Old layers

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by KelsiNS, Mar 2, 2015.

  1. KelsiNS

    KelsiNS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 24, 2013
    Buna, TX
    At what point do you decide to cull non-laying hens?
    I have a few that I haven't seen an egg out of in a few months now. They will be 2 years old in May. I plan on giving them until mid-summer (since our weather has been godawful recently) to pick back up.

    But they are noticeable eggs-my easter eggers and my leghorn. three blue and one white-the only ones I get that are those colors. So Im not mistaken when I notice THOSE birds aren't laying.

    Out of my flock of 43, I only have about 4 that have been granted permanent residence here, the rest will eventually go to the freezer. I just don't want to make a decision, only to find a bunch of eggs waiting to be laid when I start cleaning the hens.

    So at what point to you decide to get rid of non layers? Any tips on figuring out who isn't laying if they are all laying the same color (onr of my barred rocks had an injury, was culled, only to discover she was done laying)
     
  2. As a family we never keep a hen past 3 yrs. Spent hens go in the crock pot here even before they are spent most times. Ultimately you have to decide your hens timelines. Most of our hatchery chicks taper off after 2.5 yrs. And because we like chicken meat we "do the deed".

    Wish ha the best.
     
  3. KelsiNS

    KelsiNS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    that's what I was curious about-I have hatchery stock and was wondering what the laying expectancy usually is for them. I am shocked to learn that my leghorn isn't laying, but my barred rocks are still chugging along.
     
  4. Most of my white leghorns quit laying rather abruptly. My Barred rocks tend to last longer at laying. That is a trend that I have experienced.
     
  5. JJSS89

    JJSS89 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 14, 2014
    E Washington
    Indeed. The harder they lay, the quicker they stop and the more abrupt they stop.

    I have a rooster that is 16 years old. He has a few hens that are 8 and 9 years old and last year they both laid several clutches of eggs, he is still fathering chicks at that age! Of course those hens only lay 25-30 eggs a year now but you'll never see a big layer last even 1/4 that long.

    On the other hand you can have a Red Star Pullet that will lay 250-280 eggs a year but by the end of the 2nd year, she is all but done for. The production model hens at 2 years old look like a heritage hen at 6 year old.
     
  6. Fentress

    Fentress Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Commercial producers only use pullets. One year and they are history. They will not keep them through their first molt. So in general, chickens bred to maximize egg production will peak early and then tail off quickly. A more dual purpose breed like a Barred Rock, should produce for a longer period; however, the heritage breeds you get from the commercial hatcheries have been crossed and bred to be layers in my opinion. So it all depends, not just on what breed you have, but how has that strain been bred. The 3 year rule for dp hatchery stock is probably a good rule of thumb.
     
  7. JJSS89

    JJSS89 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Agreed, I meant actual heritage birds. Not just the heritage names like "Barred Rock, Rhode Island Reds" etc.
     

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