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How many years do chickens lay eggs?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I was thinking it was around 3 years or so?? We'd like to get some chickens for eggs, but only about 3 or 4, and I wouldn't want to just keep buying more when the older ones quit laying.... What have you all done? Oh, and I think they'd be pets by then, so we wouldn't really want to kill them...

Thanks!
post #2 of 12
They lay pretty consistently for about 3 years, then peter off. I had a 7 year old hen who was still laying a few times a month. My hen house is starting to look like a retirement home for poultry because there is no way I could eat my old ladies.
post #3 of 12
could you keep a rooster to fertilize some of the eggs to keep a fresh supply of new layers? If you don't need so many chickens, maybe you could borrow a rooster from a nearby farmer to get a new batch of chicks when you need it.
post #4 of 12
My hennies are 3 years and they are still laying fine in the summer months. I have been wanting some baby chicks to replace them and it has been quite a saga. First I asked my neighbor if her rooster could come over to visit my hens, but she said he was too "precious" ( she's wacky). Then, I traded her eggs for her chicken eggs. My broody hen sat on them but not one hatched. Next, I went against my better judgment and took a rooster when another neighbor offered us one. Rusty was a lovely rooster, but within a couple weeks he began to attack me every time I gathered eggs. When he pecked my little dd, I knew he had to go. :

So, in the spring I plan on buying fertilized eggs. It's a bit expensive, but far, far better than the trouble of a rooster!!!
post #5 of 12
I have way too many roosters, so now worries about chicks. Except that when you hatch eggs you get half hens and half roosters. I had 10 chicks hatched this summer and 5 are definately little roosters. Easiest thing to do is buy sexed chicks from a hatchery (you can get them shipped in the mail). Problem is you have to get a minimum of 25 chicks and if you don't want or need that many I would find someone (or a few someones) to split an order with.
post #6 of 12
We found out that an organic chicken farmer (egg farmer) is required to get rid of his birds every year...he gave us 10 hens that had only been laying for about 11 months and they are going strong. He was happy to give them to us.

It might be worth checking around your area to see if this could work for you. It is less expensive to get hens already laying, and you have eggs right away.
post #7 of 12
my ladies are between 5 and 6 years old. they haven't been laying for around 8 months because of our move. they really lived in the lap of luxury in town, and once out here their pen got smaller (but much more secure) and they had to bed down in *gasp* a dog (lowly dogs ) carrier for a while until we built their hen house. a week or two ago there was one, lone egg in the straw of the hen house! surprising especially since it is so cold out and the days are so short. that was a vote of confidence in the new hen house! "I'm so comfy, I think I'll lay an egg despite it being winter!"

I plan on ordering up some chicks this spring. *gulp* 25 of them, the minimum order. I could never eat my girls; they'll be with us until they go to the Big Hen House in the Sky. Laying or not, they've got a place here. I wish I had more room, or could not order as many chicks (who am I kidding? I want all those super-cool breeds!), enabling me to get a few new chicks every spring, thus keeping a good crop of layers at all times, vs. a few years of good egg supply followed by a slacking off as they age, then a new crop of layers, and so on. Maybe I'll try to search out someone who wants to split a hatchery order with me.

I thought once we were out here, rural, that I would get a roo right away. But it is so quiet, I am hesitant to shatter that. There is a good possibility that DH would be quite unhappy with the crowing, as well. I might order a straight run of some bantams; if I get a roo, I get one. Are the bantams any quieter than a regular-sized rooster?
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by sierratahoe
I thought once we were out here, rural, that I would get a roo right away. But it is so quiet, I am hesitant to shatter that. There is a good possibility that DH would be quite unhappy with the crowing, as well. I might order a straight run of some bantams; if I get a roo, I get one. Are the bantams any quieter than a regular-sized rooster?
Off topic!
I would never recommend getting a rooster because my experience was so bad. Our beautiful rooster began attacking me soon after he joined our family and then our dds! There are nice roosters, but the odds of getting one seem low.

Good luck!
post #9 of 12
Bantam roosters are just as loud as regular sized roosters- and if you get straight run half will be roosters, so I would go for the sexed pullets of a normal sized breed. Unless you have a hankering for eating a lot of tiny chicken breasts!

I have 9 rooster right now (out of 27 chickens . They all get along fine and don't dare look at a human sideways. I handle them a lot, starting from when they are chicks. When one starts getting an attitude I put him on a leash or carry him around to embarass him in front of the hens.
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by pygmywombat
When one starts getting an attitude I put him on a leash or carry him around to embarass him in front of the hens.
That's fantastic and hilarious!!
post #11 of 12
I'm LOL about the leased rooster.

Where do you order the chicks from online?

Any good sites on building a great hen house?
post #12 of 12
There are a zillion hatcheries out there. I like to order from one that is in my state or at least close by so the chicks aren't in the mail for as long. Google chick hatchery + your state and see what pops up.
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