Older birds

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by gsim, Mar 7, 2014.

  1. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    I have 5 layers around 5 years old and 5 newbies around 8 months old. The older birds had all quit laying some time before the youngsters arrived. After they were feathered out and integrated into our aging flock, the older birds began to lay now and then. That is ongoing even now. We can easily tell the difference by the numbers of eggs, often 6 or 7 in a given day. Also the older girls' eggs have thinner shells, and I have caught them on the nests numerous times.

    I wonder if others have had this experience? I realize that most poultry growers send the older girls to freezer camp when they pass their prime, [​IMG] however at 'Cluckmore House and Gardens' we do not practice age discrimination. [​IMG]

    So, are there others out there who have seen older chooks become motivated and begin to lay again? [​IMG]
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    When I finally get some quality birds I'll likely keep them much longer than I do now. At present I've never kept a bird longer than the fall of second year. For me there has to be a benefit so if they are barely laying enough to warrant feed pre winter and adult molt then that's months of feed for nothing coming and knowing after will be laying even less. With pure breeds laying is longer generally but have yet to get a good enough quality bird to keep past two years old.

    Other than good egg production the only reason I'd keep a bird past prime is if they were a good broody or they are of such exceptional quality that any eggs hatched from them are worth it plus it would be one more great looking bird in the flock. But in reality that would only give them another years stay from soup.
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I've had hatchery birds lay as old as 7 years. After age 2 they quit laying in the winter each year, but start back up in the spring and lay until the late fall. Not a high rate of production, but usually at least 3 eggs a week.

    How long had your older girls not been laying?

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by