egglaying ... what should I expect from the hens?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by acw123, Nov 27, 2011.

  1. acw123

    acw123 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 31, 2011
    Charlottesville
    Just wondering, as I am new to chickens, what I should expect for the the length of time my hens will lay. I know they start anywhere from -5-8 months of age depending on breed, eggs start small and grow, etc. How many years are they productive layers? My Australorps and Orpingtons are laying every day or every other day at this point. At what point does the egg size stabilize or does it just get a little larger until they just stop. Do they just stop. What is the normal life expectancy of a hen? Just curious...I have Australorps, Orpingtons, Barred Rocks, EE's, and Barnevelders currently and have BLRW, GLW's in the incubator.
     
  2. ChicKat

    ChicKat Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Although I heard of a hen living to be 25 years old, and know for certain of a man who had a 12-year old hen, the average lifespan of a hen is far less. A web search returned ranges of average age...such as 5-8 years. The productive years maybe fewer.

    I think that most hens slow down considerably laying at around 3-years. Different breeds, different environments etc. different results. (not talking commercial egg raising where the turn-over is about 18-24 months). Hens are also individual within their breeds. Some breeds lay fewer eggs over a longer period of time, some breeds lay more eggs over a shorter period of time. For example an every-day layer may lay 2 years and an every-other-day layer may lay 3 1/2 to 4-years. I think that the end of laying can be either just stop, especially if part of their reproductive tract has gone wrong, or more commonly they will taper off for a short period of time.

    Some of the breeds that you listed sound like the long time standards, like the Barred Rocks, that should have long productive (in chicken years) lives. But each situation is individual and each bird is individual.

    The lawyer answer, I guess: "It all depends..."
     
  3. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Overrun With Chickens

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    Jul 8, 2008
    Fleetwood, PA
    Chickens will lay for several years, I had a BR that laid a few eggs a week until she died at 8. The catch is they will not lay enough to cover the cost of feed. It's up to you if they are worth the cost.
     
  4. stormylady

    stormylady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 27, 2008
    Illinois
    I think that the length of time they lay also depends partly on how they are raised like with extra light, the feed their given.... That type of thing, I also believe that I read that chickens are just like humans in that they only have a certain amount of eggs when they are hatched, when there out of them thats all there will ever be. So it makes sense that an everyday layer would lay much shorter of a time span then one that laid say 3 or 4 eggs a week. But Im going to go and re-read that. Hope i didn't lie to ya! LOL Sandy
     
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Apparently though, that "certain amount of eggs a pullet is born with" numbers in the 10's of thousands. They will never seemingly lay them all. What they are born with in potential and what they produce in actuality are two different things. It is simply unknown as to whether a hen, who, let's just say, will lay 1100 eggs in her lifetime, does "better" if she lays those 1100 eggs over 7 years or over only 4 years. The research seems to be sorely lacking on this question. The reason the research isn't being done is that the question would seem to hold little interest to the commercial industry. They would rarely keep a hen long enough for those issue to matter.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2011
  6. stormylady

    stormylady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 27, 2008
    Illinois
    Fred's Hens :

    Apparently though, that "certain amount of eggs a pullet is born with" numbers in the 10's of thousands. They will never seemingly lay them all. What they are born with in potential and what they produce in actuality are two different things. It is simply unknown as to whether a hen, who, let's just say, will lay 1100 eggs in her lifetime, does "better" if she lays those 1100 eggs over 7 years or over only 4 years. The research seems to be sorely lacking on this question. The reason the research isn't being done is that the question would seem to hold little interest to the commercial industry. They would rarely keep a hen long enough for those issue to matter.

    Absolutely your right, of course there is no way that they will use all the potential eggs, I guess my point was that an everyday layer would of get worn out much sooner than one that lays less often.​
     
  7. acw123

    acw123 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 31, 2011
    Charlottesville
    Thanks for all the info and opinions. Wasn't sure if there was a "prime" egg laying time of life for the hens after which the laying would slow coniderably. I often see people looking to get rid of their laying hens after 2 years and wondering if it was becuase that is when they usually produce much less or if it had nothing to do with it at all.
     
  8. stormylady

    stormylady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 27, 2008
    Illinois
    Quote:I know that my daughter in law's grandparents owned a poultry/Egg farm and they would regularly switch out the hens at a certain age, They only raised leghorn and when the set amount of time was up for them they were sent to the soup companys. But they had thousands of chickens, and it was a loss for them to keep the hens when there prime laying time was over. But like with me I only have a main flock of standard layers and only one leghorn and some leghorn mixes of 38 then I have my small flock of silkie and silkie mixes. Its sad to say but because there are so few of them I get emotionally vested in them so ....... there here for life. My friend here , only has a dozen chickens or so and she still switches them out every two years or so, it all just depends and the person and what the purpose of raising the hens is, Me, I started out thinking hens for eggs then Meat. Turns out for me its about Eggs/ Companionship/ and entertainment. [​IMG]
     

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