Hen Retirement

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Jonny-Chicken, Dec 11, 2008.

  1. Jonny-Chicken

    Jonny-Chicken Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 11, 2008
    Lowbanks, Ontario
    I'm just getting into this whole world of chickens, and today I found my first egg, I will fry it up tonight. Anyway, I love my 3 hens and 1 roo and after the hens stop laying (around 2 years old I hear) I have no intention of cooking them or otherwise disposing of them. This seem crazy, but my idea is to let them "Retire" on my property when they are done laying. I will still feed and water and care for them, but will not expect anything in return. I'm wondering if anyone else out there has done this, and how long your chickens have lived for. Also, any problems with older chickens?

  2. birdlover

    birdlover Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    Northern Va.
    [​IMG] I hate to tell you but you will probably get addicted like all of us here and get many many more! [​IMG] Hens don't stop laying at 2; they just slow down a bit. I think they pass their prime at 18 months...at least that's what the battery cage farms think! [​IMG] Anyway, it is not uncommon for a chicken to live to ten or older if they don't get sick or taken by a predator and I've read on here where one person had one live to 17!! I think it depends on the chicken how long they lay but I've heard of many that still lay an egg here or there when they reach ten. Enjoy those little darlings!! They ARE the greatest pets, aren't they!??

  3. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

    Mar 20, 2008
    NW Kentucky
    I have 'retired' hens and roosters...most lived 5 - 8 years but I did have one australorp live to age 10.

    They free ranged during the day but were put inside at night. I will not eat my girls after their laying days are over either...they are my pets so they will spend their retirement in the same care and affection they currently get.

    They can suffer the same issues of old age that other animals and even people do..poor eyesight, stiffness in joints and more susceptible to colds and such.
  4. miron28

    miron28 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 8, 2008
    lenoir north carolina
    this is a good topic i was wondering the same thing!
  5. Matt A NC

    Matt A NC Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 22, 2007
    Morganton, NC
    My oldest bird now is 4.5 years old, but I had a couple 10+ year old sisters up till early last year. Both laid as well as the young ones until the year before last. They laid blue/green eggs so I knew their eggs.

    They both quit laying when they molted before winter and just never started again. That spring 1 layed a few eggs and then got sick. When she got to bad to keep trying to treat her, we put her down and did a necropsy. She had become an internal layer in her old age and had setup a severe infection. Her sister quit eating and wouldn't go with any of the other birds. She got so bad that she refused to go to roost and lost down to skin and bones. We laid her to rest beside her sister. When necropsied, everything was fine.

  6. Jonny-Chicken

    Jonny-Chicken Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 11, 2008
    Lowbanks, Ontario
    Wow. Cool, your replys came so fast, you guys are all over this. Thanks for your input.

    Good to know I'm not the only crazy person to see these birds as family members and not just egg-machines. I really wasn't sure what to think before I got them, but within a few weeks of getting the day-old chicks I was really attached to them. I can't wait til warmer weather when I can spend more time outside with them.

    Cetawin, when your hens passed on, what was their affliction? Also, what's the oldest hen that has produced an egg for you?

  7. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA

    My oldest hen at the moment is around 3 years old, still lays almost everyday.

    I too plan to let them live out their lives here.
  8. KB

    KB Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 13, 2008
    I'm so glad I'm not alone! [​IMG] I know some may think it is a waste of resources but........I don't care, they are my pets - eggs are just a bonus.
  9. maine chicks

    maine chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 10, 2008
    Gertrude and sweetpea are now about 5 1/2 years old. Gert layed a couple eggs over the past 6 months. I now have 8 new gals and two roos who share a coop. Gert and Sweetpea were very slow to leave their old shed and join the new kids on the block but they finally gave in to better digs. I would never stew the old girls, they are pets. They are still the first to run for a handout whenever they see me coming but have let one of the roos take over head bird duties in almost every other way. My original birds layed beyond the 3 year mark-just not as often.
  10. Pinky

    Pinky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2008
    South GA
    Im also glad that there are other people out here that plan to keep their chickens after they retire from egg laying [​IMG] .I plan to let all of my chickens to live out their lives with me when they decide to stop laying.I do like the fact that they are one of the few animals that can give you something for keeping them. I do like that bonus,but thats not why I started keeping chickens and I don't eat many eggs anyway so I will still enjoy having them.

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