laying up to 9 years?


8 Years
Nov 9, 2011
hi guys, i read some threads here and i found out that some chickens like leghorns can lay eggs up to 9 years, but of course not productive as the earlier years.
i'm going to have some leghorns and im glad to know that it can lay that long.. but.. im not sure if it's true.. have u experienced this matter?
Because of the main reason leghorns were bred, I would have thought they would be early to burn out. I did read where chickens are born with 14,000 mini yolks, embryo, or what ever they're called. So that's a lot of eggs.
I really don't know but thought the more they layed early the less they lay later. production birds won't lay as long as heritage breeds, in the end they may lay about the same number?
That's what I've read, too, but there seem to be exceptions everywhere. Even in my small flock, there is a lot of difference in laying (how early, size, how frequent, etc) even within a breed.

When we started this venture in April, my DH and I decided that, philosophically, we weren't going to kill our hens at the end of their laying, but provide a retirement home. Sentimental, yes. Your mileage may vary, of course. I will be very interested to see how it all turns out. Will our super-reliable layers peter out young? Will the "Production" Red pullet who is taking the winter off lay longer?

I'll be interested to see what answers you get here.
I have a Leghorn, she was great, but slowed down after around 4 years.
She is about 7 right now, and went thru a horrible moult, in fact they all did this fall.
Maybe they know something about the weather that we don't?
Anyway, she just started up again just recently.
Only about 1-2 eggs a week now, but she is still very sweet, and I plan to keep her till the end.
I have an OEG bantam hen, still going strong at 9, a few a week.
I also believe that they burn out if bred to be productive young.
They are born with as many eggs as they will have, you can't change that.
Diet and quality of life do have a factor.
I have an araucana that I bought from a local breeder 8 years ago--full grown.
She is a very sweet old girl. She has a bit of trouble with change of season here in the foothills of the MA/NH border, and she likes to stay in a lot. Sometimes I think she isn't going to make it through another change, but she always does!
In the flush of spring she still lays sky blue eggs, perhaps one per week.
She likes to live in my original chicken tractor.
She is very maternal, but I never let her raise up a clutch. I never thought of breeding at all till this year. This year if she lays I will pop them right in the bator because she has some wonderful genes for longevity, temperament, egg color and ability to survive in my particular environment.
When I integrate new birds at about 6-7 weeks I put them in with her--and she mothers them! She shows them around, teaching them how to forage.
She was never a heavy producer...and also she was never artificially lit in winter.

Is this a norm or an exception for birds to live as long as 9 years? I was kinda under the impression from people I've talked to that birds often just up and die of natural cause often at 3 years of age! It would be kinda cool to think that my first flock of chickens could potentially live that long. I like the birds that I have an they all get on well no fighting... Everyones seems content. I currently have one rooster with 8 hens( 2EEs, 3 silkie, 2 production birds, 1BR). I am very happy with their eggs thus far!
No, ole rooster, I don't have an aurocana roo to breed my good old hen.

Right now she's bunking with some marans including a roo. I do have an easter egger roo, in the barn, which would at least be a closer match.

Maybe I should find an aurocana roo for spring time.

Yes, when well cared for, chickens are capable of living that long. The high production birds like commercial white leghorns or sexlink layers often don't live past 2-3 because their high rate of lay wears their bodies out and causes increased mortality from reproductive tract problems, leading to more of them dying at a young age. I was given some 5 year old Orpingtons by a neighbor who didn't want them anymore, he said they were not laying. I agreed to take them, figuring I'd make soup out of them, put them in a pen with good food to fatten them up a little beforehand, and within a week they were laying as well as the younger birds. I think he wasn't feeding them very well. They stayed in my flock for another two years and were laying 2-4 eggs a week. Usually, older birds will slow way down in their laying, so you might get 1-2 eggs a, if you're keeping them for eggs, they reach a point where the cost of feeding them is higher than the value of the eggs they produce, which is why many old-timers and egg producers replace their hens every other year.

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