My hens are old. In fact, they are henopausal. The first flock was hatched in 2007 somewhere in the Midwest and arrived here in a small box in the mail. In 2010 I added some local chicks to replace those hens who had passed on from natural causes and one coyote. Until this summer the hens did yeo(wo)man's work in providing us and some neighbors with great eggs, and I cannot bring myself to "sending them on their way" now that their laying days are over. For those wondering, hens only lay eggs for a couple of years and then go on to live many more, unproductive, years.
So my hens are retired and living the good life of regular food, safe nights, and hen company. This fall I even turned off the coop light that would have them wake at 3 am so they would see more than 10 hours of daylight that are necessary for laying eggs. When you are done, you are done, right?
Late last fall my neighbor inherited some laying hens. They are a little walk away, out of view and, I believe, out of earshot. Yet, the day after Christmas Mathilde surprised me with an egg (she is an Americana and her eggs are blue). And she has continued laying an egg every other day or so. A Buff Orpington (brown egg) joined her last week, and has continued laying as well. This in spite of not enough daylight to be producing. Such girls! I have no idea what got into them.
This is Mathilde, so named because she tries to waltz out the gate as I enter the chicken yard. She is very friendly.