Longest laying breeds?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by amaranth320, Sep 23, 2009.

  1. amaranth320

    amaranth320 Chillin' With My Peeps

    36
    2
    92
    Sep 23, 2009
    Hi, y'all. I hope I'm posting this to the right area. I'm very new to the forum, and I searched all over for an answer to this question, but can't find a thing, so here goes:

    I live in south Louisiana and am looking to get my first few chickens in the spring. I'm currently researching breeds, and one of the main questions I have is about the length of time most hens will continue laying eggs after the first couple of years. My husband is vegan, and I'm essentially a vegetarian (I eat seafood on occasion), so we won't be eating these birds once their production slacks off. I don't mind feeding them after they stop laying, but I want to make sure I know what I'm getting into before I buy these girls! I know that sometimes hens can live upwards of 10 yrs. if they're protected from predators, but do any breeds continue laying even occasional eggs (say, 1-2/week) for that long, or will they stop laying altogether after a 3-4 years and then eat me out of house and home for the next 7 or so? If there are hens that still lay well into their old age, which breeds seem to be the best at long-term production? Hopefully someone can recommend the perfect chicken for us! We'd like a breed that can tolerate the heat here, as well as be gentle and friendly enough to be a bit spoiled/family pet. Thanks!

    Mel
     
  2. luvarabhorses

    luvarabhorses Chillin' With My Peeps

    607
    0
    141
    Oct 1, 2008
    Hector, Ar
    I think EE's lay for a really long time. EE is easter egger. They are basically mutts but pretty to look at, pretty eggs and lay most of the year. They also tend to be inquisitive and friendly.
     
  3. ella

    ella Chillin' With My Peeps

    Good question!

    I have yet to find a breed that is a good long term producer and stays healthy. That's not to say I don't have individuals who still lay well (my oldest girls are now 6) but I haven't found a standout breed that has what you're looking for.

    All of my chickens, besides those I bred myself, are from hatcheries. I've come to expect the good layers to have serious health problems in their second year. Chickens naturally only lay a couple dozen eggs a year, tops. We've bred them to lay hundreds. It's always hard on them physically, it's tough to get around that.

    Those that don't lay well, really don't lay well and it would be hard to get enough from them to sustain you, it would be more of a treat every once in a while.

    If I were you I would go to some poultry shows and talk to some breeders, ask them about their flocks, how well they lay, how long they live. They're way more likely to have healthy, long term producers than a hatchery.

    They may be harder to find but it's worth the search, fresh eggs are so good, and having chickens is so rewarding. [​IMG]
     
  4. luvarabhorses

    luvarabhorses Chillin' With My Peeps

    607
    0
    141
    Oct 1, 2008
    Hector, Ar
    Getting hatchery chicks is good in that normally they are disease free. I find though that raising your own chicks from your own stock makes them a lot hardier in that you will lose them early on if they can't handle all the germs, temperature changes in the real world.
    Here are some pics of my "home made" EE's, technically not easter eggers, mostly EE's crossed with cochins, silkies, etc.. but laying colored eggs.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    This my favorite hen, Mommy Chicken, still laying at 7 years old.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. BarkerChickens

    BarkerChickens Microbrewing Chickenologist

    Nov 25, 2007
    High Desert, CA
    My friend had a Barred Rock that would lay semi-regularly until she died at 9 (or maybe it was 7) yrs old. My semi-regularly, I mean she would lay about 3 eggs a week, every other month. Weird schedule, but she had her rhythm that worked, I guess. [​IMG] (She died of natural causes)
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by