Sunday, July 14, 2013

Older chickens...

It has been four years this month that we've had chickens -- hard to believe. Of the original flock of four hens, we have one left -- Fancypants Johnson. Two of the hens were sold a couple of years ago because they weren't getting along with the younger chickens, and one was given to someone with a farm last year because she started crowing.

Chickens can live as long as 10 years, but the average lifespan is 5 years. After 3 years old they're not very productive egg layers, so on a real farm they're usually replaced by younger chickens before they're 3. 

In the case of Fancypants, she is still productive; probably because she has taken lots of breaks from egglaying. She doesn't lay eggs during the dark months of winter, when she is broody, or when has molted her feathers. But I figure she has laid about 600 eggs in her lifetime! Last week, she started up again after spending 3 months broody with chicks, and she's all of a sudden putting out an egg every day, which I think is amazing at age 4. The downside is that she was very noisy about getting back into it. She had early morning squawking attacks four days in a row, but now has quieted down some -- lucky for her. I was really thinking that if she didn't adjust we would have to make a difficult decision and it was weighing heavily on my mind. She is the most tame of our chickens and the only one that the kids still call by name.
Update: toward the end of July she's back to her old self and is pretty calm and quiet...

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