Three year old hens. Past high production?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bucolic beauty, Jul 8, 2011.

  1. bucolic beauty

    bucolic beauty Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 16, 2011
    Drain, OR
    Nearly two months ago, my husband and I bought eight 3 year old hens to hold us over in eggs until our pullets start laying. The gentleman selling them wanted to find them new homes because he had plans of starting a new flock and didn't want to have to deal with new and old flock issues. I do know that most hens have reached the end of their high production days at two years of age but we figured three years isn't that old and that between eight of them, they would provide us with enough eggs for our family of four. We did ask if they were still laying and he chuckled and said, "Oh, yeah." I also peeked into their nesting boxes, counted six eggs and had high hopes. It's been almost two months and we're barely getting a dozen a week. I know they need to time to adjust to their new surroundings but I figured two months is ample time. They eat layer feed, crushed oyster shells, some kitchen scraps(never any bread), free-range from eleven am until they put themselves to bed at night. They aren't molting, they get along great with the younger flock, it isn't too hot(in the seventies), have access to plenty of fresh water and still nothing more than 1-3 eggs a day(most days are 2 and a couple of days are zero). They are two Easter Eggers, two RIRs, two Red Stars and two some type of unidentified(to me)red sex-link. The Easter Eggers and the RIRs are definitely laying but I do believe that the sex-links are not. We've wondered if they've been laying their eggs elsewhere since they do free-range most of the day so we tried keeping them in all day and it still made no difference. Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2011
  2. bucolic beauty

    bucolic beauty Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 16, 2011
    Drain, OR
    Well, they popped out four today which is a huge improvement from the usual two. They probably won't lay at all tomorrow. [​IMG] Ah, well. It is what it is.
     
  3. briteday

    briteday Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2008
    Northern NV
    It seems that you essentially have 4 sexlink hybrids (red stars ans stated sexlinks) so they are way past their prime of laying, which peaks around 18 months. I'll bet the RIR's are doing most of the laying. And you should be able to tell if the EE's are laying, if they lay a color other than brown eggs.
     
  4. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Mine are two, and I've already warned DH that our egg production will begin tapering off by next Fall. However, I would still expect at least two eggs a week from the breeds you mentioned (as well as my breeds). I'm wondering if they could be older than he led you to believe???
     
  5. Jeffross1968

    Jeffross1968 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2011
    Smoky Mountains
    I believe at 3 years I've read they are probably past peak, but chickens can lay much further into life than that. I just spent about 10 minutes trying to find a graph that I saw a week ago, but couldn't. It was very generalized of course, and wasn't breed specific, but showed that a healthy hen can easily lay for 5 plus years, with decreasing levels of production after about the age of 2.
     
  6. poseygrace

    poseygrace Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 29, 2011
    Georgia
    Could just be they are still adjusting. I have had two 18-month old Wyandottes for over two months and haven't gotten a single egg, except the first day they were here (they both laid the first day only!) I think they are just taking their time adjusting. Maybe yours are too?
     
  7. bucolic beauty

    bucolic beauty Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 16, 2011
    Drain, OR
    Thanks, guys. After all my moaning and groaning, we ended up getting 5 eggs! Which means we probably won't get any for the next few days. [​IMG]I was giddy. And yes, the Easter Eggers are definitely laying. One of them is absolutely huge - I swear she's 10 pounds or more - and lays big, beautiful pale blue eggs. The other lays medium sized, gorgeous sage green eggs that have a very thick shell. I believe the RIRs are responsible for the large, oval-shaped reddish brown eggs and that the sex-links lay the occasional medium-sized light brown and very round eggs.
     

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