Quality of Eggs from Older Hens


In the Brooder
11 Years
Apr 9, 2008
Byron, IL
I was contacted on our eggs for sale, and the person asked the age of my hens. He said he wouldn't buy eggs from hens over two years old since the quality isn't as good. Huh?? My hens will be two this April. I thought the quality was the same, but that they will start laying less eggs. Anyone have any ideas on this?
I think he has listened to the story about laying houses replacing hens as they become 2 year olds, and applied it to every hen.
If you get the chance to speak with him again, I would ask why he thought that way, and then educate him. (nicely of course).

As far as the quality of the eggs from my hens that are 2 years of age or older, I can't see, taste, or tell any difference in fertility.
My older hens lay a larger more evenly shaped egg, just not as many of them.

He probably thinks you need to have a rooster to get a hen to lay an egg, too.

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I've not heard this before...interesting. Alan, where is your information on the subject from? I'd love to read & know why this happens, if it's true.
Are they any more or less fertile as they age?
I have a pair of quite old CooCoo Marans, and a sweet old CooCoo Roo...
I was gonna see what they can 'do' this year...
they are off of laying for now, but I figure they will start up again soon, so gotta get the frizzle outta there (he's a black roo I think maybe a silkie frizzle, has one of those pea combs... )
then, I will incubate a few eggs.... and see!
I read it long ago in one of the old poultry books I'd buy through ABE Books. Several of them discussed it.

But here is a URL that I just came across in a thread here today:

Ageing of bird - Keep flock age as low as economically possible.

Naturally some birds will show it before others. I can tell when my oldest hen lays. The shell quality is never very good, but it's always a jumbo sized egg.

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Thanks for your replies! That was an interesting link Alan. I guess I'll just have to see what happens as they get older. I bet they'll still be better than the grocery store eggs though!
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Interesting read.

I still haven't seen anything like that in any of my older hens. I had hens that were the only ones free ranging and they were over 5 years old and their eggs were always in good shape. Never any runny whites and the yolk would stand up and not be flat at all.

Maybe the free ranging was the difference. I'll have to read more on that website.

Thanks for the info Alan...more stuff to learn!

I havn't experienced any problems with the eggs from older hens. In fact, most of my layers are older. I add 1-3 hens to my flock per year, and my flock right now is about 18 hens. So you see, many of my layers are "elderly". Most of the eggs from my flock would stack up to inspection compared to a factory egg. Better whites, high, round orange yolks, good hard shells.
I use Optimum Egg Quality: A Practical Approach for my egg reference, but I think they base their information on commercial laying hens. Not sure though because there is no reference as to what breeds they are getting their information from or if their info is from all breeds. The helpful guide advises culling hens on many occasions that a young pullet can mature out of, but this is a good practice for commercial producers so that they keep only the best laying hens at all times. But, it is not necessarily good for the small flock owner, due to the fact that each pullet/hen that is culled for a few poor quality eggs (which could improve) would be more costly than to wait a short period for approval. Commercial layers have been breed for exceptional egg laying ability that can/does shorten their (egg laying) lives. I see nothing wrong will anyone completely replacing their hens after 1-2 years of age, but not everyone can do this.
I have noticed a slight difference with the eggs that come from my Game poultry vs my Standard poultry. My games' egg quality stays very high even in my 8 year old hens vs slight (hardly even noticeable) decline in my 4 year old standard production hens. My standards all still have a very full yolk and maybe 1-5 eggs out of every 100 off of one hen to have any signs of a runny white. But the whites of the 1-5 eggs are never very runny, they just look more like store bought eggs. This is just from my experience. I am not an egg expert and I don't own any fancy high tech equipment. I applaud all those that can mass produce eggs, meat, and etc.
I do think that http://www.thepoultrysite.com/publications/1/egg-quality-handbook is a great guide for all.

Thanks A.T. Hagan for pointing out the site and I think now I will try to research more. You have now got me curious.
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