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How to downsize?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chickenannie, Jun 18, 2008.

  1. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 19, 2007
    Pennsylvania
    With all the new chicks my hens hatched this spring, I realized I have to downsize before my flock hits the 100 mark! I have about 30 hens that aren't producing nearly as many eggs as they are eating feed, and it's becoming ridiculously expensive for me to keep paying for their feed. These are mostly RIR hens that are 2-1/2 to 3 years old. However, I feel terrible when I think about selling them at an auction where I know other farmers sell their "spent" hens. These have been my pets and good egg-layers in the past, and I hate just using them up during their better years and then 'discarding' them. I don't want to use their meat either -- I feel too close to them, ya know?
    I have several people lined up who want hens, but they want high-producing, young hens, not these. How do you'all handle this?
     
  2. lengel

    lengel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 30, 2008
    MA
    I don't know if you'll find one of me but I'm the one who wants the established adults. In my very brief experience, hens in smaller flocks produce much more than those in higher density living situations. So I would have taken them in a heart beat.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2008
  3. lilchick

    lilchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2008
    Williamsport In.
    I have alot of chickens and yes feed is expensive but I enjoy having them.
    many are roosters.. they have plenty of room to live out their lives and definately do not "earn" their keep.
    why can't chickens be just pets? we have dogs and horses and other pet animals that cost much more to feed ..
    If you can afford to feed and care for them and enjoy having them around then you should keep them.. lilchick
     
  4. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 19, 2007
    Pennsylvania
    If you have tons of room for free-ranging, and don't mind paying a lot for feed without getting eggs, yes, I could keep them all, but my space and budget is limited. Also, new neighbors are moving in to the second farmhouse on the farm, and I don't want to have to pen my chickens up -- if I have less roaming around, they will not be as intrusive.
     
  5. Nupine

    Nupine Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 21, 2007
    Ohio
    Here is what I would do. Try to sell the better laying younger hens, thet would be easy to place homes for. Sell the chicks.
     
  6. bluey

    bluey thootp veteran

    Apr 10, 2008
    Washington, PA
    It all depends on whether they are pets or livestock to you. It sounds like you should have made a few more omelettes this spring. [​IMG]
     
  7. chickenannie

    chickenannie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 19, 2007
    Pennsylvania
    A few of them are truly pets that I won't get rid of, the others are egg-layers for me, but I don't think of them as livestock either. I guess I'm just a softie. Does anyone know what happens to spent hens that are sold in large numbers at auctions?
     
  8. bluey

    bluey thootp veteran

    Apr 10, 2008
    Washington, PA
    There's no crime in being a softy.

    In that case, I would sell as many as you need of the younger birds that you aren't as attached to yet and make some decisions on as many of the older birds that you are the least attached to. Good luck.
     
  9. lilchick

    lilchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2008
    Williamsport In.
    To answer your question about what happens to spent hens at auctions..... I go to a sale 2 times a month... there are buyers who get all sorts of birds and goats to take to Chicago to sell to shops for food...
    .
    I see the way they pick them up to feel them and guess the weight and then toss them back in crate.... I have gone up to them and told them to treat the birds with better care even tho they were going to slaughter....

    They stuff them in orange crates, rabbits,ducks mixed in with chickens and do not feed or water them just leave them in till they are sold again..... maybe a day or 2....

    I feel so bad for the chickens... I see almost all the big roosters go for food.
    i bought a buff o. roo for 2.00 and he is the sweetest guy and a barred ee roo who is so gentle... I can't buy them all...

    I buy the banty roosters because they are bought to be used for sacrifice... don't even want to think about that...
     
  10. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    You need to put word out that you have nice birds that have a few more years in them. I helped a friend to place several older hens because she keeps closed flocks and needed to rehome some before restocking. There are a lot of rural families who would be happy with a few eggs now and then. Some of the ones we asked had older properties and a few birds and we glad to get a few more. Familes with youngsters are particularly good prospects.[​IMG]
     

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