How long to hens lay?

bakinghomesteader

In the Brooder
10 Years
Mar 13, 2009
77
0
39
central Illinois
I have some Amish friends that said they buy hens every year because they only lay for a year. I didn't know that. They raise them for a year and after that they butcher them and get new ones. I really didn't want to do that. I'd rather keep my hens for a long time. I don't plan on eating them, just for eggs and pets. Do they stop laying after a year? Thanks
 

MoodyChicken

Songster
10 Years
Feb 15, 2009
1,869
25
181
Northern California
Their most productive year is their first year, however the second year is dang good too, if not equal. If high egg yield is important to you, I'd say keep your hens for no longer than 3 years, after that they lay less. Most hens virtually stop around 5 years, but I have a 10 year old hen that lays one or two eggs a year. lol.
 

MoodyChicken

Songster
10 Years
Feb 15, 2009
1,869
25
181
Northern California
Their most productive year is their first year, however the second year is dang good too, if not equal. If high egg yield is important to you, I'd say keep your hens for no longer than 3 years, after that they lay less. Most hens virtually stop around 5 years, but I have a 10 year old hen that lays one or two eggs a year. lol.
 

Hangin Wit My Peeps

AutumnBreezeChickens.com
11 Years
Apr 20, 2008
6,396
28
263
Birnamwood, Wisconsin
I agree with Moody...although I know some people on here who have very old chickens and they are still laying. Maybe only twice a week but they will still lay
I know how you feel. I don't want to update my hens either
I just love every one of them. But hubby says we are going to after two years
I know he's right if we want to continue with the egg selling. I guess all good things must come to an end. At least we can rest assured that they have a VERY good two years. Most hens don't get even that.
 

deerman

Rest in Peace 1949-2012
11 Years
Aug 24, 2008
9,491
65
293
Southern Ohio
Yes the first year they lay a egg a day, after that. more like a egg every other day. They will lay for many years, but the big laying houses only keep them for a year.
 

Chicktastic

In the Brooder
10 Years
Mar 10, 2009
84
1
29
Chapel Hill, NC
I have heard the same thing, two to three years and then not much after that.


We keep ours even after they are aged out and they just become part of the old ladies club. The OLC as we call it are good for setting and scratching poo. We have a horse farm so they do their work out in the pastures and some will set on eggs and hatch them out for us. There really is nothing better than chickens that clean up for me! Or chickens who raise theri chicks and keep them safe from predators.

Maybe if you have to get rid of your girls after a certain age there might be a farm in your area who might want them for what I use the old ladies for.
 

Backyard Buddies

Songster
13 Years
Jan 11, 2007
2,089
5
201
Orange County, CA
Our 3 girls will be 3 years old on the 27th and will continue to stay with us until they pass away. We will eventually add a couple more to help with the egg laying, but for now since we're getting a dozen or more eggs a week from them, we're still good.
 

Portia

Songster
11 Years
Feb 29, 2008
919
18
149
South Central PA
They may rotate the stock as such for a slightly better table bird than a 2-3 y/o hen. I've heard that the first 3 years are generally the most productive, decreasing slightly each year. But I have heard of some that still lay well into their 5th year and still eek out an egg or two a week as they get up near the double digits. Guess it depends on the hen and the breed. However, if you are planning on using the dual purpose for dual purpose you may consider rotating out birds when they are younger.
 

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