Hen ages

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by LaChicken84, Feb 2, 2017.

  1. LaChicken84

    LaChicken84 Out Of The Brooder

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    At what age do hens usually stop laying. And after they stop what do most of u guys do with them? Thanks
     
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    It really depends on the breed and how the bird is kept -- many hens can lay into their 5th or 6 year and beyond -- the quantity and quality of production will drop with each laying cycle after the 2nd or 3rd.
    There are several options - for those that are able to provide space and resources for non-productive birds it is an option to keep them around until they die a natural death, often years after they stop contributing eggs. Another option is to process and consume the bird. If those are not something you are comfortable with you can sell the bird off or give it away.
    My own approach depends on the bird. There have been some special birds in my flocks of the past that have earned their 'retirement' , there have been birds we have processed and consumed but, for the majority, I have opted to sell them after the 2nd or 3rd laying cycle.
     
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  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    X2 on the above post.

    Each breed is different as is each individual bird. Health, diet, spaces they are kept in, stress levels, etc...all play a big part in how often a bird lays and how long.

    I keep Black Australorps and Barred Rocks. Seems like they all have layed well into their 4th year, a few to several eggs a week, slowing greatly by their 5th year to one egg a week. One of my 6 year old Australorps still lays a couple times a month.

    Hens are born with a certain amount of yolks to be laid over their lifetime. When they are out of yolks, that is it for the laying. If a hen spends every summer being broody, she will have more eggs to lay later in life. If she is a power layer, laying every day when she is young, she will run out of yolks faster.

    However any very young bird of 2 years or less that has stopped laying should be a suspect for internal laying. Not always, but many times this is the case.

    I keep all my birds and allow them to live out their lives well after they are done laying as I keep them for my great interest in chickens, not strictly for layers.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2017
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