Life and laying cycle of hens
As with humans and other creatures, we can observe the inevitable life cycle in chickens.
In the first stage, of course, the chicks hatch. The chicks take a few weeks to become chickens. After reaching sexual maturity, the animal is then called a laying hen, which is usually around 18 weeks of age.
The highest laying rates for hens in smallholdings are seen from a 7-month-old to a 2-year-old hen, when they are also least likely to become ill. In addition, the hen has the best maternal instincts at this time and the eggs are often used for hatching chicks.
Hens over two years of age start to have problems - they lay fewer eggs and may have reproductive problems. In short, ageing is starting to take its toll on them.
Unfortunately, if a hen is four years old or older, there is not much left to do. Her nature changes - she starts to behave like a rooster because of hormones, and she often catches a disease or dies of natural causes.
What you can do to help your hen live as long as possible
Of course, the breeder always takes a lot of credit for the longevity of the hens. So how can you make your fowl's life longer and more enjoyable?
Quality feeding is of course important. Always stick to how old the feed is intended for, because a laying hen has different needs than a chick. Don't forget to give your hens some vegetables, grass or supplements from time to time. For example, fresh chopped nettles are also excellent, as they add a lovely rich colour to the yolk... Although you often see this in the village, avoid kitchen scraps.
To be healthy, a hen needs plenty of exercise. Provide it in the form of a larger run and a large enough coop for the hen to run around and explore the area.
Adequate hygiene is also essential. Leaving your hens in a dirty environment will usually backfire badly in the form of poor health. So regularly clean all the equipment and areas that the hens use - the coop, the run, the watering trough and the feeder. Don't forget to do a general cleaning once in a while to disinfect the whole area.
So how long can a hen live?
And we come to the key question of this story - how many years can a hen live? Although it might seem so, a hen's life doesn't have to end with the end of the laying phase. On average, hens live around four to five years, but of course it always depends not only on the above factors, but also on the breed. If you give your hens enough love and care, they can live up to ten years.