"Cull" hens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by beakkeeper, Nov 13, 2008.

  1. beakkeeper

    beakkeeper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What do you do with hens that have stopped laying? I want to keep them as pets, but how long can I keep up with the cost of feeding them? I wouldn't want to unnecessarily kill any chicken, except a meatie, so what do you all do with your "older" hens?

    ***Note: no need for a quick answer or anything, I don't even have the chicks yet!!! [​IMG] Just thinkin' ahead...
     
  2. Farmer Kitty

    Farmer Kitty Flock Mistress

    Sep 18, 2007
    Wisconsin
    I process mine but, we have a farm and that is the way it is-produce or you go. If you want to keep them as pets and can afford to then there is nothing that says you can't.
     
  3. ThePamperedPullet

    ThePamperedPullet Chillin' With My Peeps

    You can't let them get too old or you will never be able to chew the meat. Hens lay best their first year. After that they slowly decline in production. We rotate out our hens every two years. You don't really want to try to eat a hen any older than that. That is where stewing hens come from. So you can either let them live out their productivity, which could be 6 or 7 years and then retire to the fields or you can butcher them off when they hit egg laying maturity or any time. Just remember, the older the hen the tougher the meat.
     
  4. chickbea

    chickbea Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 18, 2007
    Vermont
    It all depends on how many hens you have, where you live, and how much you are willing to spend.
    I keep all my girls for their natural life span, but I don't keep a very big flock, either. They don't use up too much of the little bit of extra money I have...[​IMG]
    If you live where you can free-range the major portion of the day, that will significantly cut down on feeding costs. If you have to overwinter hens inside for months, you'll start noticing the frequent trips to the feed store.
    Old hens do still have many other benefits: they make great broodies, they are prolific bug-eaters, they help keep the pecking order in line if you don't have a rooster, and when let loose on a piece of land they can turn it over like a rototiller.
     
  5. horsejody

    horsejody Squeaky Wheel

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    I just keep them.
     
  6. Barnyard Dawg

    Barnyard Dawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We don't keep ours past two years, we currently have eight that are around one and a half years old, and they are still laying well, we will probally cull them out soon since the younger ones are starting to produce. My wife puts them in a soup pot, she cooks them whole and then takes its out and butchers it. She prefers a tougher meat than the normally softer meat chickens.
     
  7. Barnyard Dawg

    Barnyard Dawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We will buy roosters for cooking, once they reach around 5-6 months.
     
  8. 77horses

    77horses ◊The Spontaneous Pullet!◊

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    [CONFIDENTIAL]
    well, we NEVER have and NEVER will slaughter or kill any of our hens/chickens(unless we have to, for example if one is suffering, then we will put it out of its misery and bury it) We proudly keep them as pets, and pets only. [​IMG] We use our hens for laying eggs for eating and for hatching, and we keep one or two roosters for breeding. any extra roosters are sold or traded for another hen. And once the hens get old, we either sell them, or if they are our favorite hens that we are really really attached to, then we keep them until they die either from old age or from a natural death, like a predator. We have never had any serious diseases, but if we did, and one of the chickens was suffering, then we would have to put her out of her misery, and we would bury her.

    Yep, call be a softy all you want. But I am glad I am a softy and I'm very proud that we keep our birds as pets. [​IMG]
     
  9. Colored Egg Farmer

    Colored Egg Farmer Chicken overload

    I sell mine but they are only 2 years old so they still have some eggs to lay. I do kill a few of the ones though.
     
  10. beakkeeper

    beakkeeper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    77horses, at what age do your chickens die? I've read in books that they can live to be fourteen! I'll be out of this house by then!


    ***Also, as a side note, what does everyone do when they go on vacation? My family goes on 3-wk vacations during the summer, and no one in our urban neighborhood knows a thing about chickens (or vegetables that matter, killed our entire carrot crop) [​IMG] Can you leave for more than a few days?
     

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