Warren Browns/ Rhode Island Reds - ideal age

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JMcElroy
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Warren Browns/ Rhode Island Reds - ideal age

Post by JMcElroy »

I was hoping to purchase a few Warren Browns or Rhode Island Reds, but the person selling me them mentioned they are over a year old. Is there an ideal age to buy them at? Thank you.

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kitla
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Re: Warren Browns/ Rhode Island Reds - ideal age

Post by kitla »

I presume you are thinking of eggs? point of lay is about 22 weeks, but some dont start laying for a while longer. At least at a year old you'll know they're healthy & happy & past any "teething" problems. If you take care of them well they can live quite a few years, lay eggs for most of them & be amusing pets for all of them.
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Mo
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Re: Warren Browns/ Rhode Island Reds - ideal age

Post by Mo »

They start laying somewhere around 22 weeks depending on breed. For a year after that the hybrid breeds lay prolifically, 6 or more a week. Then they might go into a moult and stop laying while their feathers grow. The breeds that lay most in their first year have a shorter laying life and problems sooner.
Commercial egg producers take Point-of-Lay (point of lay) birds, get as many eggs as quickly as possible (sometimes by manipulating lighting to get more than one egg in 24 hours). The birds are worn out after a year and are cleared out to make room for new. From their point of view the housing and food costs are big factors, the cost of replacement hens is small in comparison.

A lot of our members take 'rescue' hens from these farms. Some recover well and carry on laying, but are really considered as pets rather than an economic proposition.

The old fashioned way was pure bred hens. Slower to come into lay, less eggs / year, but a longer laying life (and then into the pot as a boiling fowl).

I'm not sure how much hen rescues charge for their hens. Should be a lot cheaper than point of lay. Are the hens you are thinking of buying from a commercial farm or have they been kept in good conditions all their lives.

I have always bought Point-of-Lay, thought that at least the first year would be relatively problem free. If you buy Point-of-Lay you can get some idea of age by looking at their combs. 16 week pullets should be cheaper than 22 (you will be feeding them, not the dealer).

Have you looked at the poultry pages here or on poultrykeeper.
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Mo
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Re: Warren Browns/ Rhode Island Reds - ideal age

Post by Mo »

If you let us know where you are based someone might have ideas about where you can get hens from.
Or look at the county lists here, not sure how up to date they are.
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KarenE
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Re: Warren Browns/ Rhode Island Reds - ideal age

Post by KarenE »

Ex commercial hens - the rehoming orgs usually ask for a donation to cover their costs. Fresh Start For Hens ask for £2.50 per bird but of course you can give more! I think if you went to a poultry auction you can probably pick up birds cheap as well but I doubt there are any on at the minute. I would say point of lay is a good age to get birds - you may have to wait a couple of weeks for them to start laying but on the whole you get a younger bird that you will be able to socialise (depending on the breed). Birds at a year old are in the middle of their peak egg production period so it depends on how important eggs are to you.

Warrens/RIRs/Lohmans etc etc - the typical ginger nuts - are hybrid birds bred for peak egg laying so they will probably reduce their egg production around 24 months but will still lay well and they are the most delightful, friendly sociable birds. Many of the chickens you'll get in breeding centres/sales places will be hybrids of one form or another. You could get a mix of breeds to get a range of egg colours - if you're into that sort of thing. I'd always recommend a cream legbar for sheer comedy value and blue/pastel coloured eggs. Black Stars are also lovely birds.
Karen
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JMcElroy
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Re: Warren Browns/ Rhode Island Reds - ideal age

Post by JMcElroy »

Mo wrote:They start laying somewhere around 22 weeks depending on breed. For a year after that the hybrid breeds lay prolifically, 6 or more a week. Then they might go into a moult and stop laying while their feathers grow. The breeds that lay most in their first year have a shorter laying life and problems sooner.
Commercial egg producers take Point-of-Lay (point of lay) birds, get as many eggs as quickly as possible (sometimes by manipulating lighting to get more than one egg in 24 hours). The birds are worn out after a year and are cleared out to make room for new. From their point of view the housing and food costs are big factors, the cost of replacement hens is small in comparison.

A lot of our members take 'rescue' hens from these farms. Some recover well and carry on laying, but are really considered as pets rather than an economic proposition.

The old fashioned way was pure bred hens. Slower to come into lay, less eggs / year, but a longer laying life (and then into the pot as a boiling fowl).

I'm not sure how much hen rescues charge for their hens. Should be a lot cheaper than point of lay. Are the hens you are thinking of buying from a commercial farm or have they been kept in good conditions all their lives.

I have always bought Point-of-Lay, thought that at least the first year would be relatively problem free. If you buy Point-of-Lay you can get some idea of age by looking at their combs. 16 week pullets should be cheaper than 22 (you will be feeding them, not the dealer).

Have you looked at the poultry pages here or on poultrykeeper.


They are from an organic farm, not exactly commercial. A small rural farm who produce organic meat/eggs. I am just concerned as I don't want to have hens that only lay for one more year. Seems a very short timeframe.
JMcElroy
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Re: Warren Browns/ Rhode Island Reds - ideal age

Post by JMcElroy »

Mo wrote:If you let us know where you are based someone might have ideas about where you can get hens from.
Or look at the county lists here, not sure how up to date they are.


Thank you, but I am based in Co. Meath. Rep of Ireland.
bikesandbirdsbob
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Re: Warren Browns/ Rhode Island Reds - ideal age

Post by bikesandbirdsbob »

Hens can lay for 4-5 years .
Some hens are bred for hardiness and egg laying .
As all things your call , but I would get some and see what happens if they are what you need then get some more later .
Let us know what you do .
Trust your part of the world is ok and not effected to much by the virus etc.
Bob
JMcElroy
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Re: Warren Browns/ Rhode Island Reds - ideal age

Post by JMcElroy »

bikesandbirdsbob wrote:Hens can lay for 4-5 years .
Some hens are bred for hardiness and egg laying .
As all things your call , but I would get some and see what happens if they are what you need then get some more later .
Let us know what you do .
Trust your part of the world is ok and not effected to much by the virus etc.
Bob


Thank you. I suppose I am worried that the guy selling them to me estimates only one year left of laying. But you are right, try and see what happens.

Numbers have been skewed a lot here with the virus, so its difficult to tell. The tests are not accurate either (I work in the area). Much more to this than meets the eye. We are in for an interesting few years.
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KarenE
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Re: Warren Browns/ Rhode Island Reds - ideal age

Post by KarenE »

well with most hens in their peak egg production within their first 18-24 months (that is when the farmers move them on) then you are inevitably going to face a drop in eggs at some stage, although the likelihood is any hens you get will lay regularly or intermittently for the rest of their lives. Depends how many eggs you want/need.

The best solution is to get a couple now, then add to the flock with some younger hens in around 8-12 months time so you have and keep a mixed age flock. Do be aware that egg laying will slow down and most probably stop over winter irrespective of the hens' age (with the exception possibly of point of lay hens) as birds less less in winter and focus more on moulting and repairing their systems
Karen
Alpha chick to: Dorian Grey, Pokey, Mango, Smudge and Coco
Chief servant to Marley the cat
Remembering Weeps, Rexie, Sage, Cassie, Toffee, Captain Gabby, Commander Nugget, Ronnie, Juno, Special Poetry and Reading Casper, Tigger, Tophenanall Rembrandt, Chestnut, Tiddly and Willow
Also my lost furries Charlie and Jasper
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Mo
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Re: Warren Browns/ Rhode Island Reds - ideal age

Post by Mo »

KarenE wrote: Do be aware that egg laying will slow down and most probably stop over winter irrespective of the hens' age (with the exception possibly of point of lay hens) as birds less less in winter and focus more on moulting and repairing their systems

Yes indeed. They respond to day length, as plants do. It would be silly to produced seeds or chicks just when it's getting frosty. It is possible to fool them with artificial lighting, but a lot of backyard henkeepers think they deserve a rest.
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