What do you do with your adult birds

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by homesteadlizzy, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. homesteadlizzy

    homesteadlizzy In the Brooder

    Mar 5, 2007
    I know chickens can live 15 years. I was wondering if most of you keep your birds for their full life span...When they stop laying do you just keep them as part of the flock? I ask because I know a lot of chicken lovers don't butcher, they love getting new chicks every year, so what do you do with them, just keep growing your flock?
  2. Feathers n Fur

    Feathers n Fur Chirping

    Apr 27, 2012
    Hunterdon County NJ
    Mine are only 10 months and under right now but I plan to keep them until they pass on of old age. They are pets with benefits providing a yummy egg dinner for our family every Thursday night.
  3. I have my chickens for pets not the eggs, so I am planning to keep them till they die!
  4. jdywntr

    jdywntr Songster

    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    I think it just depends on the person. I have mine for meat and eggs. While I am not going to cull after their biggest production period is over (about 1 yr) I don't see keeping them forever. I already process extras. I do have 2 two year old white leghorns that were my first aqcuisition after we moved her last June so I could get some quick eggs. They still lay just about every day but there is a big difference in their eggs compared to my younger birds. The whites are runnier and the yolks are paler. They will be the first to go when I'm processing to reduce numbers. Currently they are just providing breakfast eggs as they are too quick for the roos to catch (haven't seen a fertile WLH egg yet) and they lay the largest egg.

    Personally, I think that many people want to keep their chickens forever but the chickens will really change in their egg laying ability and if someone can only have 4 or 5 chickens due to laws, keeping them, without eggs, for 6-7 years is unrealistic.
  5. Vian

    Vian Chirping

    Mar 8, 2013
    I'm new to the boards and I am wondering this as well. I have two hens that are about 4 years old now and no longer lay. I would like to get a few new babies this year to have eggs again, but I don't have room for more than 2 or 3 birds. I'm not opposed to slaughtering, but I'm afraid that at 4 or 5 years old, they are too old even to eat, and I'm not really sure what to do with them : / I think in the future I will have the older birds slaughtered for meat after the new years birds are old enough to start laying.

    How do you find someone to slaughter the older birds? I'm not sure where to look for a butcher that would do it and I'm totally not prepared to do it myself.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2013
  6. maggiemo

    maggiemo Songster

    Sep 1, 2012
    Front Range Colorado
    No matter how old the bird is it will make the best soup you have ever had.
  7. SFlChicks

    SFlChicks In the Brooder

    Oct 28, 2010
    South Florida
    Do you kill a dog just because it's too old to do guard duty? One of our girls was sick about 2 weeks ago and it broke my heart. I really didn't think she would make it through the night. She is fine now, after a couple of days of TLC, but the thought of killing them because they don't lay breaks my heart. Our girls are part of the family and will always do pest and weed control at a minimum.
  8. cary 1973

    cary 1973 Songster

    mine are pets first and for most when they stop laying eggs then they will just be my cuddle chickens I live in Las Vegas and have a limted space but it dont matter they will be with me till they go to the rainbow bridge.
  9. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    "What do you do with your adult birds" - I hug 'em and kiss 'em and name 'em all individual names.

    Actually, I did that with them as they grew up. They live out their lives here.

    I started keeping chickens in October 2009. I may end up being unable to move without stepping on poultry at some point, but not for some years.

    Then I'll just have to win the lottery and buy the next door neighbor's property so I can expand.... :p
  10. Mattemma

    Mattemma Crowing

    Aug 12, 2009
    We run a geriatic center for chickens,lol.One RSL has not laid since her first year,but she was one of the first so unless illness/injury is severe she and the others avoid the chop block.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by