What did you do with your old hens that no longer lay eggs?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by 4urbanchicks, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. 4urbanchicks

    4urbanchicks Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 26, 2010
    What do people do with their hens that have gotten so old that they are not laying at all? If you have a large flock, do you just keep them? I am hoping I will be able to find someone to take mine that like to keep chickens around even if they aren't laying anymore, since we have only room for three hens and can't really get new hens without getting rid of the old ones.
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    People sometimes choose to keep them. You've decided you cannot or will not.
    People sometimes make chicken broth soup or dumplings with them. Tasty.
    People sometimes sell them, but their destiny is likely someone else's cook pot. That's about it.
  3. CarolJ

    CarolJ Dogwood Trace Farm

    Jun 3, 2011
    Middle Tennessee
    Basically you have four choices: (1) process them yourself; (2) give/sell them to someone else who will process them; (3) keep them and get eggs elsewhere; and (4) find someone with plenty of acres who can keep hens that don't lay. I can't think of anything else to do with them. With our first seven, we will keep them until they die - our granddaughters named them - they're special to us - and we have plenty of room for extras. The ones we've gotten since then we've not named - so we will probably sell to someone who will process them when they get older. I don't think I have the courage to process them myself.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2012
  4. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    I have to agree with Fred, although there are some people that will take them off your hands and keep them as pets. I will keep mine around for their lifetime, but that's me.
  5. Daisy8s

    Daisy8s Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 12, 2011
    Central Michigan
    When it was time to cull three of my birds I gave them to a family who are refugees from Southeast Asia. They are recent immigrants and quite familiar with processing poultry and they were very grateful for the extra food. I felt good that the chickens met a humane and somewhat meaningful end (they were certainly appreciated for what they could provide: dinner).

    Incidentally, in this process I learned that this community needs to kill a rooster as part of their culture's baby-naming ritual. So, now I know where to send any future roosters that I may hatch. It's a win/win for all of us!

    I don't think you need to feel bad about chickens being eaten. Unless you're a vegetarian you've eaten chicken before. Chickens that started as backyard egg-layers and then ended this way certainly had a far, far superior life than commercially raised broilers whose only destiny was the supermarket.
    sueiris and mich9510 like this.
  6. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Dec 22, 2009
    Once my birds stop laying they will live the remainder of their live's with me as pets.
    1 person likes this.
  7. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Flock Master Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    We butcher ours, and I pressure-can them. They get nice and tender that way, and I always have some cooked chicken on hand for a quick meal. I kind of feel bad about it, but if I want to continue to have layers, that's what I need to do to make room for them. I've learned over the years to not name my food. I don't get so attached that way. I think there is no right or wrong answer to this question. Each person has to do what's best for their flock management.
    2 people like this.
  8. Kickin' Chickin'

    Kickin' Chickin' Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 8, 2010
    Upstate New York
    How exactly do you pressure can them .I am intrigued by this.
    sueiris likes this.
  9. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Flock Master Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    You need to buy a pressure-canner, jars, lids, the whole works. There are usually instructions that come with the canner that tell you how to can your produce or meat, and how long to do so. It can be quite an investment at first, and is time-concuming, but I think the payoff is worth it. Another good source for instruction is the Ball Blue Book of home preservation. You can look it up online if you want more information before going out and buying all the stuff you need.
    sueiris likes this.
  10. carladababe

    carladababe Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 25, 2010
    Dixon, Missouri
    My chickens have a forever home, eggs or not. I'll get more when the time comes, I'm just hoping when that time comes I don't have to do it. [​IMG]

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