Age Chickens Start Laying Eggs, Although recent events have only accelerated the trend toward city dwellers, urban gardeners, and suburbanites raising their own chickens, it is risky to purchase any animal based solely on fashion or whim.
The chickens will probably live happily ever after, and those who only purchased them as a diversion while cooped up at home will find themselves with a new issue—a chicken coop full of chickens they no longer desire. What is the lifespan of chickens?Keeping chickens requires a significant investment in infrastructure and planning, as anyone who has started a backyard poultry business can attest. They are typically more challenging to rehome than a cat or dog that can be donated to a shelter or left there.
As a result, anyone considering raising chickens at home should consider both how they will care for them and how long they are willing to do so. They might discover that chickens live longer than they can keep them healthy.
Age Chickens Start Laying Eggs
Do chickens live a long time?
How long chickens live is a question that is incredibly difficult to definitively answer. Even with the best precautions, an egg-laying hen could at any time pass away from a disease, acquire a parasite, or be killed by a predator who enters a small hole in the chicken coop.
Living conditions and numerous other variables, such as genetics, can also affect life expectancy, which chicken owners are unable to take into account. However, based on breed, size, and laying capacity, there are a few constants that enable us to estimate the general life expectancy of a hen.
Similar to dogs
Smaller chickens live longer than bigger or even giant ones. The reason for this is that dwarf and bantam birds require much less energy to maintain their body mass than, say, Brahma hens. As a result, their bodies exert less effort and degrade more gradually.
If given proper care, many bantam birds can live for ten years or longer. However, there are breed-specific differences that can truly make a difference.
The biggest determinant of a chicken’s lifespan and the most accurate predictor of their natural lifespan is likely breed variation. Many heritage breeds can live for nearly eight years and are comparatively hardy and durable.
Conversely, birds selected for particular traits or high-production hybrids will typically live shorter lives. One reason for this is that when humans selectively breed for one trait, like high egg production or gorgeous feathers, they frequently end up with other traits as a byproduct.
This could include a propensity for illness or disease, both of which can drastically reduce a chicken’s lifespan.
Egg production is the third factor that has the biggest impact on the lifespan of chickens. A chicken that lays five or six eggs per week uses up a lot of energy and nutrients to produce those eggs, just like larger birds need more energy and their bodies need to work harder to stay alive.
The best care and diet in the world won’t be enough to make up for this forever, and at some point, the chicken is more likely to live to be four or five years old rather than eight or nine. Matilda, the oldest chicken in history and previous world record holder, is perhaps the best example of this idea. At the ripe old age of 16, she passed away in 2006 without ever laying a single egg.
There are some exceptions to this rule, such as the aforementioned Rhode Island Red, which are dependable egg layers with a long lifespan. However, even among reds, production strain hens have shorter lifespans than their heritage strain counterparts of the same breed. High-production hybrid egg layers typically have the shortest lifespans, whereas hens that lay the fewest eggs have the longest lifespans.
The lifespans of roosters are the final topic to discuss when addressing the question of how long chickens live. Even though they are of the same breed and live in the same conditions as hens, they are typically shorter. This contradicts the average chicken’s lifespan that we outlined above. Hens typically live longer than roosters, who don’t typically live very long.
How long do chickens take to lay an egg?
That raises the question of how long a healthy hen will continue to lay eggs. The majority of hens begin laying at about 18 months of age, but they typically stop laying as they get older.
Again, breeds can differ significantly from one another, as can individual chickens. Since the two are typically mutually exclusive, the crucial decision is once again whether to prioritize high production or a longer laying period.
The issue is that backyard chicken keepers frequently have very different expectations of their hens than do those who work in the egg-laying industry. Industrial chicken producers seek out animals that can lay eggs as quickly as humanly possible.
This indicates that a large number of production birds, particularly modern hybrid hens, lay nearly every day for 18 to 2 years before stopping or drastically reducing output. When it comes to backyard chickens and homesteaders who want a consistent supply of eggs over a number of years, this is less than ideal. It’s fine for an industrial setup where the bird can simply be replaced once she stops laying eggs.
Backyard chicken keepers
For backyard chicken keepers, there are middle-ground options, like a production strain of a heritage breed. These birds continue to lay eggs frequently, but they will outlive hybrids in terms of both egg production and overall lifespan and expectancy.
The number of years high-production egg-laying chickens can lay eggs will likely double to three or four years just by switching from industrial hybrid breeds to a heritage production strain. Pure heritage breeds or infrequent layers, as opposed to those with abundant egg-laying abilities, will likely continue to produce the longest at five to ten years.
Raw data, however, does not provide the full picture. “Five years of production” does not imply that the hen has laid the same number of eggs over the course of five years as she did when she was just two years old. Aging (even gracefully) means slowing down, as anyone with aches and pains can attest, and this is also true for hens and their egg-laying.
The majority of hens lay more eggs during their first year of production and fewer eggs the following year. They will eventually stop producing eggs entirely after their production has steadily decreased.
If You Can’t Keep Your Hens, Do This
Sometimes it can become necessary to find a new home for their flock, even for people who adore their birds and are ready to care for them for at least 15 years. Maybe someone wanted to try keeping chickens but realized it wasn’t for them. Rehoming chickens is challenging in either case.
Your best bet is probably a nearby farm that already raises chickens extensively, a place where incorporating your flock into the mix won’t necessitate significant calculations changes. To find people who might be looking for a few more hens or at the very least willing to take on a few more, conduct an online search or get in touch with the local chicken-keeping community.
A farm-specific animal rescue is probably the last resort if that doesn’t work. There might be organizations in your area that specialize in rescuing and rehoming unwanted livestock, but the local animal shelter is probably not equipped to care for a flock of chickens. They could be turned into meat birds if no one will take them on.
The main lesson here is that raising chickens is not something you should do on a whim. Chickens cannot be put in the basement when you no longer want to deal with them, unlike DIY projects that you will never finish, and because of their lifespan, you are obligated to keep them for at least ten years. Knowing this in advance gives you a realistic starting point, and you can get ready for a flock that will live a long, healthy life.
FAQ Age Chickens Start Laying Eggs
By breed, what age do chickens begin to lay eggs?
Depending on the breed, chickens typically begin laying eggs at 6 months of age. Breeds such as Australorps, Leghorns, Golden Comets, and Sex Links begin laying as early as weeks. Breeds that are larger and heavier, such as Wyandottes, Plymouth Rocks, and Orpingtons, will lay eggs for six to eight months.
How do you know when a chicken will start laying eggs?
Mike says to gently feel around the vent to determine whether the hen is laying eggs. When the hen is in lay, the area will feel inflated. She may not be laying and may have an illness like egg peritonitis if the area feels taut or the bird appears ill.
How can I get my chickens to start laying eggs?
The lengthening of the day is a major factor in encouraging hens to lay eggs. Laying hens need at least 16 hours of light and 8 hours of darkness to perform at their best. If your hen reaches the age of 18 weeks in the fall or winter, when the number of daylight hours is reduced, you might want to think about adding extra lighting to the coop.
What foods encourage chickens to lay more eggs?
Mealworms are a treat that will encourage your hens to lay more eggs. Shells and eggs Greens. Fruit and watermelon Asian Beetles. safflower seeds Grain Scratch. Broken Corn item of interest
How can you tell if a chicken is content?
High vigor: Happy chickens are social and inquisitive, and they should be able to move around the coop, run, or backyard with ease. Lack of movement, a hunched posture, and a generally downcast appearance could indicate a problem.
Do hens produce eggs at night?
Do hens produce eggs at night? The simple answer to this query is “no.” We might have been misled by films like Chicken Run to think that lots of hens spend the night in their nesting boxes, gently easing an egg out of its vent while they sleep.
How long do pet chickens live?
The average chicken lives between years, though there are large variations in chicken lifespans. However, they might live even longer with the best care. A chicken can certainly live for years if it is protected from predators (including dogs) and doesn’t have any genetic problems.