When our lifestyle “tweaking” began, we decided to get some chickens. The idea was based around the good organic gardening principles of having some chooks around to scratch and manure the veggie garden, remove the various insect pests and of course - provide us with beautiful fresh eggs.

So, off we went and purchased 5 point-of-lay ISA Brown hens. It wasn’t long before our plan seemed to be working well. Within a few months we were getting at least 3 eggs, often 4 eggs and sometimes 5 eggs a day. Our neighbours were very appreciative!

However, after about 18 months of laying, we noticed a sharp decline in egg production to the point where we were lucky to get even 1 a day. Of course, the other duties that the girls were expected to complete were going well, but egg production was a concern.

Approximately 6 months ago, we started to reconsider the “girl’s” future and started to do some reading about the different types of “chooks” available. Our research indicated that we had made a mistake choosing our ISA Brown hybrid chickens. Apparently they were bred for high egg production, but over a relatively short period of time. Apparently, our 2 year old ISA Brown girls were past their “use by date”.

Pure Breeds vs Hybrids

Further reading informed me that purebred chickens might have a lower egg yield, but would continue laying for much longer - some claim for up to eight years. 

So it was retirement for the ISA Brown’s and off I went to a chicken breeder to purchase some purebred chickens. Later that day I arrived home with 2 x Australorps, 1 x Light Sussex, 1 x Speckled Sussex, 1 x Pekin  and 1 x Faverolles. My reasoning was that I would maximise the egg laying longevity of the flock by having a range of breeds - I guess time will tell.

So how are they going ............ 6 months after arriving in their new home, our 6 purebred chickens are producing anywhere from 2 to 5 eggs a day - so far so good.

If you are considering getting chickens, or are looking at changing your flock, I would certainly recommend that you get purebred chickens. In the garden, they do the same job as the old hybrids, produce more than enough eggs for us, and are certainly more aesthetically pleasing on the eye ....... but I guess that is just a personal opinion.

PS ...... retirement for the ISA Browns meant happy days at the local school farm where pre-school children were able to enjoy having chickens as apart of their classroom.

About the author: Steve McLean
I am an educator and passionate gardener and traveler. I love helping others to grow productive gardens and am always looking for new ways to develop my own gardening knowledge. I believe that that by working together with gardening as a common theme for us all, the world will be a better place.