What do I do with my girls that have stopped laying???

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Sienatiger, Jul 21, 2016.

  1. Sienatiger

    Sienatiger Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 5 hens that have stopped laying. I am getting 16 new chicks and was hoping to start fresh. The only problem is, I don't know what to do with my old hens. I don't want to slaughter them because I don't believe in slaughtering unless the animal is sick or being used for meat. My local farm won't take them either. Does anyone have any ideas?
     
  2. eviemethugh

    eviemethugh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well if you are on the meat bird page, are you trying to find out how to eat them?

    Can you let them free range? They will find most of their food themselves, lowering your feed bill, so they can take care of themselves mostly and you don't have to worry that anyone you give them to may eat them.

    If you do want to eat them, I'm sure we can rustle up some ideas for that too. Craigslist is usually full of people happy to take a free bird to turn into a family meal, if you would be happy letting them go to good use.
     
  3. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How old are your hens? Breed? Hens can stop laying for different reasons. In the summer, are they broody? Starting a molt?
    Unless they are really old they will start laying again. If you're getting new chicks you may be looking at 6 months with no eggs or even longer if they come to laying age when the days are shortening in light and it is cold. Hopefully, if you hang on to them, your older hens will carry you through until the younger ones start laying.
    I personally prefer different ages within the flock. I think the older ones show the newer ones the ropes so to speak.
    BTW, previously when we went back into chickens when we moved back to the country I didn't know anyone with sexed day olds. We found a farmer who wanted to cut down on his flock and sold us hens, 20 of them for a dollar apiece and threw in a rooster. This was an excellent deal and we had eggs for a long time.
     
  4. Sienatiger

    Sienatiger Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My hens are 5 years old and they are mixed breeds. They are mostly layers, but one is a silkie. I feel like it is time to restart anyway. I feel sad giving them up though. I already have my new chicks. I dont have the space to mix them either. Thanks for your help!
     
  5. Sienatiger

    Sienatiger Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh oops didn't realize I was on a meat bird page. I never pay attention to that lol.

    They are already free range, but they keep wandering into our neighbors yards. I wish I could keep them but I just don't have space; especially if I am not getting any eggs from them.

    Craigslist is a good idea. I'm skeptical of people on the internet though.

    Thanks for the help and ideas!
     
  6. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

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    I'm afraid I'm going to take a tough stance here.
    These chickens have provided you with eggs for the past 4.5 years and now that they are no longer producing, you want to shirk your responsibility to them and hope to find someone else who will feed and care for them in their old age....since you appear to be against slaughtering them.
    I'm also sceptical of people on the internet, especially when they are looking to pass the buck! In my opinion, you owe these hens their retirement or a quick death and maybe they will provide you with one last meal or at least some soup. Palming them off onto someone else is pretty lame... unless of course, you are happy for a struggling family to make a meal from them, but I would want to know that they were killed quickly and humanely.
    Probably not what you want to hear, but I feel it had to be said.
     
    2 people like this.
  7. Sienatiger

    Sienatiger Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know it's going to be hard to get rid of them, and I agree that they have been laying wonderful eggs for me for the past 4.5 years. I know I owe it to them to give them retirement or quick slaughter, but I just have a small backyard flock, and live in a small neighborhood in which people get annoyed when the hens wander into their yards(which they have been doing more and more lately). I'm not fully against slaughtering, I just can't bring myself to do it because again, I've had them for four years and they aren't sick. I wouldn't eat them either because I am a vegetarian. I looked in to giving their meat to families in need, but apparently the meat has to be USDA certified. I will figure something out. I live in a town where chickens are common and loved. Hopefully I can find someone to take them. Just out of curiosity, when you butcher a chicken, is it hard to do? Does it make you feel sorry for them? I'm not an emotional person, so I am wondering if in last case senario, I could do it myself. If I did, I would make soup and give it to friends. Thanks so much for your thoughts
     
  8. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

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    If the only problem with keeping them, is that they are straying into neighbours' gardens/yards, then make your yard secure and clip their wings.

    I find it hard emotionally to kill, but not physically. I use the broom shank method. I pick them off the roost on a night when they are quiet, carry them to a separate area hold them upside down by their feet(they automatically tip their head back to look forward), lower them so that their head only is an the ground and drop the broom shank over the back of their neck, quickly step onto either side of it and tug sharply up to dislocate the neck.... best to pull too hard and rip the head off as too gently and not do the job properly. As with most methods, they will most likely flap for a minute or so afterwards, which is a nerve reaction. I made a cone from a piece of carpet off cut screwed to a piece of plywood....leaving a gap of a few inches below the bottom of the cone to put a dish to collect blood, I line it with an old feed bag and I drop them into that and it's very easy to cut off their head once the neck is broken and let them bleed into the dish..... you can then use the blood to feed plants and trees in your garden.

    I think it is a credit to you that you do not want to kill unless due to sickness or for slaughter and particularly that you would consider processing them for friends when you are a vegetarian yourself.

    Good luck whatever you decide. .
     

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