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After enjoying some fresh chicken eggs in your home, you will never want to go back. Your chickens will not be able to lay eggs indefinitely though. Many people who own chickens wonder at what age do chickens stop laying eggs?
Most chicken breeds will stop laying eggs when they are six to seven years of age. Since they begin laying eggs when they are 18 weeks old, this gives you up to almost seven years of eggs. The exact amount of time can vary based on breed and health, with some laying until they are eight years old.
Chickens are able to lay an egg every 24 to 36 hours for a good part of their life. This can give you a lot of healthy and delicious eggs. Let’s take a look at how this process works and when your chickens will stop laying eggs.
What Age Do Chickens Stop Laying Eggs
Most chickens will be able to lay eggs until they are six or seven years old. This can depend on the breed that you have though. Some have shorter lifespans and may only be able to lay healthy eggs for five years. There are also certain breeds that can lay for closer to eight years long. It is a good idea to expect the chicken to lay eggs until they are six or seven years old on average though.
This assumes that the chicken is healthy too. If your chicken is not healthy and does not get the nutrition that they need, then they will either temporarily stop laying eggs or they will reach their retirement age earlier. You need to make sure that the chickens are having a diverse diet with all the nutrition that they need each day to stay healthy.
Keep in mind that most chickens are going to take a natural break during the year from laying eggs. When you start to enter winter and the amount of daylight decreases, the hens may decide to stop laying as many eggs to conserve energy. In late summer and early fall, the chickens will molt their feathers to get new ones. This can also take energy so they may have a sudden stop in laying eggs.
This does not mean they are done for good. It is usually a temporary stop to conserve energy. Once the chicken gets used to the winter months or is done with molting, then they will go back to laying eggs every 24 to 36 hours.
How Many Years Do Chickens Lay Eggs?
Most healthy hens will start to lay their first egg when they are 18 weeks old. They can then lay an egg each day after that point. This means that within the first year of laying eggs, you can expect close to 250 eggs from a healthy chicken.
You might also be interested to know the 10 best egg-laying chickens
Chickens will slowly start to see a decrease in how many eggs they will be able to lay each year. This starts out slow so you will not notice a big difference right away. However, most hens will stop producing eggs when they are around six or seven years old.
I also wrote an article that answers; How Long Does it Take for a Chicken to Grow which goes into detail about a chicken’s life cycle, including egg-laying maturity and how long it lasts for. Worth a read if you want to learn more.
What to Do With Chickens When They Stop Laying Eggs?
Each owner will have to choose what they would like to do with the chicken when they are no longer able to lay eggs. If your chicken collection is small, you can keep the older hen around to help the farm. They can help catch bugs, control weeds, and know-how to watch out for predators. They can also act as a mother figure for the other chickens.
If you are limited on how many chickens you can keep around, you may choose to use the chicken for food. Make sure that the chicken is completely done laying eggs before you decide to use them for food.
The final option is to see whether someone else would like to keep the older hen. Some farmers may want an older hen for some of the reasons above. You can see if someone else would like to keep the chicken if you just do not have the space.
A chicken can lay eggs for a long time and this can make for some delicious breakfasts around your home. At some point though, all hens, even when they are healthy, will not be able to produce eggs any longer. Understanding when this happens and how to handle the chicken when they are too old to lay eggs can help you manage their care.
This article looked to answer, what age do chickens stop laying eggs, which we answered 6 or 7 years old. Other factors can increase or decrease the age of a hen when she stops laying, but the average age would be about 6-7 years old.