when is a hen "over the hill"

kstaven

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Jan 26, 2007
5,927
63
293
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.
 

farm_mom

Songster
11 Years
Mar 11, 2008
396
8
138
MI
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.
 

SpottedCrow

Flock Goddess
13 Years
Jan 12, 2007
6,952
18
261
Weymouth, Massachusetts
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.
 

EggCentric

Songster
12 Years
Sep 14, 2007
352
3
139
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.
 

bills

Songster
12 Years
Jan 4, 2008
475
6
141
vancouver island
Petlove,

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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