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How long do you keep your chickens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chickenlorena, Jan 18, 2011.

  1. chickenlorena

    chickenlorena Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 23, 2010
    Hello,

    I was wondering how many of you keep their chickens as pets and let them die of natural causes wether they are producing or not?
    A friend of mine came to visit and we showed her our 3 pet hens. She asked if we were going to eat or sell them after they'd stopped laying... we all answered at once "No!!"

    That made me think of how many are out there like us [​IMG]

    Thanks!!
     
  2. draye

    draye Overrun With Chickens

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    Nov 30, 2010
    Arkansas
    Usually after three years of laying, so they are close to 4 years before we get rid of them, ours are for laying and raising a few here and there, so we will either butcher them or send them off for dog food. We never make pets of ours as we know that we are going to eat them one day. Now there are exceptions to this 3 year rule, sometimes they are still laying well so they get to stay another year.
     
  3. chickensbythesea

    chickensbythesea Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 1, 2011
    We have a complicated system.
    Our original birds will live their lives out naturally, except for the roosters, who will go earlier if they quit doing their main job (keeping the ladies safe).

    Our laying population, at around 40 right now, will be with us for less time. Rather than have a doomsday clock, twice a year we'll look at our demand, our supply, and our flock. If we're still meeting our demand with a safe enough buffer, then everyone gets a 6 month extension. If production has dipped, we'll asses the birds individually, for production, temperament, fitness and sentimental attachment. At this point, birds that are mean or too flighty get eaten, older ladies who can't cut it are attempted to be rehomed, and if that fails, go to camp, and the ones who are overly broody are usually easy to place. If we're especially fond of a hen, she gets a life pass.
    It makes me feel slightly better knowing that it's only the jerks that are going to be jerk chicken.

    I don't enjoy having to cull every once in a while, but I feel better knowing that we'll be the ones eating her, because I know how well she lived, and can appreciate everything she gave, in life and death.
     
  4. WriterofWords

    WriterofWords Has Fainting Chickens

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    Chaparral, New Mexico
    Until they go to the great nest box in the sky!
     
  5. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Mine are outside pets (except for the ones inside due to youth/brooding or injury/illness convalescence) and I will keep them until they die or I can find a good home for this or that chicken. "Good home" means living with another BYCer who likes to keep chickens as pets.
     
  6. F50myster

    F50myster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 21, 2010
    Central Coast
    i would never ever kill a chicken no matter what! even if theyre suffering! let mother nature do her work. if they stop laying thats okay every thing has the right to live! i sometimes feel guilty killing plants or grass or trees because i think to myself "what if trees and all plants had feelings just like evcerything else in this world. and nobody knew about it, what if they had a way to communicate to each other by making noises in the wind" or something like that idk you might think im crazy but im just an open minded person! [​IMG]
     
  7. Chiko

    Chiko Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 25, 2010
    Orem, Utah.
    Quote:I do not think your crazy at ALL I always think the same thing so I dont kill weeds or wildflowers I just let them grow and fill the grass.
     
  8. WriterofWords

    WriterofWords Has Fainting Chickens

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    Chaparral, New Mexico
    Quote:You must be my long-lost twin.
     
  9. ChickieBooBoo

    ChickieBooBoo Cold Canadian Chick

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    Quote:By not killing a suffering bird you are being more cruel to it them giving it a quick death. I have had chicks before who wouldn't eat, would you rather I let them starve to death just to give them a few more days to live?
     
  10. F50myster

    F50myster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 21, 2010
    Central Coast
    lol thanks you guys! i thought i was insane for thinking that

    @WriterofWords
    thats funny lol finally someone who thinks like me [​IMG]
     

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