What do you do with old chickens that stop laying?

Brooke 1

9 Years
Mar 1, 2010
We have decided to get chickens. Working on designing a coop, talking to other chicken “farmers” and deciding what kind of chickens we want base on egg production, and temperament of the birds and reading the internet and Raising Chickens for Dummies. However, during dinner this evening, my wife asked me what we would do with the chickens after a few years and they stop laying. Now I am asking you, what do we do? We are both animal lovers and want to have maybe 10 or so chickens for eggs for us and our neighbors.
from Indiana! Well, There are a few things you can do with your older chickens.... You can keep them as pets allowing them to live out their days, or you can sell them, or you can make a nice dinner with them. I'll be facing this problem in the next year or 2... I have 20 laying hens. I don't know what I'm gonna do! We've named these birds and everything! IDK.. maybe the good Lord will take them young so I don't have too!
You're doing great by pre planning! Wish I would have!
well the obvious answer is, into the stewpot. Alot of people don't feel comfortable doing this though and you can keep them as pets or find someone who will take them, and most likely butcher them. You could try living by the old farmers saying- an egg a day keeps the hatchet away...
My neighbour has chickens that are allll way too old to lay, and they just kind of hang around as pets. They free range all the time, so the population will disappear over time eventually.

I'm still in the process of getting rid of my hatchery hens, I gave away 10 of them and now I have 4 left including baldy hen who is meeting the killing cone and going to the barncats because no one wants to eat her, and the other 3 depending on how long and how well they come through their moults, will find new homes.
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I appreciate all the great and humorous advice. We have talked about it some more and have another question. We are looking at getting Red Star Hens and Rhode Island Red Hens, probably five of each. On my Pet Chicken, they are calling these dual purpose birds. I am assuming that this means they are good for boat laying and eating. My question now is, how good is a chicken like this to eat after three years?
I think the meat can be pretty tough when they are that age....hence the recommendation to use them in the stew pot.

I have not butchered any chickens myself...but I would if my husband weren't so opposed to it. I'll give them happy healthy years - plenty of space to live and free range during the day, all the chicken food they could ever eat, table scraps, safety at night, and I even provide them five cats to chase to their hearts-content! My chicken really do live a good chicken-life. So I am not opposed to giving them the best life has to offer a chicken in exchange for a few meals....

...but forget it - my husband will have nothing to do with it. *sigh*

My back-up plan is to sell them in their 2nd summer (in which case someone else will probably cook them up), and order all new chickens to start again.
My girls have names, so they will be living their life out as pets. Could you eat something that you take care of everyday? I couldn't !

I let my old ladies retire. They get to help keep the tick and insect population down. However, many of my birds lay very well way past year 2 or 3. I have 4 year old polish that seem to be laying just about every day right now. I have a Speckled Sussex that just stopped laying last year at around age 7.

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