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older flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chicken parm, Jan 29, 2011.

  1. chicken parm

    chicken parm In the Brooder

    Nov 19, 2008
    My girls are 3 to 4 yrs old, 8 hens. there laying has slowed down and egg quality isn't what it used to be. my wife wants too have them eliminated. I see her point, but don't have it in me to do it. I knew this day would come but always tried not to think about it. HELP! what should I do?

  2. Chicken.Lytle

    Chicken.Lytle Songster

    Oct 19, 2010
    Montgomery County, TX
    I got my flock with the intention of processing them when they hit their second molt. Unfortunately, they have become pets instead of livestock. I could probably do the deed, but I would make an enemy in the process. So my situation is much like yours.

    I have no useful advice. I hope somebody here can share their experiences working through such a situation.
  3. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:Up to you. If you have the space and the money to continue to feed them, why not just keep them?
    DH knows that my first flock, my 3 yr. old brahmas, will be here their whole lives. He's fine with that, but I think a big part of the issue is that I am the one that feeds them, cares for them and buys all of their supplies.
  4. KimberlyJ

    KimberlyJ Songster

    Jun 13, 2010
    It depends on what your end goal is. You could post them on Craigs List, there are people out there that would take them and "eliminate" them. You may be able to find a butcher or friend that would process them for you, if you wanted to eat them... I guess you could just let them free range for a few nights and let the predator population "eliminate" them for you. IMO this option is no option at all and discusting, but....
  5. Alabama ee

    Alabama ee Songster

    Feb 18, 2010
    You could sell them as a starter flock to someone. There are actually some good things about an older flock. One thing is that they are somewhat more hardy then many that don't make it to that age. Also, some people don't like to raise chicks.
  6. Chicken.Lytle

    Chicken.Lytle Songster

    Oct 19, 2010
    Montgomery County, TX
    Quote:I feel terrible about this. I let my birds out to forage this morning. I just came from burying two that a hawk killed. [​IMG]
  7. ginormous chicken

    ginormous chicken Songster

    Jan 18, 2011
    Elverta, California
    I'm sorry [​IMG]. It is just so dang hard to lose birds. I hope you feel better.

    As for the question to the post. Like what was posted above, you can CL them for food and let someone take it. I know in my community, the Hmong are always looking for chickens for their religious rituals. I know my butcher in town, if I do the deed, he will pluck and process for me. (I don't like the smell of processing. After processing, I don't want to eat the chicken anymore. And since the point is to eat the bird, I let someone else do it.) Otherwise, I would just keep them, especially if they have become pets. If you CL a couple you could add a couple new ones without getting rid of the flock entirely. Just some ideas....

  8. Carrie Lynn

    Carrie Lynn Songster

    Aug 30, 2010
    S.E. Michigan
    OMG, how timely--- sad too.
    Have you ever had hawk problems before?
    Have they been allowed to forage in that area before?

    Sorry that happened,
    Carrie Lynn
  9. Chicken.Lytle

    Chicken.Lytle Songster

    Oct 19, 2010
    Montgomery County, TX
    Quote:This is the first hawk attack though I have seen them around before . This is the first time I have seen this hawk. It was huge and a beautiful brown color.

    My birds made themselves free range chickens during the fall . I let them out this morning to get in some forage before the rains start tonight. After lunch (and posting here) I went out to find the hawk eating my favorite hen . He must have been very hungry. He disemboweled one and decapitated the other, eating both her breasts.

    Normally I keep them in their enclosed pen , but they get so frustrated at being locked up.

    I cannot recommend the "let the predators eat them" thing. Just being exposed to the idea leaves me feeling worse, like I had wished this upon them. I try to be a good chicken keeper, but I sometimes fail. It is a hard lesson in the reality of the risk I accept when I let them forage. I am not sure I can accept that risk anymore, despite their wishes to the contrary.
  10. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Most of my hens are 4 years old or abit older. I've had them since day old hatchery chicks; raised them, fed and watered them, seen them through snake and hawk attacks, a possum or two, record heat and cold, through the parasite routine, 3 tropical storms and a few other things I cant think of right now. Several of them still jump up on my lap when I sit out in the backyard in a lawn chair, they're expecting a gentle neck rub. They follow me around everywhere in the yard. I still get some eggs from them about every other day. My decision is simple, even if they stop laying altogether...they'll be here for a long time to come.

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