How long does a layer 'last'


In the Brooder
10 Years
Jan 14, 2010
I would like to create a cycle of layers and meat birds and hatch my own babies without having to order new ones over the years, I am starting off with 25 white leghorns and 25 plymouth barred rocks, How long will the chicks last, how should I go about best cultivating some breeding so I dont have to order new chicks later?
How long will the chicks last? I don't understand that question.

Neither Leghorns nor Barred Rocks are known for going broody very often.
i mean, what is the average lifespan/laying span of the chickens, how long are they good for before i will need to replace them as layers. Should I strive to raise a certain number of chicks each year to gradually replace any losses?
There is no "average" on a per bird basis. Most will lay for years, although they're output diminishes as time goes on. On a side note, the eggs get bigger as they birds age, even if they lay fewer of them.

But most people who are making an accounting of chickens realize that after 2 - 3 years, the flock as a whole is eating more than they are providing in return. In economic terms, efficiency is reduced based on pounds of feed given vs. pounds of eggs produced. They pass their peak around that time and decisions must be made as to their future thereafter.

It is generally accepted that you breed from select 2nd year hens, derived from careful culling and selection based on:

Early sexual maturity
Persistence in laying
Good rate of lay

Males used for breeding should be the direct siblings of females that have the same traits as above. You can line breed offspring back to the original dame line up to the 4th or 5th pairing, at which time new blood should be introduced.

For an expansion on this subject, see this link:
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what Davaroo said.

That was a great answer...I learned something today!
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It is - and it isn't.

To do anything right requires effort and persistence. The genetics and biology behind all this are complex and can be a long course of study. The practice of good breeding is not all that difficult, though.

Many, many new chickeneers don't realize just what is involved in creating the birds they purchase. Even the most common of feed store chicks has years of breeding behind it. It is unlikely that most will go to the trouble to try it themselves. Just 'having' chickens is enough for them.

But where you find male and female chickens, anyone can do it. It only requires that one choose to improve what they already have.
well, I have ordered 2 seperate 'breeds' the white leghorns and the plymouth barred rocks.

Assuming that i keep them seperated, i will have stock of similiar quality when they breed, even if I do not actively monitor it, right?

White leghorns will make more white leghorns, which will still be just as good (if not better) at laying..etc
Well, yes, but no.

Without careful selection and culling of rejects, those birds that breed will eventually begin to water down the genetics within the breeding pool. In time, they will be begin reverting back to the very core of their genetic makeup and can wind up looking, behaving and performing nothing like the ones you started with.

Oh, this stuff wont be noticeable at first. If you are prone to a casual approach, you may not notice it for years. Then one day you'll look around and realize you see more dying this year than you recall, or fewer eggs being layed, or fewer chicks hatching out, or more "funny looking" chickens than previously, etc.

If "similar quality" is good enough for you, then I expect you'll do fine. If bettering your flock is of any importance, then you'll have to take steps to ensure that happens.

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