Good Layers

mapa

In the Brooder
11 Years
Oct 5, 2008
12
0
22
Mc Gill, Nevada
I am looking for breeds of chickens that are the best layers. I have Red Stars - and I'm finding that they only lay MAX 1-2 years. They are dependable, laying daily - but I would like to replace the gals who stopped laying with hens that will lay more than 1-2 years. Any suggestions?
 

dirtsaver

Songster
9 Years
Mar 20, 2010
566
14
166
Northern Kentucky
mapa it really depends on if you are looking for large numbers of eggs or consistant production. It looks like most of the standard breeds will lay 4-5 years although the numbers may drop off a bit after the third year. For larger numbers of large brown eggs you can' go wrong with the Black Australorps. They lay good through the winter and are friendly and easy to handle too. Other folks will have some favorites that will fit your goals also.

Larry
 

myfivegirls

Songster
11 Years
Jan 12, 2009
804
188
236
Delhi, NY
I guess it depends on the size of the egg you want and how productive of a layer they are. I have Red Star pullets now, and my original chickens were Red Stars. I know two other people who raise them, too, and they get great results. I haven't and the two other people haven't kept them longer than 2 1/2 years (until they molt), as you said.
But, all chickens molt around 2+ years old and stop laying during that time. All chickens will continue to lay eggs after they have regrown their new feathers, but they're not as productive as before.
So, I guess if you're looking for a chicken that lays daily, without stopping for several months to molt, and that will continue to lay daily for over 2 1/2 years, I don't think you'll find one. All chickens have that resting period of not laying any eggs during their "first" big molt, and I even gave up after 2 months of waiting for one hen to start laying again.
As far as one that continues to lay pretty well after molting, someone else will have to answer that.
 

briteday

Crowing
12 Years
Dec 16, 2008
1,223
134
266
Northern Nevada USA
I've had hatchery stock delawares, RIR, RIW, speckled sussex, EE's. I have always ended up replacing my flock after the first molt because they layed poorly during their second winter. And our winters are nothing to get excited about. We do get snow and below 0 temps at night, but most of our days are sunny and I provide extra light in the coop to lengthen the days.

So this year I am trying ISA browns from Townline Hatchery. They say that sex links are pretty much done after 18 months, but then that's all I was getting out of hatchery stock breeds anyway.

I'm also trying an increased protein diet to see if that helps during the winter. Most of the feed stores here carry Layena only. I fond one with a local brand and they make a gamebird feed that is 21% protein. I've only been feeding it for a few days so I think it's too soon to tell. But we have gone up from 10 eggs per day to 14 eggs per day...hmmmmmm.
 

Cowgirl71

Songster
9 Years
Feb 5, 2010
3,176
81
221
Missouri Ozarks
I've heard Barred Plymouth Rocks from Ideal and Cackle are very good long term layers.
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Haven't had any myself, just what I've read on BYC. I'm planning to get some next spring!
 

hensonly

Songster
11 Years
May 15, 2008
438
4
131
upstate NY
I've read many times on this forum that hatchery birds of any breed (including "dual purpose" breeds) tend more toward egg laying than meat, so I'm guessing that all of them will show a drastic drop in production after that first big molt. My sex links layed well until their second winter. That following spring, egg numbers dropped by 50 %. So this fall, I bought a batch of chicks from Sand Hill Preservation Center, who is working on re creating the true heritage breeds. I got a dual purpose breed, as I want meat too, but from what I read, my hope and expectation is to have a moderate number of eggs for four or five years before a really big drop in production.

If what I read is accurate, you may want to look into buying from a breeder rather than a large commercial hatchery. Good luck!
 

Yardbirds286

Songster
11 Years
Jan 7, 2009
293
1
131
Western Mass
I am gonna have to say the Barred Rocks are a good laying breed. Mine just started, and they are egg machines! They seem to be hardy, and very friendly.
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