Life Span of battery hens

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by mollychick, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. mollychick

    mollychick New Egg

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    Oct 23, 2012
    Hi, I was just wondering if anyone can tell me approximately what is the life span of Isa Brown chickens or ex battery hen farm chooks. For the last 10 yrs I often purchase Isa Brown chickens from the battery hen farm (or the black Australorp, think that is the breed name) at the age of about 16wks old. All my chooks are fine and fairly healthy until about the age of 3 yrs old and then they stop laying altogether and then for about 18 mnths after they stop laying I usually find they become sick on and off for a few mnths and then finally pass away. I have always been curious if this is the nature of the chickens life style/span as it just seems to be the pattern with all my chooks. My chickens are 100% free range during the day and are locked up at night and fed Red Hen seed and inside scraps each day. Is this normal of a chickens life? At present I have a chicken who as per normal with my chooks history, stopped laying about 12mnths ago (she is now approx 4 yrs old) and for the last 4 mnths has become slower but still healthy except for the last week, to the point where she is quite ill and this morning has her wings drooped out and her breathing is very shallow. Two days ago she seemed to pick up but I am guessing today may be her last as it’s the worst I have seen her but as I have mentioned earlier, this seems to be a common pattern with my chickens. Do other chook owners go thru this pattern also?
    Thanks
     
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Did you light them during the winters? Just curious.
     
  3. mollychick

    mollychick New Egg

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    Oct 23, 2012
    Sorry not sure what "light them" means so obviously Im guessing my answer is no to your question.
     
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Do you supplement their "daylight" in the darker days of winter? I'd be quite curious to know if you do. If I understand your answer correctly, then no, you do not.

    The ISA Brown isn't substantially different than many commercial layer breeds. Yes, we've had them for years. They come into lay early, lay profusely for a few years. We've done just about everything we can to slow down their high wire genetics, in hopes of providing another year or two of quality life.

    But, so many of the hatchery grade layers pretty much "burn out" after 3 years. They are sprinters, not marathon runners. It's pretty much the price that must be paid.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2012
  5. mollychick

    mollychick New Egg

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    Oct 23, 2012
    Hi, no i don't supply any artificial lighting at all for my chooks during the winter mnths. They get whatever light nature intended on the day : ) Going by your reply I am assuming that your Isa browns live only for a few years also and this is the norm for my chooks?
     
  6. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    We have some that are healthy at 4 years, but my point was that lots of modern birds are similar. These are commercial hens, bred to be quick maturing and bred to lay like crazy for a short period of time. Most of the common hatchery breeds are also suffering from similar breeding.

    Since the commercial birds are intended for the laying industry. The industry wants such a bird, so the poultry genetics corporations that produce the parent stock for commercial birds aim to please.

    Commercial broilers? Even a shorter life. These meat birds are bred to mature in just weeks, not months. Most would die if not processed for meat at 8 to 9 weeks. The selective breeding of these various commercial strains of both layers and broilers has produced very remarkable birds.
     
  7. mollychick

    mollychick New Egg

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    Oct 23, 2012
    Ok, thanks for that Fred. Is rather sad the life a battery hen : ( My girl is still kicking surprisingly. She was at deaths door yesterday and the last few days but late yesterday afternoon she came out of her bed and wandered around the garden. Today I will take her to the vets and see if he can do anything with her, she is struggling to live so bad I think she deserves a $50 vet bill spent on her.
     
  8. Sharon Bell

    Sharon Bell New Egg

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    Jun 16, 2017
    Thanks for this info. I have black ex battery hens and i lost one a few months ago and have another that seems to be less perky than usual. Pretty sure they have stopped laying and its my younger ones that lay. I have had mine for around 3 years now.
     

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