get attached to them and they do lay fairly well even when they are older. So not do I only have too many chickens, I have too many eggs!
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10 Years
Sep 6, 2009
Ridgefield, WA
When I decided to get chickens it was two fold. Their main job was forage and eat bugs and eggs were secondary. Confinement is not reallly an issue for me as I am on acerage and they are out all day covering an acre or so in their travels. I have read that "true breed" hens lay much longer than the hybrids that are egg producers and sort of burn out in 2 years. I have all heritage breeds so we will see. My first two hens were from a guy "in town" and I am sure they were up for sale due to age or egg producing. These two dominiques are my favorite two hens as they are talkers and their antics are fun to watch. They both lay eggs about twice a week. It has never been my plan to slaughter any, that's just such a nasty job and the store can still do them cheaper than I could.


10 Years
Jun 18, 2009
Deep in the heart of Texas
I'm with everyone else, mine will stay with me for life. They will give me eggs as long as possible, but they will always eat bugs. Central TX becomes infested with June bugs (Japanese beetles) in April and grasshoppers in the summer, so I rely on the chickens to control them.

I love my chickens and couldn't imagine killing or eating one.

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