How long do hens live? Normal lifespan / cycle?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Gypsi, Oct 16, 2011.

  1. Gypsi

    Gypsi Chillin' With My Peeps

    I got 10 chicks in March 2010. I am down to 5 hens, lost 4 to predation, 1 to heat this summer.

    I'm guessing it's normal for laying to go down a bit as they age and chicken feed gets boring? If I increase protein treats I get more eggs.
    They have been moulting, just a few feathers here and there.


    I need to plan when to add a few chicks. 3 eggs a day is what I eat.

    [​IMG]
    Gypsi
     
  2. farmdude

    farmdude Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine live at least 5 years but have never had a chicken live past 10. The older they get, the harder winters are on them. I have never had a hen stop laying, but they do slow down with age.
     
  3. Gypsi

    Gypsi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Would lifespan be different in North Texas - 70 days over 100 degrees, with a week in winter when the temp didn't go above freezing? We get both extremes here. The heat sure hurt them, and one died. My friend further out lost all of her americaunas to heat. I only have one barred rock left, the other died of heat. The production reds seem to tolerate it better. Last night all the reds were sleeping on the roost in the run, but the barred rock moved to the roost in the coop. She isn't picked on too much, but is never allowed on the top bar either.

    Gypsi
     
  4. NorthestGeorgia14

    NorthestGeorgia14 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    5 to 10 years . We had one that was 16 years old it die finally but he live along time
     
  5. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Life span of a chicken is supposed to be around 17 though we'll see, we haven't had chickens that long. We had a roo once who was ten and still going strong when he was killed by a weasel. I don't think the hens live as long, they are more prone to illness, and other gender related problems, as well as being more appetizing for predators. We have a few hens now who are around 6 Y.O. but the majority of the hens probably have lived to 4 or 5. We have hard winters here as a general rule and our flock free ranges.
     
  6. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    If they lay better for you when you give them just a bit more protein, then that's what I'd do. Actually, that is what I do and it makes a difference, especially with my older layers. You could also switch to a feed with a bit more protein, like a gamebird or flockraiser feed. Some areas even carry a layer feed with a little higher percentage of protein. Otherwise, you can keep doing what you're doing and just give them a bit more protein on the side. If you feed any non-layer feed, you should provide oyster shell for calcium.

    You might want to look at some of the older threads on how to help your chickens deal with hot weather, if you haven't already. I know the heat can be brutal on them, even when you're doing everything you can. It got up to 113-114 degrees the first summer I lived in a small town not too far from Dallas.

    Things like more shade, fans, shallow water to wade in and ice in their water can help cool them down. Feeding treats like frozen melon can help, too. I even started adding ice to my chickens' water during a heat wave this summer, for the first time in a long time, since they were showing signs of stress from the heat. You can't have too much ventilation in the coop when it's hot and it helps the coop cool off faster at night. This gives them a longer period of time at night with less heat stress.

    When the time comes that you want to get more chickens, I'd look at some of the breeds that are know for being particularly heat tolerant, too. Henderson's breed chart is good.

    http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html

    Your 5 chickens should be able to provide you 3 eggs a day for quite awhile, when they're laying well. When the weather is hot, though, it does stop some chickens from laying. So can a fall molt. Some chickens lay okay in the winter without supplemental lighting and you're far enough south that you have a longer day length. Winter laying might not be an issue for your flock at all. You might not have enough eggs during certain times of the year when it's very hot or they're molting.

    Promptly refrigerated clean eggs, with the bloom on, lasted up to 6 months, when Mother Earth News did a trial of different preservation methods for eggs. You can hold back a few more of the extra eggs in the refrigerator just before you go into the worst heat of summer, to tide you over. You could also get more chickens that are heat tolerant, if you think it's going to be a problem next year.
     
  7. StarLover21

    StarLover21 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm in Texas too, in the Dallas area. We have Red Stars- and they're fine in the heat, and they are around seven years old and still laying.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2011
  8. Gypsi

    Gypsi Chillin' With My Peeps

    I believe my water is calcium deficient. Got some eggs from my pond customer up toward decatur, and her shells are rock hard. I think she feeds scratch, but her water is LOADED with calcium - and a pH of about 8.8 out of the tap.

    Is there a calcium supplement I can add to their water?
     
  9. Blue

    Blue Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm not sure about water supplements, but you can feed ground oyster shell with their other feed as a calcium supplement, or you can crush up egg shells and feed those to them.
     
  10. Gypsi

    Gypsi Chillin' With My Peeps

    They don't like either the eggshell (which I have not been fine grinding, lacking a grinder) or the oyster shell. I feed layena. They'd rather have sunflower seeds at this point, the floor of the coop is smooth clean pond liner, covered with a 1 inch bed of layena, which I scoop up and pile around the feeder. If I don't fill the feeder, and don't drop layena on the floor of the run for them, they will eventually eat it. I think I have picky hens.

    Gypsi
     

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