I want egg-laying pets, not just pets

Redwood City Guy

10 Years
Sep 29, 2009
This is my first post (other than my introduction), and I wasn't sure which category this might fit. I assure you that I am not trying to offend anyone. I'm a complete novice and am trying to decide if I want to invite a few chickens to my urban lot. Here in Redwood City the ordinance says I am allowed up to three chickens. My limited internet research says that chickens lay eggs for 3-4 years, and then continue demanding food and space for another 6 years or so. Hmm. I'm not sure that poop and companionship is good enough for that last six years. I want eggs. I'm not sure how attached I will get to the chickens as pets. Is it horrible to want to get rid of them once they stop laying? And how would I do that? Should I consider birds of differing ages so that maybe one of the three would be laying eggs? Does this make sense to anyone out there?
Being new to the chicken game myself. I have chickens of different ages. But most people once a hen stops laying they eat them. Or so I've hear and read. It's really up to you. I think though you might get attached to them if they have great personalities. But again thats just me and I'm a softie. Hope this helps. By the way Welcome!
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You can put them in the crock pot once they've passed laying age, if you wish.

Some birds will continue to lay for years past their peak; they just slow down and give you less eggs per week.

I'd suggest Rhode Island Reds as fairly prolific layers with some staying power.
from Oklahoma,

Its not horrible at all to rotate out the non egg producers. Alot of people do it. They are your chickens and you decide what is best for you. If you want chickens for eggs ,alot of people get fresh hens every 2 years.

You can sell or process your older hens. Alot of people on here have pets that lay eggs. Then there are others that have meat chickens just to raise them for meat.

All are welcome here and we are glad to have you join us.
I have 50+ after this weekend I will have 6 less. roos. I process only my roos that I dont want. My hens are pets weather they lay an egg or not-IMO ( In My Opinion) I am a huge softy-to soft hence the 50+ chickens. I dont think I could even crock pot a girl that died of old age or natural causes:) My DD and I get very attached to all animals we take on. I would never hold it against anyone who decides to butcher birds after production dies down. I just couldnt is all-shoot if my hens got old and layed once a week Id probably clap for them!!! Dont blame you for not wanting to feed chickens that dont give you what your paying for-I havent gotten to that point yet-mine are laying machines but no one is older than 15 months old...I may change my mind if 30 hens stopped from old age! But hopefully thats far away
There are folks on the forum that have hens that are still laying in their 7th and 8th year. Not alot of eggs, mind you, but they are not going to just stop completely on their third birthday.
Other folks rotate out their hens after their 2nd or 3rd season. It's a personal thing.
Not horrible, it's practical and with limited space and limited numbers allowed due to your location, totally understandable.

If you aren't willing to turn them into soup, (again understandable, it's not for everyone...) you can put an add on Craigs List, or find a sale/auction, where people will buy them for the few eggs they may continue to lay, or to process for the table or to feed their dogs etc.

Glad you came by! Welcome to BYC!
I took on just a few birds (5) because I wanted pets/egg layers. I know that egg production will drop eventually. Because I only have a few, I really handle them a lot. They will not be disposed of when they get older. To me, they are like my cats or dogs. But many feel differently.

I think the hardest part of only having three hens would be that you would really grow to care for them. So maybe ample fresh eggs won't seem as important two or three years from now...who knows???
If you can only have 3, then you'd definately want to rotate stock to ensure you'll have eggs. There's a good number of people who will take them as pets only.

Not all hens stop laying at the same time. One hen my grandmother had laid until the day she died at 10, though they were about the size of a Robins egg instead of an XL egg. After her prime her eggs just got smaller, and smaller... and smaller.
I will not be able to process my girls once they stop laying--It's just too hard for me and as hard/harder for my dh...we become too attached to our animals.

Shoot--I am only getting 6-7eggs a day from 13..They are between 26-30weeks--I read that my Ameraucanas might have to be a yr old before they lay--- So, the feed keeps pouring in, the waterers get scrubbed and refilled twice a day, I buy sunflower seeds, bird seed, nuts, raisins, I clean their coop every morning and 'spot' clean it thru out the day.. Every evening, I sit in a chair--on high alert, doing head-counts, charging into the woods if I hear leaves crunching and get eaten by bugs--no matter the weather --so they can have free range time..

Nope, my girls will be here until they die of old age--I hope..

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