Lifespan and egg laying of laying hens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by wormy270, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. wormy270

    wormy270 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 8, 2009
    My hens are about 2 years old. They are all molting right now. Ive got no eggs for several weeks. How old are chickens when they stop laying and how long do they live? Im wondering when I should replace some of the girls.
  2. roxyblue

    roxyblue Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 6, 2011
    pittsburgh, PA
    It depends,
    what breeds of chickens do you have, most birds stop laying when they molt,some stop laying eggs through the winter. And a chickens can live upwards of eight years some times but most stop laying by then [​IMG]
    - Roxyblue
  3. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    If you have laying breeds, they will most likely give you one more spring/summer of decent production, although molting/egg recovery does take longer in the 2nd year, at least according to MY girls. [​IMG] Some chickens can lay for many years, 5, 6, 7, 8...but they will take increasingly long breaks, and the production will be pretty low (I've read of 8 yr. olds laying an egg a week). So those who replace generally do so around the 2-3 yr. mark. My big girls are just over two years, so I brought in babies this fall to take up the slack a bit come spring. But my chickens are pets, so my original girls will stay here anyhow, laying or not. [​IMG]
    In your case, I'd be looking at early spring chicks, which will carry you through next fall/winter. Because by then, your original girls probably won't be producing much.
  4. Magic Birdie

    Magic Birdie Overrun With Chickens

    May 3, 2011
    Magic Birdie land
    After they're two or three, their egg laying gradually decreases, it might be a while until they actually stop [​IMG]
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    About the only way to always have eggs is have a few spring hatched pullets every year. First year pullets don't normally moult their first fall and if they start laying well in early September, tend to lay right on through the first winter without a hiccup. Of course, the next fall, they too will be older birds and moult.

    Most hens will lay reasonably well for two years and some then, go into a severe decline while others decline almost imperceptibly. This depends on the breed and whether it is a high production bird in the first place. Just in my experience, a typical hen has about 1000-1200 eggs to lay. The question is how fast will she lay them? The hybrids are designed to lay them quite quickly, over the first two years.

    Some folks "turn their flocks over" every two or three years, cycling in young pullets every year, while cycling out older birds. These are personal management decisions.
  6. simplynewt

    simplynewt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 12, 2011
    My Coop
    Thanks for the info. Good to know.
  7. wormy270

    wormy270 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 8, 2009
    Yea, good info. Thanks everyone. I have RI Red hens and a Black Austrlorp, 2 Buff Orps, and a Barred Rock. I would generally like to cycle out the older ones when they stop laying. But I cant see that happening as my kids have turned them into pets.
  8. moodlymoo

    moodlymoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 23, 2011
    Portland OR
    I have a flock of young pullets still waiting on my first egg. Is it safe to assume I wont get any till spring 2012? If I follow your thoughts than I should get new birds cycled in early spring 2013?

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