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Productive years and beyond

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SteveBaz, Sep 3, 2011.

  1. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 6, 2011
    Pacific North West
    For how many years is a chicken productive?
    From age 6 months until ?
    After the chicken has stopped producing eggs what?
    Do you slaughter the bird for food?
    Do you keep it as a pet in the home until its life span ends?
    Is there places to take older no egg laying birds?
    Do older chickens get diseases that make them sickly as they get mature?
    Are there signs of old age in chickens that are visible?
    Any pictures of what a very old chicken looks like?

    Share any thoughts or experiences please,

    Steve
     
  2. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

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    My Coop
    I have a New Hampshire Red who is laying every few days and she is around 5 years old. When she stops laying she will be a pet. Non production breeds may not lay every single day their first year, but they may lay for a longer period of their life.
     
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Steve, many of your questions depend upon breed selected.

    Typical, full sized, full bodied mainline breeds will lay well enough for 4 years (3-5 eggs per week) and then, frankly, it can slow down, but laying will often continue. This is a management decision the flock keeper needs to make. Do I continue to feed her for only an egg or two per week?

    A dual purpose bird, described above, can then fulfill its other purpose, and that is for food. Cooked slowly, an older hen can make terrific pulled chicken and the broth/stock is out of this world.

    Or, you can give/sell them to others who will do the deed for you. There are always appreciative families around that really need the food.

    If you select a "production" breed, such as Leghorn, Red Sex Link, or ISA Brown you won't ever get a full meaty body, but they can still be stewed or made into soup.
    These breeds are primarily known for quick and abundant laying, (6+ eggs per week) but are also known to taper off severely after only two or three years. Flock owners of these birds tend to turn them over every few years.

    As for keeping birds as pets, yes, some choose to do that as well. This is the divide between a livestock versus pets points of view.
     
  4. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,130
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    Aug 6, 2011
    Pacific North West
    Fred's Hens :

    Steve, many of your questions depend upon breed selected.

    Typical, full sized, full bodied mainline breeds will lay well enough for 4 years (3-5 eggs per week) and then, frankly, it can slow down, but laying will often continue. This is a management decision the flock keeper needs to make. Do I continue to feed her for only an egg or two per week?

    A dual purpose bird, described above, can then fulfill its other purpose, and that is for food. Cooked slowly, an older hen can make terrific pulled chicken and the broth/stock is out of this world.

    Or, you can give/sell them to others who will do the deed for you. There are always appreciative families around that really need the food.

    If you select a "production" breed, such as Leghorn, Red Sex Link, or ISA Brown you won't ever get a full meaty body, but they can still be stewed or made into soup.
    These breeds are primarily known for quick and abundant laying, (6+ eggs per week) but are also known to taper off severely after only two or three years. Flock owners of these birds tend to turn them over every few years.

    As for keeping birds as pets, yes, some choose to do that as well. This is the divide between a livestock versus pets points of view.

    Thank you for you answers I found it very well put and informative.

    Steve​
     

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