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When our chickens get old

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Kendall Chicks, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. Kendall Chicks

    Kendall Chicks In the Brooder

    Oct 18, 2009
    My chickens are part of the family and Im pretty torn about what to do when they are at the age that they stop producing eggs. I don;t want to let them go but I don't want to keep making my hen house bigger either. What are you going to do????

  2. Buff Hooligans

    Buff Hooligans Scrambled

    Jun 11, 2007
    We only have 4 hens, and we are happy to let them have a happy retirement after "henopause".
  3. PeeperKeeper

    PeeperKeeper Songster

    I keep hoping they'll die of "natural" causes. My oldest are only 18 months old right now but I gave them all names!
  4. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

    Mar 20, 2008
    NW Kentucky
    My 28 girls and 1 boy are my pets...they stay with me no matter what.
  5. chickenshagg

    chickenshagg THE ALPHA ROO

    Apr 18, 2009
    St. Charles, MO
    My wife and I have agreed that we will allow our hens to live out their full lifes as best as possible. I just had this conversation yesterday with a friend who told me that when their production slows or stops that I should move them from the coop to the dinner table. When I was trying to convince my wife to get chickens I had to agree that we would not eat our own chickens. Now I know I couldn't do that! I re-homed two young roos this summer that I am sure would have made a great meal but I couldn't kill.
    If you have enough space you can just add a few new birds every year and that would keep you going with eggs. My Mother-in-Law has an old hen that must be five or six years old now and she still surprises everyone with an egg every now and then.
  6. sotelomary

    sotelomary Songster

    I'm new to chickens and have also thought about this. I agree with you that it would be very hard to kill them after raising them for so long. I know I will not have the heart to do it since I have given them names. I would not be able to eat them. As it was, I felt alittle weird eating their first egg!

    For me it will depend how badly I will want eggs. If eggs are very important to me, I might give my old chickens away knowing what their outcome will be and get new ones. If eggs are not so important, I may keep them. It is just my husband and I so we don't really need that many eggs.

    I admire and respect people who can butcher and eat their own chickens. I know that after giving them the best loving care, that these people honor and respect their chicken by giving them a quick and merciful death. Their chickens continue by giving them a food source at the end and they are very grateful.

    My chickens are my pets but I do understand that they are animals and a very important food source to many.

    What ever you do will be the right decision for you.

    Good Luck,
  7. acbear93

    acbear93 Songster

    Jul 18, 2009
    Oostburg, Wisconsin
    I have 13, 2 are not laying for sure as they have not come back after being broody yet...2 are approaching about 4 years old, lay occasionally, and the egg quality is definitely not what it used to be, all warped and sometimes watery, and they are going to the butcher. I am struggling with who else is going to be in the soup pot as I would like to narrow it down to about half of what I have right now for the winter. I have 2 upcoming layers that should start producing in the spring, maybe March, and I know that I will be hatching eggs come that time too, so, I think its ok to eat your own birds...If you dont want to keep expanding, something has got to give...its whatever you are ok with...I had a mean rooster at one point, and didnt have any problem at all making soup out of him...if you want eggs, and arent getting any, then the bird can be useful in another way by being meat for the best chicken soup ever, dont get me wrong, I love every one of my chickens, I really enjoy how beautiful they all are, and I like watching them free range or come up to me when I have a treat for them...but I cant afford to just keep feeding them and not get anything back from them. If you want to keep them all as pets, then you just have to make room...Good luck with whatever you decide... [​IMG]

  8. kit1470

    kit1470 In the Brooder

    Apr 15, 2009
  9. thebigroo

    thebigroo In the Brooder

    Apr 14, 2009
    I have a Mexican friend that makes tacos and burittioes out of them. He does all my extra roosters and the older hens that stop laying. I am lucky to have such a good friend. We split everything 70 for him and 30 for me. I love my poultry but I can't feed but so many. I keep only about 25 hens, 4 roosters and a male and female turkey. I had ducks but they were to messy. I alos butchered my own stuff until Frenando asked to do the split. My wife is a lot happier now that he does the butchering. I am just a country guy and I hunt and fish so it is not so difficult for me. I love my poultry but they are not pets but, I treat them as well as possible and then with respect I bring them to the end. This is just my way and I respect anyone that keeps them as pets or that just lets them live out the life till they die of old age. I could not kill my pet dog or cat so I understand their point of view. That is why I do not keep my poultry as pets. I have almost gotten to close to having a hen as a pet and gave her away. Jst my Opinion, thanks
  10. jafo

    jafo Songster

    May 2, 2009
    My neighbor (72 yrs young) had a hen that was the last one standing from his Dad's flock, and she lived for a very, very long time, as in many many years all alone. I asked him if she ever laid an egg, and he says "oh once in a great while if she thinks about it" 10 years ago a pidgeon flew in the old barn where he kept her in the old coop,,,,,,and never left. The hen and pidgeon became pals. Two years ago, the old hen finally died, but fars I know, Mr B. still has the pidgeon. I asked why he did'nt let him out to fly off, and he fiuggers the old bird would'nt know how or where to find food, and would'nt make it any way. Kind of unique relationship.

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