Hello & letting older hens fend for themselves


Jul 28, 2016
I've been lurking for over a year and have been here a lot learning everything I can about chickens and turkeys.

I have a small flock of mixed chickens (layers and dual purpose) that I've raised since they were a day old and a dozen turkeys Orlopp Bronze. So far everyone is doing OK, growing and my family is enjoying raising these birds.

My neighbor has a small flock of chickens and they're more than two years old. Their egg laying is slowing and she's considering getting some chicks next year. When I asked her what she plans to do with the older hens she said she's going to let them loose and whatever happens to them so be it.

I don't think that's a responsible thing to do and that those birds should be culled rather than being put through of the stress of being hunted by predators. We have many of those in these parts. Even if the meat is tough the carcasses can be used for stock. I won't take her chickens because I don't want to expose my flock to hers. Who knows - they could have parasites or diseases.

She doesn't want to keep spending money on feed and bedding on hens that don't produce. I understand that but I don't think it's fair to let loose animals that are raised by and dependent on humans for their safety and care. She also has dogs and cats (the felines roam freely even tho I told her to keep them on her own property) and aren't neutered or spade and one of the cats had a litter of kittens. She still won't spend the $ to get them fixed. This is the type of human I live near.

Does anyone else here have experience with this type of human? Thanks for your advice and love being a part of this community.
Greeting from Kansas, gottahavebirds, and :welcome. Great to have you here. Glad you joined. I am in total agreement with you regarding your neighbor. Domestic fowl is not intended to fend for itself and "see what happens." What happens is that they will slowly get picked off by predators. They have almost zero survival skills. By taking this approach I think your neighbor is kind of cowardly simply because her birds aren't as productive as they once were and her out of sight out of sight out of mind approach is unethical and cruel. Sounds like she just wants to make it easy on herself and to heck with the chickens. There may be any number of locals willing to re-home them or even cull them for meat. Anything is better than them just being turned out. Can you approach her about seeking a re-homing? Best of luck and thanks for caring.
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Hi :welcome

Glad you could join us here! You have some great advice from redsoxs and I too am in agreement that this is not responsible ownership. I hope you are able to talk her round about finding them new homes.

Good luck and enjoy BYC :frow
Thank you for the warm welcome. I love this community!

I suggested re-homing but she claims to be too busy and doesn't want the hassle. I don't want to step in and solve her problems otherwise it will never end.

We share many interests in common so it's disappointing to hear her say that she doesn't care what happens to them anymore. If she lets them loose and closes up the coop and run, I expect they will show up on my property to try to hang with my flock and then I expect a real row will happen. Maybe that needs to happen.

I'd prefer to stay amicable with her and hold my cool when she says things like that but I predict that her disinterest in the girls who have served her family well for more than two years will end up being my problem to deal with at some time.

Very disappointed in her attitude.
Can you make an anonymous call to animal control - maybe if they show up, she will gladly turn the birds over to them. Then she won't have any "bother."
I thought about that but it's not against the law here for poultry to free range on the owner's property and unless there is verifiable proof of neglect, bylaw officer can't justify a visit. Only if the chickens leave her property can a complaint be filed. She would know it's me for sure if bylaw paid her a visit. That would surely start a row.
I know what you mean. I have a similarly neglectful neighbor but with her its hungry, ribs showing horses. Someone else reported her but she came storming over to my house cussing me out. Never believed that it wasn't me that called the authorities. It's a bad deal...the stand up person is effectively held hostage by the irresponsible animal owner and either looks the other way, or does the right thing and faces the wrath of the neighbor. I feel your pain, GottaHaveBirds. :hugs
Hi and welcome to BYC. I think that I may be inclined ask to take them off her hands and cull them immediately - the bio-security of your flock is paramount. It's not a nice position to be in - sorry.

Thanks for your support and encouragement, everyone. It's nice to know that I'm not alone in my thinking about her irresponsible attitude.

My flock has an enclosed run and not at all free ranging but if I see any rogue chickens on my property I will do the right thing, which won't be returning them to her. I just won't say anything. Best not to, I think.

It's so frustrating dealing with someone who shrugs off her responsibility whenever something is inconvenient. Half a dozen hens were taken by a predator last year because she decided to free range them (no livestock guardian dog) and she didn't care. No improvements (turned off the electric fence around the run and coop) to help keep the remaining girls safe and lets them free range. I don't understand humans like that.

That's awful, redsoxs. A danged if you do, danged if you don't situation. Just can't reason with unreasonable humans.
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