Struggling with aging hens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by MontanaMomma, May 7, 2011.

  1. MontanaMomma

    MontanaMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 7, 2008
    My four Leghorn hens are two years old now. For the past few months (cold, dark winter months included) I get one egg a day, two if I'm lucky. That isn't enough to keep my family in supply and I am limited to a small flock. I am struggling with the decision to give away my hens, for the butcher block, and start my flock over, or wait until they die on their own or whatever. I thought they would lay for much longer when I got into this biz. Any insight? [​IMG]
     
  2. Sheepy

    Sheepy Out Of The Brooder

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    May 20, 2009
    I'm reaching the same problem!
     
  3. tinydancer87

    tinydancer87 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 5, 2011
    SE Georgia
    Hmmmmm....I have a 7 year old EE hen that has just this year slowed down to 2-3 eggs a week.
     
  4. andalusn

    andalusn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 6, 2009
    Ridgefield, WA
    Given the limitations on some flock sizes I wondered how folks would handle this issue. So many breeds sort of burn out at about 2 yrs. Many informational links say heritage breeds lay better into old age than production breeds and sexlinks etc. I have 2 dominique hens that I think are older and they lay about 2 eggs a week. I am lucky in that I can have as many as I like so these to favorite hens can hang around and lay whatever they like for me. That's a tough decision to have to make. Maybe there is a heritage farm in your area that likes hens as window dressing around the grounds. We have a few places like that here.
     
  5. embrown

    embrown Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 18, 2009
    I just came on to research the same issue. I have 3 Bared rocks, and 2 Isa Browns. The one Isa lays daily and there is one br that seems to lay occasionally. Had one br prolapse, then get egg bound so I forced a molt in her, so I can accept that she is not ready to lay yet. But, the others are slacking. The coop is clean, we feed primarily layer crumbles, (Layena)), and one egg is pretty much what I am getting. I love my birds, but I can only have five and I need the eggs. I suppose there may be some sort of random...I can't figure it out...stress, because one hen has gotten her head pecked and is bald. But, these are the same hens I have had for 2 years, the same coop, the same lighting, the same space, everything has recently been completely cleaned, everyone seems really healthy. So, what to do. What can I do. I have a pecked hen and no eggs. The only change is one hen is removed to force her molt and help her recover from the prolapse and egg bound problems, but she was probably the bully of the group. No one is brudy, no one is sick, no one is molting, so I am at a loss.
     
  6. whiteflare

    whiteflare Out of the blue

    Mar 13, 2011
    Sydney
    Ah, we're facing exactly the same decision now!

    After two years of constant egg-a-day laying, my two older hens just stopped cold turkey one day. Luckily, we'd bought two chicks who grew up in time to replace them. We have a very large garden, and plenty of food (we buy 35kg bags from a local store, last us a good half a year) so thought we might as well just let them die off naturally.

    We wouldn't want them to go to a new place and be locked up in a coop, because we let them free range and it'd be a big change for them, and we don't want to cull them because we've been keeping them as pets, and they have names 'n' all...
     
  7. poodlepill

    poodlepill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 27, 2010
    Southern Illinois
    Quote:I like the idea of the heritage breeds lay better into old age. Sure seems like my non production breeds (is all i have anyway) dont lay really consistantly like a production egg layger=guaranteed an egg a day. I think maybe its better to not be so consistant and lay longer into thier years. I have 40 chickens, I will need to turn over part of my flock as I cant feed chickens that arent really laying much as I do sell my eggs.
     
  8. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I would give them another month of nice weather to see if production picks up. I would think a breed like that would lay fairly well up to three years or so. Then, if you're limited on space, I would offer them up to someone for meat. Of course that may be easier said than done if you've become attached. I'm glad I have plenty of space and don't have to make those decisions.... [​IMG]
     
  9. schellie69

    schellie69 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 8, 2009
    Kansas
    I have that problem or will face that problem. My girls are still laying really well right now this will be there 2nd year. I have brought in new birds last year and this year. I have a few I will keep until they die of old age but their are some that when I know they are not laying they will become roasting birds to feed the family. I do need the eggs for the family. To the op I would give them some more time they might just need a jump start this year. I give my birds game bird feed it has 22% protein since they free range and get lots of greens it helps to keep the eggs coming I also gave them all winter off no extra lights. I have heard that after 2 years they drop off in egg laying but not completely. Good luck with what ever you choose to do.
     
  10. Lollipop

    Lollipop Chillin' With My Peeps

    When I was a kid, I bought a battery Leghorn that had quit laying. I kept her for several months and no eggs. Finally I butchered her. That hen had an egg sack as big as a golf ball and, from the develpoement going on, would have layed any day and many, many eggs. Up to you, but a 2 year old hen isn`t finished, just taking a break, as they all do...........Pop
     

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