After they stop laying

Bluerosesd

Chirping
Feb 20, 2018
89
78
81
South eastern Ky
ok I read that in general chickens will lay for so many years then stop laying. They live for like 8 ish years. What do you do with your older chickens that don’t lay anymore? I am wanting them for pets with the icing on the cake being I get eggs.
 

LRH97

Songster
7 Years
Jul 29, 2013
1,136
473
241
Southern Illinois
I myself don't do much butchering so I usually don't go that route. Not that I disagree with it. Mainly because I don't have time, but that's what some people do. Usually not overly popular with your average backyard chicken keeper. I usually sell off my older birds, and I'm sure most of them wind up as soup but that is the other purpose of the birds, after all. If you're content with them just being pets, you may not have to worry about what to do with them once they stop laying.

The first year is of course the hen's most productive and it gradually slows from that point on. However, production usually just doesn't flat out stop. The oldest girl in my flock is probably working on 5 years old and I still get eggs from her every once in a while!
 

Erin80

Songster
Apr 16, 2017
756
837
221
I don’t know what we will do once they stop laying. Hard to say. We have had to dispatch two roosters (because we wanted pullets but ended up with two cockerels) and both my husband and I hated the entire process. He says he wants no part in butchering a chicken again, and I feel the same. I guess we will either just keep them and let them live out their retirement years, or sell them....but I can’t see myself doing that. Lol
 

Ol Grey Mare

One egg shy of a full carton. .....
7 Years
Mar 9, 2014
20,622
15,050
821
Oregon
My Coop
My Coop
I keep my flock as pets that produce eggs.... and am currently very limited in my flock size due to city regulation. I cannot afford to keep a non producing bird. I cycle birds out after the second laying cycle....they still have a decent attraction level for selling, which pays for the replacement chick. Alternatively, I will give away (depending on circumstance) and am not opposed to processing, just haven't done it in years
 

lisa523

Songster
7 Years
Jun 11, 2014
159
19
131
I let my older ones hang around. Once in a blue moon they lay an egg. Mine are hatchery and the oldest are hitting 5 years old now.
 

sumi

Rest in Peace 1980-2020
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Jun 28, 2011
39,154
26,149
1,302
Hens that are bred to be very productive layers can and often do, develop internal laying and other issues when they stop laying eggs regularly. Keeping those hens alive and as pets after their productive years can be as cruel as the kindness intended, unfortunately. I recently read this rather eye opening thread on the topic on one of BYC's sister forums:

https://www.sufficientself.com/thre...-they-stop-laying-warning-graphic-pics.15366/

Mind, there are graphic pics in the thread, but it's very interesting and educational and well worth a read.
 

lisa523

Songster
7 Years
Jun 11, 2014
159
19
131
Hens that are bred to be very productive layers can and often do, develop internal laying and other issues when they stop laying eggs regularly. Keeping those hens alive and as pets after their productive years can be as cruel as the kindness intended, unfortunately. I recently read this rather eye opening thread on the topic on one of BYC's sister forums:

https://www.sufficientself.com/thre...-they-stop-laying-warning-graphic-pics.15366/

Mind, there are graphic pics in the thread, but it's very interesting and educational and well worth a read.

That is very informative. Thank you. I recently did put down one of my barred rocks. I could feel something very odd in her crop. It was gel like, it wasn't sour or hard. I knew it was something else. So after a day or 2 of checking her over, I did the humane thing and I put her down. Afterward I did open her up and it was all completely black inside and felt like jelly.
 

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