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


11 Years
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*''?

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.


11 Years
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.


In the Brooder
11 Years
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?

Rafter 7 Paint Horses

13 Years
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.


12 Years
Mar 28, 2007
the hens heavy production last for 2 or 3 yrs.depending on if you sell 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 they have to make room for them.


13 Years
Jan 18, 2007
Aboard the the Heart of Gold
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.

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