What to do about aging flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Cmcclosk, Nov 3, 2015.

  1. Cmcclosk

    Cmcclosk New Egg

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    Sep 1, 2015
    My backyard flock are now five years old and some are not laying like they were. What do folks do about the old hens?
     
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    Apr 6, 2014
    Melrose Park Illinois
    I keep mine till they go to the other side naturally. My oldest now is 9 1/2 and blind. ( I know what you may be thinking, but that is just me.).. My oldest prior live to be 13. Did not lay for about 5 of her last years.
    Your options are.
    Eat them. as soup birds.
    Offer them to someone else for ??? Except cruel rituals.
    KEEP THEM AND ENJOY LIFE.

    WISHING YOU BEST AND [​IMG]
     
  3. feather13

    feather13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Since I have space, I also let mine live their lives out. Cavemanrich: Wow! None of my hens have ever lived past four years. That might change now that they are no longer free range, but they tend to get eaten by predators, contract a respiratory disease, or just inexplicably die. I let the flock die down to three or less and then get more chicks from a reputable breeder and start the long and difficult process of introducing them to the old ladies club. I would say you could let them advance to old age since they've done you the service of laying all those years or you could just ethically kill them. I don't know how a bird that old would taste. Good luck!
     
  4. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    @feather13
    My chickens do live long, but some were also victims to predators. At least 2 to hawks. and a number of the rest to raccoons. One time 3 of the girls left to some respiratory condition also. It was not pretty. [​IMG] Rest of the flock survived the disease. I try to protect them the best I am able to. I let them free range when I am outside doing things. When I'm not home, they have an area classified as a run which is somewhat covered with overhead tarps (lite duty) to protect from rain sun, and flying raptors. There are also things in there that allow chickens to hide under. Area is about 15 x 60.. Chickens probably think its free range in such a large area. LOL LOL.. During summer , I cover the ground with grass clippings. They scratch and scratch and scratch, endlessly. When they get tired, they stretch themselves and absorb the sun's warmth. A few times I got frightened when I saw them. They looked like as if they were attacked and dead, lying on their side. I have a variety of breeds, and none are sexlinks. Sexlinks are great , lay many eggs , but do get burned out soon and do not live long as a result. Of course broilers live shorter still.. Do not have any of those.
     
  5. feather13

    feather13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    @cavemanrich : Those are some lucky chickens you have! Losing chickens to predators and respiratory diseases is so gruesome. Mine are now in a large, predator proof and protected run and two large coops. They have plenty of space to run around and roost, but it's not the same as free range. I like the grass clipping idea, especially in the summer. I put clippings in there and what doesn't get eaten dries up. I also grow collard greens, which they are crazy about. I hang the leaves up all over the coop so the chickens have something to find and eat. They also get really excited when I let the hose trickle water into the coop. They act like it's 10x better than the water in their hanging containers. The first time I saw the hens relaxing in the sun, I also thought they were dying! Some love to lay on their backs with their legs up and look dead LOL

    @Cmcclosk : Another thing I do is buy slightly more chicks than is permissible in my area all at once (just in case one or two dies). They all mature together and they all start passing away together. It's easier then to get a new batch and you don't have to face the stress of introducing a bunch of batches of chicks. Another thing I never, EVER do is introduce "orphaned" birds or chicks from any other place than our local breeder. All of the hand-me-down hens we've gotten over the years have brought disease to our established flock (even with quarantining) and that's been heartbreaking. Weirdly enough, the local breeder we use has incredibly docile, friendly birds. We've never had any issue with aggressiveness, whereas the rescue birds always seem to turn mean or are skittish. Just some random advice to take or leave!
     

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