How old are domestic hens?

Chickens are popular poultry kept for eggs and meat. In this article, we will figure out how many years chickens maintain optimal reproductive performance, and how long it can be cost-effective for farmers to keep hens.

At what age do chickens begin to rush

Hens begin to lay eggs between the ages of 18 and 26 weeks, depending on the breed, feeding and keeping conditions.

Variegated hens (plymouthrokes, etc.) begin laying at the age of 6–8 months and reach peak productivity at the age of 3 years. To ensure that production does not decrease, the number of layers is regularly updated by young individuals. Pestles lay about 30 eggs per month for three consecutive months, after which egg production ceases for some time.

The egg production of white chickens (leghorns, etc.) is twice lower than that of pestles. Chickens rush in a day, with poor nutrition - in 2 days. After about 2–2.5 months, the birds temporarily stop laying eggs for up to 2 weeks.

Important! When soft-shelled eggs appear, which usually occurs in the winter, this indicates that the chicken diet is deficient in calcium. This can be corrected by adding bone meal to the main feed at a rate of 50 g for every 10 layers.

How many days per year does egg laying last?

After the chicken begins to lay, the number of eggs that it lays usually corresponds to the cycle. Their number gradually increases over 30–40 days before it reaches a peak, and then gradually decreases. The environment in which the bird lives also greatly affects this cycle. Good thoroughbred laying hens rush 200-300 days a year.

Duration of egg production

The most productive age in most egg breeds of hens is from 7–8 months to 2 years. Upon reaching this age limit, the egg production of a bird will steadily decrease simultaneously with an increase in the bird's age, therefore its content becomes unprofitable. Two-year-old birds are recommended to be slaughtered for meat, while replenishing the chicken coop with new, young layers. An exception is made only for laying hens of the Plymouth breed, these birds are kept in households until they reach the age of 3 years.

Did you know? Chickens are very sociable birds and gather in a herd where a hierarchy is formed, in terms of access to food and nesting sites. Adding (removing) chicken or rooster can cause severe stress in all birds, leading to fights and injuries until a new hierarchical order is established.

What egg laying depends on

The egg production of an individual individual depends on the breed, the mode of keeping (aviary, cellular or free) and the nutritional value of the diet. When laying hens, the duration and brightness of the hen house lighting also have a huge impact on the quality of laid eggs. To speed up the onset of oviposition, the brightness of the light increases, and the food changes to a more nutritious feed.

The most productive breeds

Layers were bred by crossing different highly productive breeds. Laying hens have a small head with head processes (comb, beard and earrings), a horny beak and bulging, round eyes, most often yellow-orange. The neck is short and feathered, slightly inclined. The pectoral and femoral muscles are small (compared to broiler chickens), the wings are quite long and pressed very tightly to the body. All chickens that are currently bred on poultry farms to get eggs are hybrids.

Did you know? A brood hen usually does not feed chickens directly, as many other birds do, but leads them to a source of food and water and encourages independent feeding. The brood hen will take care of the chicks for several weeks until they become quite old to fend for themselves.

The most egg-bearing breeds of chickens:

  1. Leghorn - have white plumage and body weight of about 1.7 kg. The annual production for laying hens of this breed is 250–300 eggs weighing 57–60 g. Egg shells are painted white.

  2. Rhode Island is red and Rhode Island is white - they differ from each other only in the color of their feathers. Birds of this breed weigh about 2 kg, carry 200 eggs per year and are perfectly adapted for free-range breeding with constant access to nests.

  3. New Hampshire - the plumage of these birds is red-red in color, the body weight of the layer reaches 2 kg. In a year, such a bird lays 180-200 large eggs with a dark brown shell.

  4. Sussex - these chickens have a characteristic plumage: a white body with black feathers on the tail and neck. The body weight of such chickens is about 2.2 kg, they carry large eggs weighing 60–62 g, the total egg production of one individual is up to 180 pieces per year.

  5. Carpathian greenfin, or Galician - a small chicken with gray-brown plumage (the cock has a brighter and more colorful plumage) and black-green feathers in the tail. The bird weighs about 1.8 kg and carries about 160–180 eggs per year. This breed is perfectly adapted to adverse environmental conditions, undemanding and well carried with a free range.

  6. Plymouthrock - these birds reach the age of egg production later than representatives of other breeds, after about 180 days. During the year, they lay 170–200 eggs with a dark yellow or brown shell. The mass of one egg varies from 58 to 63 g.

Important! The chicken herd will be successfully and regularly carried without the participation of a rooster, the absence of the male will not affect the egg production of the females. But such eggs are unsuitable for raising chickens, since they are not fertilized and are sterile.

Recommendations for increasing egg production

The best system for keeping hens is free range, in which birds freely walk on the street during daylight hours. Such chickens rush better, they have better health. Thanks to the free range, the cost of feed for chickens can be reduced by 40%, provided that there is good pasture with fresh grass, as a food supplement to the main diet.

Foods promoting egg production:

  1. Proper nutrition of laying hens takes into account their physiological needs, body weight, egg production, temperature in the chicken coop. The balance of proteins, calories, amino acids, vitamins and minerals greatly affects the weight of the egg, the quality of the shell, poultry health and egg production. The quality of the egg itself is not too dependent on nutrition, because all the ingredients of which it consists are taken from the body of the chicken. For example, if there is too little calcium in chicken feed, this will have a greater effect on the health of the skeletal system of the bird, and to a lesser extent on the composition of the shell.
  2. Along with the chicken age, calcium intake also changes, so the content of this substance in the feed mixture should increase over the course of masonry weeks. Hens rush at intervals of 6-8 weeks, after which there is a pause, so the calcium content increases in food already at the 4th week of masonry.
  3. Complete poultry mixtures contain cereals (wheat, corn, barley). There are also by-products of grain processing, extracted flour (soy, rapeseed, sunflower), legumes, animal products and zootechnical additives (feed chalk, coccidiostatics, synthetic amino acids).

Did you know? The color of a chicken egg is determined by the breed of the chicken and the color of its ears. A chicken with red earlobes lays brown eggs, and having white earlobes lays white eggs. The color of the chicken feathers has nothing to do with the color of the eggshell.

The optimal content of laying hens:

  1. Maintaining high productivity of laying hens can be achieved by prolonging the daytime using artificial illumination of the room. Coop lighting can be natural or artificial. Natural light in the chicken house is provided by the windows. In chicken coops, where there is no access to a natural light source or the windows are too small, you can use light bulbs to illuminate the room for up to 16 hours a day. Layers should be provided with conditions as close to natural as possible, i.e. chickens need to sleep at night, so the lights are turned off at night. In chicken coops, you can also periodically turn on ultraviolet light for disinfecting nests and for preventive purposes.

  2. In the conditions of home (household) maintenance per 1 m² of a chicken coop, no more than 6 laying hens can live. The area of ​​the farm house cannot exceed 1600 m², since the number of birds significantly affects the microclimate prevailing in the chicken coop.
  3. The most optimal temperature during the year in a room for laying hens should be in the range +21 ... + 23 ° C, and relative humidity - 60–70%. In winter, it is recommended to use mulch from straw or sawdust as a litter on the floor.
  4. Due to the high dustiness resulting from the use of mulch and loose feed in the house, it is necessary to use an effective ventilation system. Air circulation is important to maintain a suitable humidity, temperature and fresh air supply, as well as to actively remove toxic gases and microorganisms.

Important! Chicken manure is a valuable organic fertilizer rich in nitrogen and other minerals. This fertilizer can be successfully applied in the garden and garden for planting berries and vegetables.

In order for chicken rearing to get eggs to be profitable, the poultry breeder must know at what age it is advisable to keep hens. The most optimal age for a chicken that lays eggs is from the beginning of oviposition until it reaches two years of age. To prevent the flock's egg production from dropping, it is recommended that the poultry breeder regularly introduce young individuals into the chicken herd.

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