Can chickens be a boy

The productive chicken

With good husbandry and appropriate laying performance, chickens can sometimes get very old. Some reference books even put the maximum chicken age at up to 50 years. However, the “normal” age for chickens is around 5 to 9 years, provided they have reached this blessed age and do not end up on the plate beforehand. But how long do chickens lay eggs?

In view of this rather short chicken life, it is not surprising that the laying performance of chickens declines noticeably at the tender age of two. Then there is no longer an egg (almost) every day! But what happens to the chicken when it gets old?

How long do chickens lay eggs?

How many eggs and how long chickens lay depends largely on the breed of chicken. Food plays a lesser role here than is often assumed.

Laying performance of the chickens

  • Hybrid chickens: Hybrid breeds that were bred for the pure laying performance bring good yields all year round, but provide the Egg production almost completely ceases at the age of two.
  • Pedigree chickens: The situation is different with the so-called "old races". They don't have as high an egg production as their hybrid counterparts, but they lay significantly longer than they do - sometimes even longer than three years.

Our tip

In order to avoid the problem of the sudden lack of eggs in hobby chicken keeping, it is therefore advisable to keep different breeds on the one hand and to distribute the age group of the chickens sensibly on the other.

When do chickens lay eggs?

When chickens lay eggs depends on the breed, the feed and the time of year. Under ideal conditions, young chickens will lay eggs from 20 to 22 weeks of age.

Conditions that affect the start of laying:

  • Chicken breed: Pre-mature chicken breeds such as Bresse and Araucans lay their first egg at 20 weeks of age. Brahma hens, on the other hand, usually do not lay until they are 6-9 months old.
  • Season: If the brood takes place late in the year, as is often the case with natural brood, the calculated start of laying sometimes falls in late autumn. Especially when the temperatures have already dropped significantly and the days are getting shorter, some chickens do not start laying until the following spring.
  • Lining: High quality chick feed in the first few days makes the difference here. If the chicks are optimally nourished in the first 1-2 weeks and grow up quickly, this also affects the start of laying.

The average laying performance of the chickens?

Hybrid chickens that are kept in air-conditioned chicken coops for egg production lay in the Up to 300 eggs a year. One chicken egg can therefore be expected almost every day.

Pedigree chickens in hobby keeping are exposed to greater adversity. Heat in summer, icy cold in winter, rainy weather and short days during the winter months. In private hobby keeping there is therefore an average laying performance of 140 to 180 eggs a year common. While the chickens lay an egg almost every day in summer, the laying performance drops significantly or goes out completely in winter. In the spring the chickens start again and can then show a good laying performance.

But what happens to the chicken when it gets old and stops laying eggs?

What comes after the egg?

If chickens belong to the "scrap heap" and no longer lay, they are nevertheless by no means useless. Certainly it is not in the endeavor of the chicken keeping to open a retirement home for chickens and thus the time comes for a chicken at some point when it has to say goodbye to this world. As a rule, this is around two to three years old, just when the laying performance drops. However, at this age, chickens are only suitable for soup, they no longer make a tender, crispy chicken.

Slaughter chickens

Chicken keepers who allow their chickens to chuckle don't have to wait long for offspring. Even the fear of the future supply of fresh breakfast eggs, once the chickens get old, is eliminated. After all, you can easily produce the future egg suppliers yourself.

The only problem is that a mother hen does not only hatch the eggs from which the hens later hatch. In fact, a chicken clutch contains about half of male offspring and half of female chicks.

In industrial laying hen breeding, unlike in hobby chicken farming, the male chicks are not used and are killed immediately after hatching. They are useless because they do not lay eggs and they are also useless for meat production, as there are already special breeds that are designed for rapid growth and a high meat content.

A hobby chicken farmer will hardly have the heart to kill the beeping male fluff balls immediately after they hatch. It doesn't have to, because they are ideal for use as a crispy chicken.

At around 6 to 9 months of age they are ready for slaughter and - in contrast to their industrial brothers, who are slaughtered at the tender age of 4 weeks - enjoy a long life until then. By the way, nobody has to slaughter themselves these days! There are numerous contact points for this, especially in rural areas, that do this deadly job at moderate prices.

How old do chickens get?

Scholars still argue about how old chickens can actually get to this day. In technical books you can often read about chickens up to 50 years old. For domestic chickens, however, the "common" age is around 5 to 9 years. Depending on how they are kept and what laying performance they have to provide. So it is completely normal and no need to worry that the laying performance will noticeably decrease from the age of around two years. After all, the chicken already belongs to the "old iron".