How much does the egg production drop after 2 years?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by MoonGoddess, Apr 9, 2007.

  1. MoonGoddess

    MoonGoddess Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 8, 2007
    Philly, PA
    How much can I expect the production to drop in the hens 2 year of life? Do most of you guys change out the flock when the hens' peak is waning, or do you wait until production stops completely? And when exactly IS that? lol.

    Any advice or websites that have good info on home butchering? Not that *I* could do this personally, but my husband said he'd have no issues.

    Admittedly, I am a vegetarian and so are my two eldest children (by choice), but my two youngest and my husband are avid meat eaters. Though I am a little hesitant to agree to butchering as I am wondering how my kids would take it. And myself as well...I can imagine getting very attached.
    Though I am not morally against it as I believe our chickens will have had a very good, spoiled life and I do buy organic, free range chicken products for my younger children. It's a weird conundrum I find myself in.
    Any advice?
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2007
  2. Queen of the Lilliputians

    Queen of the Lilliputians Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 5, 2007
    Maine
    There are many people here with much better advice than I [​IMG] but I will tell you I bought the book everyone here raves about ( Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens by Gail Damerow) and the amount of info on this subject in it is fantastic.

    We are all meat-eaters here, but both Hubby and I are from the "I don't think I could kill something I loved" camp, so my hubby actually has a farmer friend who is willing to do it for us. I agree with you, at least I know these chickens will have had a good time before they are sent to the headsman! I thought I was going to be able to do it, until my sister reminded me today that I cried when she flushed the crayfish from my fishtank (it was eating all of the fish... I think I was 16 LOL!).
     
  3. MoonGoddess

    MoonGoddess Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Awww. Yeah, you sound like me. I have cried like a baby after every pet I have ever own died. My first pet was a 10 dollar yellow dyed canary I got at a fair. I was 15 and when she died I cried so hard my nose bled!
    LOL...pathetic.

    Thanks for the info!
     
  4. Picco

    Picco Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Egg production does drop to a degree with age but I find as a backyard farmer my hens lay well for a good 5 years or more without any noticeable drop. I have 9 year old SL wyandottes and an even older ameraucana that still lay about 4 eggs a week. My youngest hens (1 year olds) lay about 6 a week so there is a difference but not that much.

    Egg production really matters a lot with production hens in a commercial setting because the hens live highly stressful lives producing an egg everyday in a small cage and don't thrive well beyond 2 years. Its not so much that the production fails but that the hens "can't take it anymore". When this happens fewer eggs are laid and the farmers send the birds to the soup factory so more productive young hens can take over the job.
     
  5. MoonGoddess

    MoonGoddess Chillin' With My Peeps

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    WOW. That's good news.[​IMG] I was definitely hoping to hear info like that.

    For me (and my family) the idea of them just producing a bit less is no biggie. I was more concerned with them getting to a point of laying NO eggs.

    It would a problem of space (keeping non-producing hens but wanting to add producing ones) and a little less about the monetary implications (feeding all of them without a good enough yield to justify that many birds).
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2007
  6. Nifty-Chicken

    Nifty-Chicken Administrator Staff Member

    MoonGoddess, great question (and excellent avatar)!

    I go back and forth about this. I've always thought I'd cull my layers after about 3-5 years or if they just completely stop laying. That said, the longer I'm around them the more acquainted we become and the harder it may be for me to get rid of them. Of course, I'll probably end up with a balance. Keep a couple that are the most friendly and "rotate out" the others.
     
  7. MoonGoddess

    MoonGoddess Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you Nifty-Chicken! I appreciate the straight forward answer. [​IMG]
     
  8. livestock101

    livestock101 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 13, 2007
    Quote:I think I can beat that. When I was a senior in high school I was given a parakeet that I just adored. Took "Homer" with me when I went off to college and when I got married a few years later, "Homer" came along. I was 6 months pregnant with my second child.....I awoke that morning and uncovered "Homer's" cage like I did every morning, only to find him dead at the bottom. I started crying hysterically and within an hour I had gone into premature labor. My doctor tried everything to stop the contractions. I ended up on medication to stop the contractions and later bedrest when the medication wasnt working well enough to stop the labor. All over a bird! I havent owned a parakeet since.

    On another note, we have 20 or so chickens that are 2 years old and most are still laying fairly well. We're getting ready to set 30 eggs as replacements which will give us upward of 100 or so in our flock. We sell eggs and make a small profit. However, of the 20 2 year olds we have, there are a few (EE's) that only lay once or twice a week. They may be the first to be replaced.....I'll be giving away the chickens that arent laying well, as I helped butcher last year for the first time and kept gagging over all of it. I couldnt eat the chickens and ended up feeding them to the barn cats.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2007
  9. MoonGoddess

    MoonGoddess Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Awwwwww livestock101. That is so sad and so traumatically sweet. It's amazing how our pets can get under our skin, huh?
     

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