When do hens stop laying?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by cupman, Apr 29, 2012.

  1. cupman

    cupman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2011
    Portland, OR
    I saw something on the news that talked about backyard chickens and they said most hens stop laying by three years. I did a Google search and I'm getting such diverse answers from 2 years until early teens. I've only had my hens for 1 year and I was curious when they will stop.
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    You'll get lots of answers because there are so many variables.
    When you hear that they lay a couple of years, that information stems from commercial production where most facilities get about 18 months of lay and slaughter because it isn't economically competitive to carry them through a molt.
    Then there are the egg hybrids that many backyarders are now getting from farm and home stores. They'll kick out the majority of their eggs in the first 3 years but if not butchered then, they'll continue to lay sporadically for a while.
    Then there's the heritage breeds like Orps, JGs, Rocks, dominiques, etc. that, given good health, will continue to lay for up to 10 years.
    Every hen (like mammals) is born with a finite number of eggs. If she remains healthy she'll lay a long time but after each molt she'll lay fewer and larger eggs generally speaking till they lay rarely.
    One just has to determine when it's no longer feasible to feed them for the number of eggs produced.
    1 person likes this.
  3. DamselinFlannel

    DamselinFlannel Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 9, 2012
    Coulterville, Illinois
    Thanks for asking this, I've been wondering the same thing! I'm hoping to keep mine for a good long time.... And introduce new hens every couple of years to keep the ages and productivity staggered.
  4. ScottM

    ScottM Chillin' With My Peeps

    Usually about the time henopause sets in.

  5. Country4ever

    Country4ever Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 26, 2007
    My hens will be 9 years old in a month. I thought they were done last year, but early this spring, 2 of them started laying alot.
    2 years ago I had a coon attack and they almost stopped laying for over a year. But so far this spring, I've had the 2 hens lay about 2 dozen eggs already. You just never know.

    Stress, attacks, illness, heat, cold........so many things can affect their laying. I also have never given them artificial lighting. I think them having a break every late Fall/early winter has allowed them to lay longer.
    But I'm totally enjoying what eggs they're willing to give me now!
    I've also noticed that early spring is a dangerous time for them, in terms of their egg-laying causing physical problems for them.

    Hey Scott.........you stole my "henopause" term. hahahaha
  6. Alabama ee

    Alabama ee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2010
    I have one hen that is over 3..I think she is 4 years old. She lays an egg a day. Every once in a while she will miss, but not often. She also,
    stops laying around Oc/Nov for about 1 1/2 to two months when she molts. She is an EE. The others her age also layed the same(until
    a dog attack in Feb. when they were lost ) She lays better than some of my one year old birds. I think it has to do a lot with each bird
    and their breeding.

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