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How long do hybrids live?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by drafthorserider, Feb 11, 2012.

  1. drafthorserider

    drafthorserider Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello everyone, I am a new member and am happy to have found your forum. We have had laying hens (duel purpose) for 4 years and really enjoy them. We are considering adding a rooster to our flock -when we find a local one - to raise some of our own for meat birds so that we know they will be raised humanely and also, so we know what goes into them - but that is another story :)

    Anyway, we have a few hybrid hens in our flock which we purchased from TSC 4 years ago. They are golden comets and the sex linked ones that are white (I can't remember what those are called at this moment). Over this past year they have been going steadily downhill one at a time while my purebreds who are the same age are doing great (Barred Rock, Buckeye, Rhode Island Red, and Black Astrolorp). They are all housed together and everyone looks healthy - but one by one the hybrids start looking tired and get slow and then eventually they will go down hill enough that we put them down so they don't suffer - we of course don't eat them at this point. Being relatively new to chickens..is this how long most hybrids live (if they aren't butchered prior to 'old age'?)
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    That's the point of the egg hybrids. From a commercial standpoint they provide the necessary profit margin in a $1.89/doz. competitive world. They kick out all their eggs at once and when spent become Campbell's soup.

    On a side note, we eat meat so the only chicken and eggs I ever eat are mine. That way at least I'm not contributing to the less than desirable lives of commercial birds.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012
  3. Hyline

    Hyline Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh no! I have 4 hybrid layers that I absolutely ADORE - they are my babies - I was under the impression that they could live 10+ years in ideal conditions? I don't think I could cope losing them at 4 years :( someone please share an experience of an old hybrid lol - I can't live without my girls!!
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    I'm not saying they can't live long but they've been genetically selected for a different purpose.
     
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    This depends. Frankly, you likely do not know the parent stock from which your particular birds come from, and may never know. The hatcheries sell "sex-link" hybrids, but are extremely closed mouthed about their parent stock, not only about the hybrids they sell, but about the stock they sell generally.

    I would hardly expect a sex-link that comes from commercial parent stock, derived from the poultry genetics corporations, to be bred for a long life. Instead, they have been genetically bred and researched for decades for production, production, production. Similar to the long development of the CX meat bird, these layers are light weight, have been bred for great feed conversion, including a thin walled intestine, rapid maturity, large egg size and so forth. Slow growth and long life is not exactly a goal of their breeding.

    Conversely, if one takes a quality, heritage type RIR rooster and puts him over a quality, sturdy, Delaware hen, the resultant red sex-link hybrid would rightly be expected to live a long, healthy life.

    The question is this. What is the parent stock and breeding of the red sex link one buys from a particular hatchery? Is it merely a cross of true heritage type parents or is it much more likely to be a commercial type bird?
     
  6. allpeepedout

    allpeepedout Chillin' With My Peeps

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    drafthorserider, sorry to hear about your birds' decline. Curious: are your 4 year old purebreds still laying? If yes, how much? Thanks.
     
  7. Hyline

    Hyline Chillin' With My Peeps

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    OK. A question - if the hybrids were not laying at all could they be expected to live longer? I have one girl here who had egg drop syndrome and the vet recommended a hormone implant to shut down her reproductive system. We choose to keep her implanted regularly so she does not lay at all (after a couple of sleepless nights at the vet hospital with her in egg bound agony I can't take anymore!!)

    My other three girls lay normally (for hybrids). If all of them were brought off the lay by hormones, would this be likely to extend their lives as they won't be laying themselves half to death?

    I could not care less about eggs, I just want my girls with me for as long as possible :) I know alot of breeders are not into the commercial layers, but they really are sweet pets and are intelligent and docile. I don't breed, I have my hens as pets only.
     
  8. drafthorserider

    drafthorserider Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, they are still laying. We get about 2-3 eggs/week from most of older purebreds, which frankly is better suited to our family as we are only supplying eggs for 5 people. When our hybrids were in their laying prime I gave eggs to neighbors, my brother in law, and anyone else who happened to stop by and sometimes still had my fridge overwelmed with extra eggs.
     
  9. drafthorserider

    drafthorserider Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for the information everyone. I thought they were 'spent' and that is why they were starting to fail as none of the non hybrids were looking poorly, but I thought I had better ask to make sure it wasn't some problem with my chicken keeping. I think from now on we will stick with purebreds for our laying stock rather than hybrids.
     
  10. Sunnyowl

    Sunnyowl New Egg

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    My red sex links are doing the same thing. I have had them for four years and never lost a chicken until this past November. We lost two within three months from an unknown aliment and we found another red down in the coop this past week. We did take her to the vet and they said it was due to her being a hybrid. They don't live long once they stop laying (mine stopped laying last fall) and if they do they are prone to tumors in there reproductive track. They recommended that we put her down but she is fighting so hard I chose not too. She is now living inside with us. She is SLOWLY but surely getting stronger. We are feeding her a soft diet only with a constant supply of electrolytes and probiotics. Also, we put about a table spoon of apple cider vinegar in her water every other day. It might be wishful thinking but we will do what it takes as long as she has the will to live.
     
    1 person likes this.

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