We added 4 new chickens to the existing 3 in our backyard. The 3 original chickens are starting to lay again. I'm not sure what the future hold for those girls. I'll keep them as long as I can.
We don't want to eat them, and I don't want them killed. But if they get old and their quality of life declines and they are at risk of spreading disease in the rest of the flock, we may have them put down at the local exotic pet vet. But I guess we'll cross that road when we come to it. I imagine I'll treat them just like any other pet we own and it'll be case by case.
I'm really glad I asked this question since the answers varied widely. It was nice to get so many different perspectives. I guess I'm somewhere in between thinking of them as livestock and pets. We have a small yard and we like the eggs...so...We'll just see.
Thanks all for your responses!