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

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by fiddleblue, Nov 9, 2012.

  1. fiddleblue

    fiddleblue Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 19, 2009
    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.
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    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.
  3. kuntrygirl

    kuntrygirl Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

    Feb 20, 2008
    Opelousas, Louisiana
    Nothing. They live out their lives on my little farm. :)
  4. Smoochie

    Smoochie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 18, 2012
    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.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2012
  5. bobbieschicks

    bobbieschicks Chicken Tender

    Jun 24, 2011
    King George, VA
    My Coop
    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.
  6. cary 1973

    cary 1973 Chillin' With My Peeps

    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.
  7. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 26, 2007
    central Ohio
    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.
  8. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 26, 2007
    central Ohio
    Some people use their older hens as broodies and hatch their own new flock.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by