When to order replacements?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by sadies0111, Nov 19, 2011.

  1. sadies0111

    sadies0111 Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 18, 2010
    I have 4 hens that are around 1 year old, and they started laying 7 or 8 months ago. They laid very regularly until the last couple weeks. I am wondering when should I order new replacements for my layers? What is the average number of seasons that they lay regularly? If it helps, I have 2 barred rocks, 1 brown leghorn, and 1 black austrolorp. I just don't know if I should get chicks in the spring so they can start laying around this time next year, or will my current girls have another season or two in them before they start to slow down in their egg production? Thanks for the advice!
  2. thekid

    thekid Chillin' With My Peeps

    I would order at about 1.5 years old, chickens slow down laying at age two so that the chicks you get start to lay at about 5 months and then your old chickens would be two years old.
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    There is no hard and fast rule. The birds will lay OK through their third year, if that matters to you. The out years will be slower, slower, but they'll still lay.

    However, the only way to have eggs when the older flock goes thru their late summer/early fall moult and down time is to always have first year pullets coming on line.
    Thus, if a constant supply of eggs is important, I suggest folks always have a few early spring chicks each year. It's harder to do with very small flocks. With a flock of 30 hens, one can rotate in 8-10 new pullets each year and cull 8-10 older birds each year.

    There is no single, right way of managing this.
  4. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    If you surf around the threads, you will find that many chickens have slowed down laying in the last few weeks. This is due to shorter daylight hours, as well a colder temps (they use more energy to keep warm). Your birds are young and will lay well for at least another year.
  5. homesteadapps

    homesteadapps Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 8, 2010
    18 months for maximum productivity -- comet/red star type of chicken.

    I had viewed a chart recently that clearly shows how production begins to decline after 18 months. You won't really notice too much unless your keeping records.

    With that said, they will still lay for several years, but with declining egg production.
  6. Animalian

    Animalian Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2011
    my rir and faverolle laid almost every day for 1.5years, slowed down (1-2 eggs per week) for a few months, so I got a pair of new pullets. As soon as the pullets started laying the hens started again (daily egg) within a week. It was like competition or something... maybe pheremones given off by the pullets got the older girls systems going.

    The faverolle unfortunatly met her end but the RIR is still going, an egg almost every day and she's 3yrs old now!

    If you can recognise your hens eggs you might be able to select who is still laying well and keep them, maybe even hatch some eggs out of them to get some long laying chicks?
    I have heard of people squirting food dye into their vent, so when they lay the egg is coloured, proving that that hen still lays.

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