What do YOU DO with an old hen

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by yogifink, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. yogifink

    yogifink Songster

    May 16, 2013
    Pinebluff, nc
    My Coop
    I was wondering what everyone does with their older hens after they have dried up?

    Do most prefer to keep them around as pets or to let them go to the kitchen table?
  2. HeatherEmme

    HeatherEmme Chirping

    Apr 4, 2013
    I can't speak for anyone else, but I will keep mine until they die of old age (hopefully). Killing them after they're all 'used' up and can no longer be of use to me just seems so....callous. I suppose that's only because I keep chickens for eggs and as pets, somewhat. I have enough space to simply add to the flock and let the older hens live out their lives.
  3. txnative

    txnative Chirping

    Apr 30, 2013
    Kempner, Texas
    I haven't had that yet - new to chicks this year - but assuming they make it past laying age then they'll be allowed to just hang out until they die. I know by then I'll have been struck by "chicken math" and the "I'm only going to have 5" will be long gone. I'm already thinking about a bigger coop!
  4. yogifink

    yogifink Songster

    May 16, 2013
    Pinebluff, nc
    My Coop
    Yeah about that chicken math...I've read that a hen can live to be 15 years old, and they stop laying (productively) after two or three. Maybe an egg here and there for 10 years?
  5. bops

    bops In the Brooder

    Aug 3, 2013
    I have a six year old Rhode Island Red. Id never cull her as she is too much of a pet:) I thought she stopped laying at least two years ago. Funnily enough, she has laid a few eggs this last fortnight, and most of the other hens are moulting.
    Nice auld girl :)
  6. Krazzy

    Krazzy In the Brooder

    Jun 27, 2013
    older hens may have other uses than laying eggs. an older calm hen can help keep the flock calm. if shes a good broody mother she can hatch and take care of the chicks. she will still eat bugs. insect control.

    i guess it depends on your setup, and if you can afford to keep her around. she would make an okay stewing chicken if you wanted to go that route.
  7. Nicole01

    Nicole01 Crowing

    Mar 28, 2011
    I keep mine as pets. I have a couple that stopped laying, but they are my buddies. I won't cull unless they are hurt or very ill. We ate an internal layer we culled that was 1.5 years old and it tasted nasty. I even slow cooked it in the crock pot. The dogs wouldn't eat it either, so our hens that do pass are buried along with my other pets that passed.

    I would like to get a few broilers to try. Those are meant to be eaten. :)

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: