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Author Topic: How long do chickens keep laying for?  (Read 860 times)

Justin

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Devon
How long do chickens keep laying for?
« on: May 10, 2018, 09:14:07 am »
We've had our 7 hens for 3 years now, they were all hybrids bought from a reliable source. This year, they've really slowed down their production, we're averaging 2 eggs a day from 7 hens.

They're all apparently healthy, they free range in our orchard and I wondered if they were laying up there rather than in the henhouse but they're currently in their run for a week as I'm feeding them layers pellets with flubenvet and the number they're laying hasn't changed.

Is it time they went in the pot and we bought new stock in or should they be producing more than this?
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Terry T

  • Joined Sep 2014
  • Norfolk
Re: How long do chickens keep laying for?
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2018, 09:30:02 am »
Hybrids do stop around 3 years old, we get 3 a year to compensate for this and I never have had more than 12 as they die quite young too

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: How long do chickens keep laying for?
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2018, 09:52:00 am »
Agree once they get to 3years old they tend to tail off, especially if they've been bought from a commercial farm as overyear hens. Not much good for eating either, I liken it to eating a dairy cow, not much meat on them at all.

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: How long do chickens keep laying for?
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2018, 10:12:30 am »
At the turn of last century a Frenchman studied and concluded hens only have 600 eggs to potentially lay in their lifetime. You either get them quickly with the subsequently created hybrids (over two years from point-of-lay) or get them slowly with the pedigrees of the original study and we have 8 year olds still laying.


So i would say Justin that they have simply exhausted their capability to lay and now you have the very difficult decision of either keeping them to live out their natural lives, replacing them all with young stock, adding young stock to the flock if the coop and run is big enough or creating a second flock (which would be my preference as their are potential problems mixing newly inoculated hybrids as well as integration without bullying).

bj_cardiff

  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: How long do chickens keep laying for?
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2018, 10:27:14 am »
My commercial hybrid must be around 5 and still lay, her sisters have all died and the quality of the egg she produces has fallen. They are thinner shelled and the whites are more liquid than my non commercial hybrids, who tend to reach a great old age

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: How long do chickens keep laying for?
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2018, 10:44:40 am »
Yes, as Chris says, they're like humans in that they only start off with so many eggs, and once they've all been laid, that's when they stop.


I also read something somewhere about the eggs being arranged in "strings" inside the ovary, so that when a string runs out, that's what triggers a moult, and the loading of a new string. That may be utter rubbish though (it certainly sounds a bit far fetched!). @chrismahon , do you know if there's any truth to this?
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: How long do chickens keep laying for?
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2018, 12:31:48 pm »
Sounds far fetched to me as well Womble. Eggs are on the surface of the ovary in different stages of development and the moult is seasonal. They stop laying at that time simply because they haven't the protein for eggs and feathers I believe, although our Marans simply slow down and have a very long moult but still lay every few days.

Justin

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Devon
Re: How long do chickens keep laying for?
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2018, 10:10:17 pm »
Thank you all, sounds like they're just getting old. Perhaps time to let them retire gracefully instead and buy 3 new ones this year and the same in subsequent years. They have plenty of free range space so they don't cost a lot to run :)

sabrina

  • Joined Nov 2008
Re: How long do chickens keep laying for?
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2018, 08:20:27 pm »
I have 3 old hens who must be 7 if not 8 years old. I am getting  10 eggs  a week just now.

 

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