???? HOW LONG DO YOU KEEP A HEN? I think out of 9 hens only 1 or 2 are laying.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by GLStrub, Apr 18, 2016.

  1. GLStrub

    GLStrub New Egg

    Apr 18, 2016
    I also have 2 roosters and they really rough up the girls all the time. Do I need to start a new flock?
    I know I need to get rid of a rooster. Then when do I get rid of roosters? 2 years?
    What are you all doing with your older hens?
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Flock Master Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.

    Welcome! As has been stated here many times, "this is where the reality meets the romance" of chicken keeping. What are your flock goals? Do you want productive chickens, or do you want to feed chickens that are non-productive and call them pets? I would get rid of any extra roosters (or at least separate them from the hens) as soon as they start chasing and harassing the hens and stressing them out. How old are your current hens? What do you do with the eggs? Use them for your family to eat? How many eggs do you need per week for your purposes? I currently have 6 hens that are in their 3rd year of laying. They took the winter off, and I am now getting 4-6 eggs a day from them. In the fall, when my pullets start laying, at least 4 of these will be processed along with any extra roosters. (I have two pretty ones that I'd like to keep around until next spring and hopefully hatch out some of their offspring.)

    Everyone has their own way of dealing with non-productive hens. Some will keep them as pets, knowing they won't be as productive, others don't have the room or finances to keep non-productive chickens so will sell them, give them away, or eat them. Around here, we LOVE canned chicken!
  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs I Wanna Be A Cowboy Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Mine wander around until they die of old age. You shouldn't keep more roosters than you flock can support, two roosters to 9 hens is bad, rotate them or get rid of one. There are many reasons hens stop laying. Most of mine lay until about 5 before puttering out.
  4. KerryP

    KerryP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2015
    Quote: bobbi-j is very correct - you really need to remember what your goals were when you got the chickens in the first place. Personally, my goal is to have a steady supply of eggs, but trust me - I love my hens as much as the next person does.

    There are different ways to approach dealing with hens who have stopped laying. I know in my area there are surprisingly many places who take in non-laying hens, kind of like a 'live the end of your life out in peace" type of place - life a refuge. They'll even let you visit. Then of course, you can pay someone to handle making them your dinner, if they're a dual-purpose breed and you're ok eating something that used to roam your property. Or, you can just let them live out life where they are now - with you - and just start a secondary laying flock if you have the space.

    Americans tend to forget how the food chain works. Our backyard girls are wonderful, but they are also part of the food supply. They give us eggs, and we eat those happily. We give them food and scraps, and they love it! But the chickens themselves are also part of the food chain. Just a thought. :)
  5. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    What breed are your hens and how old are they?.... those two factors can be quite important.

    Perhaps there is reason other than age that they are not laying....

    If they are stressed by the roosters' attentions, that can reduce laying. I would agree with others that removing at least one male from the flock will benefit them.
    Perhaps they are not getting the right nutrition.
    Maybe they are going into moult and will resume laying when they have their new feathers... usually this is in the autumn, but your profile doesn't give a location, so maybe you are in the southern hemisphere.
    If they free range, perhaps they have secret nests where they are laying eggs rather than in your nest boxes.
    If they are a breed that goes broody, that will affect egg production.

    My neighbour had a black sex link that was still laying an occasional egg at 8 years old and 2 year old Croad Langshans that seldom laid an egg and went broody at the drop of a hat. Molly, the black sex link was kept into retirement as she had earned it although she only lived a couple of months after she stopped laying, but the Langshan's got butchered as they didn't earn their keep..
  6. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I work (kind of sort of successful) at having a multi-generational flock, I like to have hens in the 3-4, 2-3,1-2 and new range.

    I keep a flock, and have for years, but not the same birds. Birds come in and go out of my flock. That is just a fact of life. At first it was hard, but it has gotten easier.

    So you should take the number of birds that will fit into your set up, and add new ones and subtract old ones every fall.

    Mrs K
  7. ccrow

    ccrow Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 6, 2010
    Southern Maine
    This is what I'd like to do too, but so far predators have taken care of my ever having to cull anyone... of course they often take good ones(like my black Australorp pullet who had just started laying, last year[​IMG]). My oldest hen is 4 now.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2016
  8. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    @ Ccrow - I have lost my share to predators, and always the one I like best! Ugh!

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