Dilemma: any ideas about what do you do with your chickens when they get old, other than eat them?

fiddleblue

Songster
10 Years
Jul 19, 2009
189
4
111
Our 7 chickens are getting old and not laying many eggs. THey are now 3 years 3 months old. I find myself quite reluctant to slaughter them (though I suppose I could if I had to) since they've been pets all this time. Yet I have to either find homes for them or slaughter them, because I am going to raise a new flock (I just bought 10 new chicks last week) and there isn't room in my urban backyard for all 17 hens, nor am I willing to continue to feed and house 7 hens who have been reduced by age to mere pets. My plan is to keep my favorite 2 of the old 7 hens, and give away or slaughter the remaining 5, then in time add the 10 new pullets to the old 2 hens for a new flock of 12.

I am sure other backyard chicken keepers have run into the dilemma of what to do with their older chickens, if they feel attached to them and are reluctant to slaughter them. What solutions have you found? I can't imagine that there would be a lot of people wanting to take on pet chickens who are too old to lay eggs. I suppose I could give them away on craigslist to someone who would end up slaughtering them, thus at least sparing myself from having to do that...has anyone else done this, or have any tips or advice?

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area.
 

donrae

Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
31,453
4,077
581
Southern Oregon
I advertised mine on craigslist for slaughter and had several folks call wanting them for layers/pets/pest control. Wound up giving a dozen birds and a rooster to a young lady who was just thrilled to get them, she just wanted yard eye candy.

In your area, folks might not be able to keep them as ornaments so much, so they'll quite possibly go for slaughter. A humane death isn't the worst thing in the world.
 

Smoochie

Songster
7 Years
Sep 18, 2012
865
34
124
CANADA
I think there's merit in keeping good old hens and give away the others. An older hen teaches the younger birds the ways of the coop.. Whether it's going for cover when a hawk flys over or when to go in at night.
 
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bobbieschicks

Chicken Tender
8 Years
Jun 24, 2011
4,565
231
261
King George, VA
My Coop
My Coop
Our 7 chickens are getting old and not laying many eggs. THey are now 3 years 3 months old. I find myself quite reluctant to slaughter them (though I suppose I could if I had to) since they've been pets all this time. Yet I have to either find homes for them or slaughter them, because I am going to raise a new flock (I just bought 10 new chicks last week) and there isn't room in my urban backyard for all 17 hens, nor am I willing to continue to feed and house 7 hens who have been reduced by age to mere pets. My plan is to keep my favorite 2 of the old 7 hens, and give away or slaughter the remaining 5, then in time add the 10 new pullets to the old 2 hens for a new flock of 12.

I am sure other backyard chicken keepers have run into the dilemma of what to do with their older chickens, if they feel attached to them and are reluctant to slaughter them. What solutions have you found? I can't imagine that there would be a lot of people wanting to take on pet chickens who are too old to lay eggs. I suppose I could give them away on craigslist to someone who would end up slaughtering them, thus at least sparing myself from having to do that...has anyone else done this, or have any tips or advice?

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

I haven't had to come up with an answer to the old pullet question yet - but I know the day will come. When it comes I think I can finally get my head around the idea and process my hens - they will be a final blessing to my family with their gift of meat.

I've rehomed plenty of roosters - some I gave to a friend who needed tick control others I've sold at prices high enough I knew the persons purchasing weren't simply eating them. However I also know that once the rooster leaves my home I don't have control over whether he is eaten or not - but so far everyone has wanted a rooster who has purchased my extras.

I don't like the idea of killing my chickens, but I know I will need to do it or pay someone else to do it. That is where the options come in - if you want to keep the meat you could advertise on Craigslist for someone to process your chickens for you for a fee. You could also offer to help at a local farm during meat processing time and in exchange you would learn how to slaughter your own animals.

Hope this helps.
Bobbie
 

cary 1973

Songster
7 Years
Apr 17, 2012
969
23
138
Henderson Nevada aka Las Vegas
My girls will be with me till they are taken from me by means I have no controll over, I got my girls as pets first and for most. but I agree with the craigs list if you dont want to process them see if you can give them as pets and go from there.
 

chicknmania

Free Ranging
14 Years
Jan 26, 2007
5,884
1,248
522
central Ohio
I think there's merit in keeping good old hens and give away the others. An older hen teaches the younger birds the ways of the coop.. Whether it's going for cover when a hawk flys over or when to go in at night.

That's what I was going to say too. They are useful for many things. And, if nothing else, they eat bugs and are extras for the roosters.
Ours spend their entire lives here as well til they die of natural causes.
 

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