Keeping Older Hens

windychicks

Chirping
Apr 9, 2016
35
55
94
Hi, I was reading the post about when to cull. I'm wondering if there's anyone out there that just keeps their hens and lets them live out their lives. If so, on average, how long do they live? I have a flock where the majority of hens have just turned 3. Egg laying has slowed for sure, but they're still producing. They aren't super friendly pets, but I don't think I have the heart to cull. That being said, I'd like to add some new birds and know i can't end up with too many! I have about eight 3 yr old hens and then some younger silkies that are laying good. Unfortunately I also have 3 silkie roos and one is actually really sweet. I guess I just want to know how many folks let their chickens live out their lives and if you do, do you also keep adding new girls?
 

aldarita

Songster
7 Years
Aug 2, 2012
626
189
191
Brenham TX
I think it all depends on how much space you have to add chicks when your older hens slow their egg production down without overcrowding. I have kept chickens for seven years and add few chicks every year, I don't cull my old hens, my oldest are 6 years old and some of them are still laying.
I have three yards with their own coops and runs (total of 22 chickens), I usually add the chicks to the yard that has less chickens. The biggest yard has 10 hens and 1 rooster, most of my old girls are there.
I believe the important point here if you are planning to keep your old ladies is to not overcrowd and plan ahead for integration when you add new chicks
 
Feb 5, 2019
840
4,421
322
Ohio
For me I happily let my chickens live out their lives. Though since I usually free range, a lot of the time my chickens get picked of by predators. My girls aren't that old yet though. (the oldest of them being close to 3 years) Like you, I don't think that I would have the heart to cull my hens once the stop laying.
 

fldiver97

Enabler
Premium member
10 Years
Aug 5, 2009
6,507
33,464
1,182
Middleton, WI
My Coop
My Coop
All of my chickens are 5 years and older. The oldest is 10, she still laid eggs last year, not sure if she’ll continue this year. My 5-8 year old gals don’t lay daily but still 2-4 eggs a week per bird on average. They have stopped laying during winter though. I have added chickens after losses but I’ve never had more than 10 chickens
 
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