What do you do when hens lay less eggs?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by LakeBird, Jun 2, 2012.

  1. LakeBird

    LakeBird Songster

    Apr 23, 2012
    Pierce County, WA
    I have read that at about 3 years, hens start laying less eggs. We have chickens for the purpose of eggs and are limited to the number of chickens allowed because of city ordinances. What do you do with the older hens?
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Cull, which can mean anything from giving away to eating.
  3. iFairyx

    iFairyx Chirping

    Aug 3, 2011
    I've not had this yet...

    but my ex-batts will stay until they die of old age :) they had a hard enough start to life, so they deserve a nice long end to it.

    My others I will probably try to rehome, I don't like the idea of culling a healthy bird, however - most people would probably cull. It sounds harsh but most people have them for eggs, and as long as the kill it quick and clean then the bird knows nothing of it. Its a sad fact.

    NYREDS Crowing

    Jan 14, 2008
    They make good soup
  5. LakeBird

    LakeBird Songster

    Apr 23, 2012
    Pierce County, WA
    Thought I read somewhere that after about a year or so, the meat becomes tough. Only good for soup?
  6. Bleenie

    Bleenie Wyan-DO's

    I will re-home my older girls when they start showing a big drop in production. my oldest are around 3 years right now and just about all of them still lay a minimum of 5 eggs a week thankfully... it is definitely going to be hard re-homing them when the time comes!!
  7. lynn1961

    lynn1961 Songster

    Feb 14, 2011
    south central Oklahoma
    You can always cook them in a crockpot, or slow roast them covered in the oven.
  8. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

    May 11, 2010
    Since my life does not depend on how many eggs my hens lay, they will retire in comfort. Although for folks who do have limitations, you can advertise your senior chickens, and you'll be surprised at how many calls you get. If you are not squeamish, you can process them yourself.
  9. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    some people do an all out, and all in, but that leaves you with a great deal of time with no eggs.

    I like to add chicks every year, and to do so, I cull some chickens. The plan is for the cull to be in the 3 year + group. In the fall, my flock will have some pullets, some two year old hens, and some three year old hens.... but no 4 year old hens. The pullets will lay through out the winter, the 2 year olds will molt and then lay bigger eggs. But I always have at least some eggs. Right now, though I only have one two year old, and no three year olds, as it does not always go according to the plan, but I have a broody hen on eggs right now.

    The stewing chickens will be tougher if you fry them. But the flavor is well worth it if you stew them.

  10. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    We sell off our birds to keep the flock young and working toward our goal of total Blue Rock flock. I've still two production reds that have to go at some point but are giving five eggs per week each at 2.5 years old. We'll no doubt keep them until fall next year, we'll have a mixed breed black first year hen going with them at that time too. To me birds have sale value to 3 years old after that I'll eat them or give away.

    There are many ways to cook older birds to keep tender without just making stock. To make processing easier remove the skin with feathers. The skin is tough and most recipes wont call for it anyway. Long moist cooking at low heat breaks down the tougher yet very flavorful meat Caldo de Gallina Viejo; Mole Negro; Mole Colorado; Mole Pipian; Chicken Adobo; Chicken Mull; Coq Au Vin

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