How old are your hens?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by buglit, Jan 24, 2009.

  1. buglit

    buglit In the Brooder

    Jan 14, 2009
    Hendersonville, NC
    I pretty much decided that I was going to get about 6 chicks in the spring for eggs and as pets. I have done my research on-line and purchased Storey's Gude to Raising Chickens, which now has me wondering if this is what I want. From her book, I am gathering that hens only lay good the first year and then it dwindles and stops, which would defeat half the purpose of having them. I have been reading this blog for several months and don't hear nyone talk about hens that are over a year old or so. I will not cull my hens when they are no longer productive, and don't want a large flock. What are your experiences with older hens and egg production? How old is the oldest hen in your flock?What do others do with pet hens when no longer productive? I want to make a responsible decision here. Thank you
  2. Chickenaddict

    Chickenaddict Songster

    May 19, 2008
    East Bethel MN
    I have ome that are 2 years old and if they made it this long here they will remain here for the rest of their lives even if they stop laying. I have a special needs japanese hen who lays pretty much nothing but soft shelled eggs if any at all, she is over 2 years old and will remain here until she passes. I would suggest maybe 2 flocks... One for laying hens and one for "pets" Then recycle those hens in the laying flock every 1.5 to 2 years and in the process try not to get too attatched to them. I have heard that they still lay eggs after 2 years just not as productive as their first year. Hope this helps. I am still learning new things every day even tho i have kept chickens for over 2 years now
  3. How old is the oldest hen in your flock?

    My two oldest hens are 4years old. One, a dark cornish, went broody last year and we set eggs under her to hatch. Once she raised her chicks she laid only 2-3 eggs late last summer and hasn't laid since. Our second 4yr old is an Australorp who has sporatic laying for the last year. She isn't laying right now and I will be surprised if she starts up this spring. The 2-3 yr olds are laying but not as well as when pullets and through the first yr - 1.5 yrs.
    What do others do with pet hens when no longer productive?

    Keep them! [​IMG]
    Just remember, no matter how well you take care of your girls, you may loose a few during the first 2 yrs of their lives to predators, disease, accidents or whatnot. The first year I had chooks, like you, I was a bit concerned as to what I was going to do once they all stopped laying,(8 pullets). I only have two of my original girls. Second year I added 9, three chicks and 6-16wks olds. I lost 3 and am about to lose another to internal laying. Anyhoooo, [​IMG] as you can see out of 17 pullets in two years I only have 8, soon to be 7, of those left. IF you only add two or three pullets to your flock each year it will be difficult to be "Overrun w/Chickens!" [​IMG]
  4. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    My oldest are 6 years old now. They still lay a couple of eggs a week most of the year.
  5. buglit

    buglit In the Brooder

    Jan 14, 2009
    Hendersonville, NC
    Thank you, what is the breed of your 6 yr olds?
  6. bigzio

    bigzio Crowing

    Jan 20, 2007
    My 4 year old flock of light brahmas are wonderful layers. Today I collected 6 eggs from 8 hens. It was -14f last night with wind chills of -25.

    Heritage breeds will continue to lay for years, unlike hybreds that burn out in 18 months or so.

    Gotta love the Magestic Ones.

  7. HorseFeathers

    HorseFeathers Frazzled

    Apr 2, 2008
    Southern Maine
    1 and 2 years.
  8. rodriguezpoultry

    rodriguezpoultry Langshan Lover

    Jan 4, 2009
    Claremore, OK
    9 years and my oldest rooster is 11 years. Both are Light Brahmas. The next oldest is 8 years which is a Light Brahm x Buff Orpington cross.
  9. pokey

    pokey Warrior Princess

    Jun 1, 2008
    i was thinking of ordering new pullets and finding my hens a forever home.
    mine are about 4 years old and still lay most days but have slowed down .i still want my birds but feed has gotten so expensive i plan to replace my older girls and let them retire on some farm where they can roam.(they can't run free here)
  10. pax12

    pax12 Songster

    Feb 7, 2008
    my oldest one is 31 weeks

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