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Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by zippychickens, Mar 30, 2008.
I'm new to the "chicken business" and I am wondering at what age do hens stop laying eggs?
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.
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.
When it's UNDER the hill...
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.
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.
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.
Quote:That is a good question. Now that there have been a few answers on that, when are they too old to eat?
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!
when she gets to the other side
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.