Starting over with new hens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by dchemphill1, Dec 24, 2014.

  1. dchemphill1

    dchemphill1 Hatching

    Dec 24, 2014
    We have 9 hens and a rooster that are 3 years old and slowing down on the laying. My wife is not okay with making the chickens "stew chickens" but we want to get new layers....can we kick the older chickens out of the coop to free range the property? I realize they will be at the mercy of nature without the coop to protect them. What other ideas do any of you have....I know that throwing new chickens into the coop is not a good thing to do.

    Thanks and Merry Christmas
  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchi Wan Kenobi

    Mar 27, 2012
    My Coop
    I would not just toss the old one outs with no protection from the elements and to be at the mercy of predators. To me that is cruelty. I rescued a group of birds from just such a situation. If you must kill them, you should explain to your wife that a quick death to be made into stew is much kinder than a slow death due to exposure or a violent, painful death due to a predator attack.

    Why don't you try to find them a new home? You could post them for free on your local craigslist, and there's even a spot for rehoming birds on this forum you can try. You can also try your local state thread on here. \

    Also, you can blend new and old birds. I add new birds every year to make sure I have young birds laying for me. There will be some fighting while the pecking order is established, but there are many threads on here about how to manage the situation and about how to add new birds as seamlessly as possible, so that is also an option if you want to keep the old birds.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2014
    2 people like this.
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    What you are suggesting may very well backfire on you, as that will draw in predators, and after they eat the ones you have turned loose, they will be looking pretty carefully at your new ones.

    Try craigslist, if you want. However, if they are just hatchery birds, they may just start to die off. Regardless that they have quit now, the winter solstice is over, and the days are getting longer, and my own birds without added light start picking up on laying mid - end of January. If you do as you suggest, you won't have any eggs until next September..... and they will be pullet eggs.

    I would cull some, raise some, mix them together and cull again in the fall.

    Mrs K
    2 people like this.
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    Please don't turn those old gals loose to the elements or predators. They've given you eggs for 3 years. While your wife finds the thought of turning them into stew to be repulsive to her, that would be far more humane than what she is suggesting. You can give them away, eat them, or keep them in humane housing and well fed until they die a natural death. I've heard that some hens live 9 years, and maybe even longer. No one will fault you for giving them away. And even if they end up on someone else's dinner plate, that is preferable to being left to fend for themselves in the wild.
    3 people like this.
  5. pdirt

    pdirt Songster

    May 11, 2013
    Eastern WA
    All very good advice, though I think Mrs K makes an extremely good point that releasing the old birds to free range on your property is like chumming for a shark. That shark will stay around and might get a chance to make another meal out of your new birds. Then you would be faced with perhaps killing the predator, because once they've found easy meals, many times the only real solution is euthanasia.

    Either find new homes for your birds or convince your wife to make stew. If she doesn't budge, you might ask her to consider the new flock becoming stew in 3 years, she might find it easier to grapple that if from the beginning of a new flock.
    1 person likes this.
  6. ChookRanger

    ChookRanger Chirping

    Jun 25, 2014
    I don't know your situation concerning space or feed budget or any of that kind of thing, but have you thought of building a new coop? Many people have started a new coop with an eye to doing what they should have done the first time. I personally love building structures and I loved building my coop, but if I did it again I would do it better. Another thing: you might check is to see if any of your layers are going broody. Since you have a roo maybe you could just hatch your next generation the old fashioned way. Good luck, whatever you choose.[​IMG]
  7. Sounds like miss guided chicken Math to me. If they are your pets treat them as such regardless of production. If new egg layers are in order then take the necessary steps to accommodate them whether that be new housing or the alternative. Your old chickens may turn out to have a great life span but the choice should always be made. Never leave them to suffer the elements.
    1 person likes this.
  8. tav1

    tav1 Songster

    Nov 4, 2014
    i'm just starting with this hen laying thing and about to get my 3 hens this Saturday. I have thought about
    that situation my self and where and how when the time comes to rehome them, we have an animal nature preserve
    center in our state that has almost every kind of drive thru and look and pet the animals for a fee ....this is the place I would be asking to rehome the birds. just saying.
  9. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. .....

    Mar 9, 2014
    My Coop
    X 2
  10. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Enabler

    Mar 9, 2014
    Northern Colorado
    For me the situation is that DH is not so ok with them becoming dinner. I am the caretaker and after 4+ months with 0 eggs will be putting mine in the freezer. DH has agreed after he thought long and hard about it. He has told me the ones he does NOT want culled. I am ok with keeping a few for pets.
    Please do not misunderstand. They are all well cared for and named, however if I wait for them to die of natural causes then I have to deal with the carcass and the meat is wasted.
    I am farm raised DH not so much. DH is choosing to opt out of the processing and looking for local butcher shops so I do not have to do the deed.
    I do not have space to make a retirement home nor do I wish to deal with death over and over as age claims them. I am trying to approach the situation as logically as possible.
    I hope for the best outcome for your gals be it retirement or quick dispatch.
    1 person likes this.

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