What do people do when chooks stop laying?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by 88keysau, Dec 19, 2014.

  1. 88keysau

    88keysau In the Brooder

    Jan 2, 2014
    We have 4 Isa Browns, ex battery hens that have stopped laying. What do people do with their chickens when they have stopped laying but still have years to live? We are in that position with our 4 and we want them to have a good life but we would also like some eggs! Restricted in how many we can keep by council rules and regulations.......
    They are not sick or lacking in nutrients and have been seen by the vet, it would just appear that they have had a hard life for the first 18months and stopping laying about now is expected.......They are in Australia :)
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    You have 4 choices:
    You can open up a geriatric wing, which will mean you can't get any replacements given your restrictions.
    You can give them away. Someone else will eat them.
    You can eat them yourself.
    You can have them euthanized and bury them.

    Unfortunately, these hard decisions must be made by every poultry owner. Ideally, they should be made before that first chicken ever waltzes her way into your heart.
    8 people like this.
  3. Naser

    Naser Songster

    Oct 29, 2014
    I would cull them, to be honest with you, you shouldn't get ex-battery hens to start with. and not Isa Brown anyway. they are laying machines but they stop laying early.
    If I was you I will cull them and get the maximum number of good layer pure breed like RIR or light sussex. or any one that lays less than Isa Brown but they lay for much longer. I heard black sex linked hens are very good layers and lay for long.
    Isa Browns are big bullies
    This weekend I will cull 2 Isa Brown hens, they are 9 months old and laying, but they are very mean and making the life of other hens miserable
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
  5. Beer can

    Beer can Free Ranging

    Aug 12, 2014
    Upstate NY
    If you decide to eat them yourself, they can be tough. I used to pressure cook them, now I just slow cook in crock pot untill the meat falls of the bones, don't let it go too long or they will fall apart with little bones to pick out, thats why I use a slow cooker now easier to monitor . Great for soup, pot pies, or chicken-n-biscuits.
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    These are pretty much your options. I've both sold and butchered my older hens. They're not the most marketable, but I was able to find someone who just wanted yard ornaments and pest control. Or, I've butchered them. Pressure cooked and made some wonderful casseroles and broth.

    The last option is often overlooked by chicken owners, but it's still viable. A chicken's body is great fertilizer for the garden.
  7. cary 1973

    cary 1973 Songster

    when I was looking into adopting X battery hands on the contract it was I was keeping them till they died naturally and had to promise to give them a good life until they were naturally so you may want to look at what your contract is on where you got the battery hens. My girls first and foremost our pets and they will stay with me till the end comes for them naturally. But everybody to themselves and your choices are to either eat them kill them and or find other homes for them or keep until they go naturally it's really what you're most comfortable with
  8. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Crossing the Road

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    Lazy gardener hit it on the head. These are your choices, but only you can decide which one is for you. We eat ours. Feed costs enough that we don't want to feed non-productive birds. We can the meat from the old layers. It gets nice and tender and tastes oh, so good! And I love having it on hand. There is so much you can do with it!

    There really is no right or wrong answer to this question. Just what works best for you.
  9. Naser

    Naser Songster

    Oct 29, 2014
    When it comes to ex battery hens. "all that glitters is not gold"
    If you look in the link down. the guy is "helping" but he takes 5 Euro per hen. the same breed at POL they sell them at 8 Euro per hen. to me the guy is just making some profit and he is not honest about it.
    Also he says the hens are 13 months old. that doesn't make any sense to me either because commercial laying hens are culled much older than 13 months old
    If you have paid money for your hens you shouldn't have signed any contracts

  10. pdirt

    pdirt Songster

    May 11, 2013
    Eastern WA
    Most of the previous posts bring up a very good point. Ask yourself if the main reason you got the chickens was to have a few eggs or was it to give them a good home? I know it was probably both for you, but what really mattered to you most?

    I'm not familiar with that breed, but Naser said they lay fast and hard early on. I doubt they will NEVER lay an egg again, but what to expect realistically, I'm not sure. An egg or two a week?

    Have you ever received ANY eggs from them? How long have you had the birds?

    If you you've had them less than a year, they might need more time to recover. I'm not sure how bad the battery conditions were. If I were you, I certainly wouldn't do anything to try to force them to lay, such as adding extra light in the fall/winter or feeding lots of cayenne pepper. Just let them be and perhaps they will lay for you some day.

    If you're okay with the possibility that you may never get eggs (and it sounds like you are), your chickens sound like they have a good life.

    If you're not okay with it, you might consider either 1) illegally adding another couple (non-battery) chickens for eggs or 2) re-homing two of your current flock and replacing them with new chickens. If you do #2, be sure to be honest with whomever takes them that there is a good chance they will never lay eggs. And if you don't want them on someone's dinner table, be clear about that.

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