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How Long Will Chickens Lay?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Kedreeva, Jul 21, 2010.

  1. Kedreeva

    Kedreeva Longfeather Lane

    Jun 10, 2010
    I know the range in each year they will lay, but how many years will they lay eggs for? Someone whom I think was very confused assured me it was only a year and a half, and despite my best efforts to tell her otherwise, she wouldn't believe me. I tried to google the answer to show her, but apparently this is such common knowledge it's not anywhere easily accessible. I was under the impression that they would lay for several years, but now I question the knowledge since I haven't actually -owned- chickens until this year.

  2. buckbeak

    buckbeak Songster

    May 27, 2007
    Morgantown, PA
    Hens will lay until they die. After about 2 years, they will just lay less often. It all depends on the productivity of the breed too. For example, my Leghorns at 4 years still lay 3-4 times a week, but for a couple of years, they laid daily and year round. A few of my other breeds only laid 3-5 eggs weekly at their highest productivity and lay less now, and break completely for the winter. We still get some eggs though and they will live out their lives here as bug eating machines who lay occasionally. Their children have all picked up the slack!
  3. kaitlyn_rae2003

    kaitlyn_rae2003 Songster

    Jun 8, 2010
    Laconia NH
    Im not 100% sure, but I was told somewhere in the range of 2-3 years. Id like to see other responses too! im curious!
  4. woodmort

    woodmort Songster

    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    Define "lay". If you mean a few eggs a week per hen then about 2 - 3 years depending on breed. If you mean produce eggs then it will be longer although, theoretically there is a limit to the number of eggs a hen is born with. I have a 6-year old Black Star that lays about one egg a month. Most production outfits replace after 2 years--that's where Campbell gets their soup chicken. There were a couple of other threads on this topic during the last week or so that explain more.
  5. Kedreeva

    Kedreeva Longfeather Lane

    Jun 10, 2010
    "Lay" just meaning lay eggs at all, I guess. I was pretty sure 1.5 years seemed like an awfully low estimate. Maybe she was just talking about their 'prime time' laying and I was thinking otherwise. A couple times a week is still fine laying for me, but maybe not her! Thanks for the responses [​IMG]
  6. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    My chickens will have a good home for as long as they live, regardless of egg-laying abilities. They'll still catch bugs, they'll still produce fertilizer (and I feed my dogs who don't lay eggs NOR can I use their feces as fertilizer!) AND they'll still amuse me with their antics. Eggs are a bonus as far as I'm concerned.

    I know this doesn't fit with a lot of folks' ideas about chicken keeping, but you cull your flock as necessary and I'll keep feeding mine.
  7. Mrs. Fluffy Puffy

    Mrs. Fluffy Puffy Fluffy Feather Farm

    Jan 26, 2010
    Texas, Panhandle
    I had a Buff Orpington hen that was 13 years old - still layed eggs. [​IMG]

  8. gallusdomesticus

    gallusdomesticus Songster

    Nov 14, 2008
    Lynn Haven, FL
    Buckbeak is correct, a chicken will lay eggs until she dies. This website is from the Univ of Florida Ag Extension service that shows, via a graph, the decline in egg laying as a bird ages.


    for example, a 10 year old hen will lay at about 10% of her peak.

    As for being turned into Campbells Chicken Noodle Soup....that use ended years ago. Cornish cross comerical egg layers are bred to lay eggs and as a result of their close confinement and breeding, have very brittle bones. These bone fragments in the soup caused complaints that caused Campbell's to stop using laying hens in their product. Most culled commercial layers are used for non human food products or composted.
  9. blondiebee181

    blondiebee181 Songster

    Mar 21, 2012
    Boise, ID
    I'm with ya here! Eggs are a definite bonus but I love my darlings like pets!

  10. rmh0508

    rmh0508 Chirping

    Jul 14, 2011
    Engadine, MI
    A friend of mine has a pretty old flock her oldest are 10-11yrs old and she still gets a couple eggs a week. My birds are all still young since I just got into chickens last year. I will probably keep them till they die off or give them to friends and family who want some bug catchers :)

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