Egg-laying chickens' ''expiration date''?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by tugsail, Apr 10, 2008.

  1. tugsail

    tugsail New Egg

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    Apr 10, 2008
    I recently registered the "BackYardChickens Forum" and I have three questions...

    1) Is it true that Egg-Laying Chickens have an ''expiration date*''? [​IMG]

    2) If so, how long is it?

    3)And if there REALLY is an "expiration date", what is typically done with the "expired" :jumpychicken?

    *By expiration date, I mean a time that an egg-laying chicken is no longer able to lay eggs.
     
  2. ibpboo

    ibpboo Where Chickens Ride Horses

    Jul 9, 2007
    always changing
    My hens are 6 years old and still laying. [​IMG]
     
  3. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    They don't really expire, just slow down.
     
  4. airmom1c05

    airmom1c05 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 3, 2008
    Raymond, Mississippi
    Many breeds lay prolifically for about 2 years. They will still lay after that, but not as many eggs per week. Some breeds do better, longer. I'm not sure which ones, however.
     
  5. Oreo

    Oreo Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 10, 2008
    South Carolina
    Good topic-- I'm new to the forum and I would like to expand on this. I haven't gotten my hens yet, and haven't raised any yet, but hope to get some soon. OK- my Storey's Guide to Raising Poultry seems to indicate that many people use their pullets/hens for laying for their first year and then butcher them because, in their opinion, those chickens won't be profitable layers after the first year. Some people, however, are either brave, desperate, or sentimental, and allow the hens to molt and lay for one more year, after which, it is curtains. Supposedly during that second year, the hens are living on borrowed time and produce fewer eggs, bigger eggs, and eggs of lower quality. So-- for those of you who've been doing this a while, is such talk the talk of large-scale producers only, or do the rules change drastically when you are free-ranging and home-growing? Is it worthwhile to keep the older hens, and for how long? How is the quality and quantity of eggs from the older hens, and are they worth their trouble? I'm not really asking this with pre-determined convictions or conclusions-- that's why I'm asking, and I'd really like to know from those of you who've been at it a long time. Also-- who has the longest living, egg-producing hen?
     
  6. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

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    Woodville, MS
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2008
  7. luvmychicknkids

    luvmychicknkids Canning Squirrel

    Mar 6, 2008
    Floresville, Texas
    I don't know, but there is a thread on here about "Grandma"...a 9 y/o (I believe) White Leghorn who is going strong and still laying.
     
  8. Rafter 7 Paint Horses

    Rafter 7 Paint Horses Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 13, 2007
    East Texas
    It all depends on what breeds you have and what you expect from your hens.

    Most breeds will be laying at 6 months old. After they are laying for about 1 year, they will molt. The time frame on when they will start laying again after a molt is different for each hen. Some will only slow down, and others will stop for 4 months.

    I don't know about anyone else's hens, but the ones I have kept for 4 years or more are still laying either every day or every other day.

    I try to replace my laying hens every 18 months, because I need a steady supply of eggs to sell. Except for my favorites, of course!

    I keep my breeders until I decide to change breeds, so I have had some of them for over 5 years. Some of them, I use lights with and some I don't.

    Hope this helps.
    Jean
     
  9. wynedot55

    wynedot55 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2007
    the hens heavy production last for 2 or 3 yrs.depending on if you sell eggs.an need steady production.ive got 2 hens that are 5 or 6 an they still lay some eggs.mostly 3yrs an then in the stew pot they go.mainly because people love to raise new chicks every year.an they have to make room for them.
     
  10. ella

    ella Chillin' With My Peeps

    Another reason commercial facilities replace their flocks is because the constant egg production and the conditions they're kept in takes such a heavy toll on their health. They "burn out" after a very short while.

    In a more natural situation where the hens are allowed to slow down or take a break during the winter their health is much better and they are able to lay more eggs over a much longer period.

    My girls have always been able to pay for their feed and everything else they need. Most of them are five years old and I'm still getting 10 eggs a day from 14 hens. [​IMG]
     

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