I've got 3 and 4 year olds laying very, very well yet.
The commercial birds are turned over every 2 years and those birds often are fairly used up at that point. This isn't true of all birds. The better the breeding the longer, slow but steady approach seems to be the case.
Birds do slow down on the number of eggs they lay, as they age. Often the eggs do get a bit larger, if laid less often.
I've had hatchery hens laying their 7th summer. Not so many eggs, but maybe three a week.
True, you get your peak production the first 18 months. Then they take the winter off, and start back in the spring. This cycle continues, each year production drops slightly.
It's fine to keep non producing hens in with laying birds.
I don't mind if they don't lay many eggs a week, they were for pets as well as for eggs but I thought they laid eggs for a long time. When I read they usually only lay for 2 years, it kind of freaked me out. I figured they lived for like 20 years and laid eggs for most of those years. LOL Sylviaanne
I was surprised too. I've got a couple of my girls who are now 4 years old, and they still lay eggs. Like the other poster said, they do take some time off, then start up again. Mine did this, for like 3 months or so? Now, its all systems go!
Thank you. I just never even thought about when they stop laying. I don't have a problem with them slowing down their production and they are half way pets so I will keep them. I was concerned that I'd have a warehouse of chickens because they all stopped laying at around 2 1/2 years. LOL I'd have to keep getting more to keep us in eggs. LOL Sylvia