Old Layers

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by thewildplanter, Dec 3, 2007.

  1. thewildplanter

    thewildplanter Hatching

    Dec 3, 2007
    What happens to old layers? I am trying to encourage my animal-loving sister-in-law to get laying chickens, but she has been told that you have to kill them when they get old. Is this true?
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Many of us will keep our girls till their natural deaths, whether they're still laying or not. My original flock will always have a home with me, no matter how many eggs they lay or don't lay. I don't just think of them as egglaying machines, but bug control and organic fertilizer for my garden, not to mention entertainment. You don't have to kill them, but many do choose to put spent layers in the stew pot.
  3. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Like Speckledhen says, you don't have to kill them, they can lay eggs for years. It is just that their laying ability decreases slowly after their second or third year into it. Awhile back someone posted that their 16 year old hen laid an egg for them.
  4. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    I've never had the heart to put my girls into the stew pot. Sometimes I'll take all but a few favorites to a local poultry auction, just because as I add new pullets I can't afford to keep and feed everyone. Right now I've got a couple of extra special girls who I'm sure will join some other old girls and live out their lives here.
  5. Picco

    Picco Songster

    Mar 14, 2007
    I have two hens in retirement that are quite old but are still productive. The silver laced wyandotte hen pictured in my avatar will turn ten this coming spring. She lays very well in the spring but slows down for the rest of the year. My easter egg hen is at least nine. I bought her as a "spent" hen when I think she was two or three so she could be a little older. This hen lays a green egg for me almost daily in the spring and lays sporadically for the rest of the year, clearly she is not "spent".

    My birds have lived great lives on pasture and have been relatively stress free. In a production setting hens are so stressed that they don't produce well after two years of age, but in a backyard situation hens can lay very well for many years. I would say my two old hens are an exception to the rule, but you can plan on at least 5 years of solid laying followed by a few more of sporadic laying provided the hens are fed a good diet.

    I always keep my old hens. Usually the majority don't live too long because of predation, but I keep those that do survive. My two old hens have there own pen in the coop where they don't have to be harassed by the younger roosters and compete with the other hens.
  6. bigzio

    bigzio Crowing

    Jan 20, 2007
    Yep my older hens will always have a useful place here, tilling, creating manure, bug control, and great entertainment on a daily basis.

  7. herechickchick

    herechickchick Songster

    Mar 28, 2007
    Memphis TN
    I agree, my girls are here until the end regardless of their laying capabilities. I love them.
  8. helmstead

    helmstead Songster

    Mar 12, 2007
    Alfordsville, IN
    My girls will always have a safe home here, laying or not.

    So answer is NO you don't have to kill them LOL that is more of an 'egg producer' mentality than a pet chicken mentality.
  9. Mac

    Mac Songster

    Jul 1, 2007
    South Central PA
    Yep, once an animal comes under my wing, so to speak, it stays there. All of my animals, regardless of age or production capabilities. So, I just don't have as many, but the ones I do have I can care for, emotionally and financially.

  10. Ga Chicken Mom

    Ga Chicken Mom Songster

    Jul 24, 2007
    My girls are young, some have just started laying and all are wonderful pets. They will live out their lives with us. My DH and I made a commitment when we got the chicks that they will be cared for all through their nartural lifespan. I could never put Buffy, Cookie, Sally, Myrtle, Jenny, Penny, Mable, Ethel and Gertie into the stewpot. I understand other people raise chickens for food, I just can't.

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