How old is too old for a hen to sit?

Discussion in 'Broody Hens & Egg Laying' started by Thebatesfamilywe, Jun 21, 2012.

  1. Thebatesfamilywe

    Thebatesfamilywe New Member

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    My hen is around 4 years old and she will not finish sitting on her eggs, so I have stopped letting her sit. I always incubate her eggs now. :confused:At what age are they too old?
     
  2. Roslyn

    Roslyn A Round American Woman

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    I think it's up to the hen, some are good setters, some are good mothers. Some are both. It's the ones that are both that you want to set for you.
     

  3. JackAubrey

    JackAubrey New Member

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    Some breeds stop laying at 3 years, I'm told. Whether they will incubate eggs after that , I don't know. I haven't been doing this long enough to find out. To my way of thinking, an old useless hen goes in the freezer. JA
     
  4. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe New Member

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    Our oldest hen is about 3 and she still gives us 4-5 eggs a week.
     
  5. Sundancers

    Sundancers New Member

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    I think it's up to the hen also ... and I have one( and only) game hen that should have past over a few years ago. (But she is like that bunny I saw on tv once ... she keeps on ticking.)

    I steal the eggs from her each day but she will not give up... (kinda sad when I think of it.:()

    But I don't need nor want chicks right now
     
  6. Beeorganic

    Beeorganic New Member

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    Oy vey, I just give my gals 72 weeks max., regardless. If production stops sooner, they just make it into the stewing pot/canning jars quicker is all. After reading some of these posts, perhaps I should reconsider/revisit the 72 week rule.
     
  7. Sundancers

    Sundancers New Member

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    If I needed the meat it would be different but right now I'm good ... I still have 12 or so jars of chicken in the cellar. Plus the game hen was given to my son by a friend that has passed over, I will miss her when she follows. :( (What can I say...)
     
  8. jn4

    jn4 New Member

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    My neighbor sells eggs and he does the forced method to make them lay all year,(constant lighting and a diet of laying pellets or mash)...says he only gets 3 seasons of production out of a hen. I don't go that route...I let my hens lay and set as they choose to. I'm not in this for profit.

    An old black gentleman that lives down the road from me has kept birds for nearly 40 years,..he says its not uncommon for a hen to lay and set for 3 to 5 years if you let nature run its course and the birds have a good healthy diet.
    I cant vouch for that because ive only done this for a cpl years now, but what he says seems plausibly and it makes sense
     
  9. jn4

    jn4 New Member

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    As a side note...the old gentleman also told me to allow the older hens to keep a cpl eggs in the nest every so often. says that keeps them from over working by trying to produce a large clutch and allows them a rest period
     
  10. BuckeyeChickens

    BuckeyeChickens New Member

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    If I understand your post correctly, you're asking when a hen will stop "hatching" a clutch of eggs?!?! The answer to that depends on the hen and the breed (even the strain of the breed can vary)....I've had 5-6 year old Buckeye hens that would go "broody" (want to sit on eggs) but I've had 2 year old hens start sitting and mid-stream abandon the clutch of eggs.


    The comments about "laying"....if that is what the poster really was asking, is also breed and hen dependant but most hens will lay their highest number of eggs their first year of laying (not first year of life) and egg numbers decline each year as they age. Year 2 is often very close to year one but year 3 drops significantly and years 4 & 5 can be terrible in terms of egg numbers. I've had Buckeye hens as old as 7 years that were still laying but usually only a few eggs each spring (peak fertility period). I'm sure there are breeds that will lay better and some worse when they are over 2 years of age. For what it's worth our layers are "retired" after their second season unless they are exceptional breeding stock and those will be retained for 2 more seasons generally.
     
  11. DCobb

    DCobb DCobb

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    Laying hens vary in production rates based on their breed, age, housing, diet, weather and even the amount of daylight they receive. Hens have a pre-set number of eggs in their ovaries at birth, and typically, these eggs are all expended by 3 years of age. By the time a hen is 2-years-old, she's had a drop-off in the number of eggs she produces weekly. Additionally, illness can significantly alter laying frequency. For the most part, however, sporadic slowing in laying rates can be mitigated by simple flock management modifications.


    Read more: Hens Laying Eggs - How To Information | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/hens-laying-eggs/#ixzz224CPyuQt
     
  12. Kilbourne9659

    Kilbourne9659 New Member

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    they are never to old becuse i recently had a 5 year old mixed bantam hen hatch of 7.