Why are we raising chickens?

LulaBell

Songster
Jul 22, 2018
228
393
142
Southeast Ohio
There is debate in my house over why we have chickens. I like the life and companionship my flock offers. I like to watch them grow and interact and just be chickens. My husband likes this too, however he has more of an economical point of view. He sees all the money and time it takes to raise them. We make a little from the eggs we sell to help offset the cost of feed, by no means are we making a profit.

But what happens when they slow or stop laying? I would prefer to let them live out their life. My husband sees something we feed and get nothing from and would prefer to cull them for the freezer.

He grew up on a farm and I did not. That has had a tremendous impact on our lives as we do not share the same view of life and death (when it comes to our animals). I can’t find the line between pet and stock. I prefer everything to live and in the world of farming that is just not realistic.

My husband and I have laid out somewhat of a plan to raise a new flock every year and cull the oldest flock at around 3 years of age, like a cycle.That way we have them through the laying years and are getting the most from our investment by stocking the freezer.

What do you do? What is the purpose of your flock? How do you manage your attachment and feelings toward the animal you have raised and now have to kill?
 

HuskerHens18

Crowing
Mar 11, 2018
2,137
4,868
377
NE Nebraska (Go Cornhuskers!)
My mom and dad were the same. Dad didn't like feed costs. It took a long time, but I finally convinced him they are my pets. I love them more than dogs. They help with my anxiety and depression.
My oldest chickens are turning 8 this year, even my dad has gotten attached to them somewhat. He's stopped trying to convince me to sell our kill some. It took a lot of long talks and showing him how sweet they are. My mom wouldn't have let him hurt any anyway ;) she loves them too.
What helped convince him was I'd always make him brownies and other things with the eggs. It was like bribery :lol:
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
71,287
72,521
1,557
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
I keep chickens for food, eggs and meat,
grown under better conditions than grocery food.
Egg sales pay for their feed and most their bedding and other supplies.
There's no profit overall, when I include coop, run, incubator, and other equipment, that's the 'hobby' part.
No space or resources for keeping 'pet' birds, pet budget goes to my dog.
It's a hard balance, but that's where the Romance meets the Reality.

Every fall I sell or (usually)slaughter half dozen 2 to 3 yo hens, some get sold as stewing hens. Got to make room for the new pullets (hatched here) in my limited space before hard winter sets in. Cockerels go to freezer at 12-16 weeks in early summer.

I don't get too attached, am staunchly anti-anthropomorphic, even with my pet animals(tho I wouldn't eat them-they are not my 'children'). These birds are for food, got them for that purpose. Sure it's hard to kill a bird you've raised, first time was very hard, I'd never done that before, but I learned how to deal with it. Great life, thanks given on one 'really bad' day, after they're plucked they look almost identical to the many, many, many grocery birds I've cut up and eaten. Slaughtering, butchering, putting up is hard work...imagine what folks did before grocery stores.
 

BY Bob

Proprietor, Fluffy Butt Acres
Premium member
Jan 1, 2016
4,431
26,148
907
Hershey, PA
Ours are pets plain and simple. They live out their natural lives at Fluffy Butt Acres. We have not culled due to lack of laying. I do not provide supplemental light in the winter to keep them laying. They lay when they want. We do not sell eggs; we give them away when we have too many. I have raised meat birds and culled them every year and did not enjoy it. I was against getting a flock but my wife talked me into it and having them as pets is a totally different experience. I could not be happier with them.

As I always say, this is my experince. You must decide what is best for you. I have a flock of 4. You may have very different numerical challenges.
 

A_Fowl_Guy

Pig Whisperer
Premium member
5 Years
May 4, 2014
3,898
23,343
727
Newberry, Indiana
I cull after two years and sell some of the meat to a local Amish butcher shop. I get about 2 dozen eggs per day so I sell at our local farmers market and here at the farm. I have no attachment to my birds and they net me a small profit. I cull non-producing birds and any excess rooster (I keep 3).
 

Acre4Me

Crowing
Nov 12, 2017
3,265
6,850
497
Western Ohio
We have chickens for the experience, so tween can participate in county fair thru 4-H, for eggs, for meat.

We don’t take an anthropomorphic view of our chickens. We like them, though, but they are livestock to us, and not “children”. They have specific needs as chickens, like feed and water, space/shelter and companionship with other chickens, and we provide for their needs.

We’ve raised 1 batch of meat chickens and tween helped butcher, without problem. The meat birds were worth the effort - yum!

We’ve only been in this for 1 year. But, I suspect that it is possible 1 or 2 might get to live long lives, the rest will be culled or sold. We had three Leghorns that were 11 months old, healthy, but a poor fit for our flock. We sold them figuring they would fit someone else’s flock better (so, we fed them for almost a year without much benefit to us). We may sell some of the current flock (1year old this week) later this year, towards fall. But that’s because we have some chicks on order, so we will need room.

Spouse grew up with a few random chickens, and remembers them free-ranging and thinks they didn’t really provide them feed very often, but kids don’t always pay attention either. So when we got chickens, it was an adjustment for spouse to think about feed, etc.
 
Top Bottom