This is a good question, even if I do say so myself. This is certainly a topic that chicken-as-a-lifestyle businesses don’t want you to think about too much.
The reason I am musing this is because, today, for the first time in three years, I think I am going to buy a box of eggs! Of my original 6 girls, I have 3 left Bet, Tina, and Jenny. E also have Jenny Jnr, Marina, and most recently Sage. The original girls are over three years old and have stopped laying. The others lay occasionally with the accepting of Sage who usually lays every couple of days. So we are basically running a retirement home now.
This seems fair enough, the girls have given us lots of produce over the years and now we need to let them live out their days inpeace. Most people buy chickens and don’t sort out proper fox protection, so within a couple of years the fox has eaten them all. One way round it, but basically bad husbandry in the most part.
We will keep this lot, but after that I going to specialise in ducks. We will have the same issue with them inthe long term, but they are just easier to look after and don’t get so many mite related problems.