What do you do with old chickens that stop laying?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Brooke 1, Mar 1, 2010.

  1. Brooke 1

    Brooke 1 New Egg

    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.
  2. Gonzo

    Gonzo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 25, 2009
    Southwestern, In
    [​IMG] 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! [​IMG] You're doing great by pre planning! Wish I would have!
  3. 95yj

    95yj Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 25, 2009
    Central Vermont
    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...
  4. Chick_a_dee

    Chick_a_dee Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2008
    Peterborough, ON
    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.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2010
  5. redstars

    redstars Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 15, 2009
    south dartmouth ma
    I would also say free range more often.
    Your odds of them being around for long will drop dramatically.
  6. jerseygirl1

    jerseygirl1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 20, 2009
    Orange County, NY
    They wokr around the yard as roving insect eaters, expecially ticks
  7. Brooke 1

    Brooke 1 New Egg

    Mar 1, 2010
    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?
  8. Kelly G

    Kelly G It's like herding cats!

    Quote: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.
  9. jennh

    jennh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2007
    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 ! [​IMG]

  10. fancbrd4me02

    fancbrd4me02 Chillin' With My Peeps

    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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