My original flock is six years old. They are still laying regularly and are still healthy and active. I have younger hens and I just got chicks this month, but they will join my girls, not replace them.
I don't really like eggs so they are more of a bonus for my friends and family who do like them. I just really enjoy having chickens around. They are so entertaining.
My current flock is for pleasure and the eggs are a side benefit. In the future once I have my own property I plan to cull any bird that lays poorly in general or is a slow molter. When the hens are going into their 4th year of age any that don’t measure up in production will be culled. Any hens still going strong at 4 years of age will be kept for breeding and then culled when production lessens. Hens that get pet status will be kept in the main flock for life.
Your hens look ragedy because of your aggresive rooster.
I have a hen 8 years old and her feathering is beautiful.
I dont cull except excess roosters. My hens are pets to me. They supply me with eggs and enjoyment by just being.
Your chickens, your choice.
Part of my flock is 3 year old hens i rescued from a egg producer in the area. They are a joy to me. And they still lay eggs well, even through this long, long winter we are having.
No culling here for old age. Probably should that’s how I have so many birds . I only cull the oldies if they are hurt , aggressive or very sick. That goes the same for the youngsters. Plus how the hell do you know who isn’t laying? I have had one year olds slack and four year olds be consistent. There are a few times I know who lays what. Those are those of specific olive or blue colors. Someone that lays an exceptionally large egg or one always with some deposits. Other than that in this current flock I can’t tell one brown egg from the other .
I still have 3 out of my original 5 australorps that are 4 years old and they lay pretty well still. I did buy 8 new australorp chicks to add to the mix. I won't cull the older hens though. The only thing that bothers me is the winter molt and no eggs for months!