when is a hen "over the hill"

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by zippychickens, Mar 30, 2008.

  1. zippychickens

    zippychickens Songster

    Mar 22, 2008
    N. CA
    I'm new to the "chicken business" and I am wondering at what age do hens stop laying eggs?
  2. kstaven

    kstaven Crowing

    Jan 26, 2007
    BC, Washington Border
    Now that is a tough question to generalize on. Depending on breed, wether or not it is a sexlink, and the breeding line it came from can all have a drastic impact on how this would be answered.

    Having said that many GOOD heritage bred hens can go into their teens. But at that point their eggs per year is likely cut in half. Sexlinks tend to lay better for the first season or two and fade fast from there.
  3. farm_mom

    farm_mom Songster

    Mar 11, 2008
    I've got the most experience with your standard breeds. Most of the production drops significantly after the second year. We kept our most recent laying flock of Buff Orpingtons for almost 4 years. That last year (the third year) we were only getting an avg of 0-2 eggs a day from a dzn hens. But, our flock got lots of garden goodies and was free range much of the time as well. And I've been told that can affect their laying rates.
  4. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    When it's UNDER the hill...[​IMG]

    There's a gal on here that has a 16 year old chicken and she still lays on occasion...
    I have a soon to be 5 year old that's still laying.

    The first two years are the best for the hen's laying, then it declines from there.
  5. ThreeBoysChicks

    ThreeBoysChicks Songster

    Sep 19, 2007
    Thurmont, MD
    I have a 5 yr old Buff Orpington that lays pretty regurlarly and a 4 yr old Easter Egger that lays several eggs a week.
  6. EggCentric

    EggCentric Songster

    Sep 14, 2007
    Ball Ground, Ga
    My RIR hen is 3 and she only lays once in a great while. But then, my JG's are only a year, and out of 7 chickens total, I get two or three eggs a day.
  7. petlove

    petlove Songster

    Jan 27, 2008
    Skiatook, OK
    Quote:That is a good question. Now that there have been a few answers on that, when are they too old to eat?
  8. Cheryl

    Cheryl Songster

    my 9 year old white leghorn gives me one egg every other day, and I've had her for 1 week...so she wasn't even stress in the move!
  9. Nichole77

    Nichole77 Songster

    Jul 14, 2007
    when she gets to the other side:)
  10. bills

    bills Songster

    Jan 4, 2008
    vancouver island

    I imagine that you could eat an old hen at any age. It would probably be best cooked for a stew, or a soup, as I imagine they might be a tad tough. My Dad used to get stewing hens back when I was a kid, as they were very inexpensive. He often cooked them in a pressure cooker, to get them tender. He used to do mutton that way as well, to get it tender. Both tasted good from what I can remember.

    I have heard that to do a proper "coq' au vin" it was required that you use an older bird. Apparently the flavour is much better, then a younger bird.

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