What do people do when chickens no longer laying?

(54 Posts)
NPPF Sun 19-Aug-12 21:41:28

Mine haven't laid for some time and are about 3 years old. Who dispatches theirs? I'm considering it but I don't know if I can bear it. I know someone who can do it for me. I'm too much of a coward to actually do it myself.

My life has significantly changed since I got them and I am finding them a real burden now. I doubt I could rehome non laying hens.

I know this sounds really mean but they have had a completely free range life. Anyone who keeps hens or eats supermarket eggs is contributing to culling. (A male has been culled for every female and laying hens get culled at 18 months)

Am I being awful?

TrinityIsAFuckingRhino Sun 19-Aug-12 21:45:20

are you saying that I am contributing to culling by keeping hens?

I'm not sure I understand

TrinityIsAFuckingRhino Sun 19-Aug-12 21:45:46

where are you, I'll have your poor hens

NPPF Sun 19-Aug-12 21:50:11

What do you think happens to the male hens that hatch? They get culled by the breeder. People don't keep a flock of cockerels do they? So, for every hen you buy, a male has been culled.

I knew I would get flamed but you won't find any farmers keeping old hens. 2 of my hens were battery hens so I've already given them an extra 18 months of life.

NPPF Sun 19-Aug-12 21:51:26

sorry, I should have said male chicks.

TrinityIsAFuckingRhino Sun 19-Aug-12 21:52:20

ok I see what you mean but I have two growers at the mo and I bought them knowing that I don't know what sex they are

if you want it to stop then everyone has to never eat eggs again

MelanieSminge Sun 19-Aug-12 21:52:47

make soup

hopenglory Sun 19-Aug-12 21:53:49

Ours lay well past 3 years old, so they may come back to it - once they stop laying they just stay as part of the flock and carry on scratching around

TrinityIsAFuckingRhino Sun 19-Aug-12 21:53:58

and cant they sell the males to be eaten?

<clueless>

NPPF Sun 19-Aug-12 21:54:09

Exactly! That is why if I cull them, anyone who criticises me but eats eggs is a hypocrite.

I am having a dilemma.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 19-Aug-12 21:54:32

I keep mine till they die. Never really sure which ones are laying and which aren't.

I've currenyly got a 5yo chicken who I suspect isn't laying. Was happy to keep her but she's come down with Mycoplasma again, am treating with Tywhatever antibiotic. Am considering going to the vet tomorrow to ask her to be put to sleep as she keeps getting poorly and I'm worried about it spreading to my others. Vet will put down sick chickens for £3 but not a chicken that is elderly.

When I hatched some cockerals out I tried necking them and was unsuccesful. A friend came and cut their heads off in the end. I haven't hatched any chicks out since. It was all a bit traumatic.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 19-Aug-12 21:55:33

Trinity, no not really. Meat chickens are different to egg chickens. Egg chickens mature more slowly and it isn't cost effective to keep it/feed it for the amount of time it takes for it to be big enough to eat.

NPPF Sun 19-Aug-12 21:58:51

If you go to a chicken breeder to get your hens, they breed to sell. You can't sell cockerels, so they are no use to the breeder. But, yes, people who have bought unsexed chickens sometimes eat them if they end up being boys. Not many people want to keep a load of crowing cockerels.

NPPF Sun 19-Aug-12 22:01:32

Viva £3!!!! I have had 2 chickens pts and the vet charged £30 a time!

beachyhead Sun 19-Aug-12 22:02:40

When we hatched chicks and two of them turned out to be big hoofing, raping cockrels, we bundled them in the car and took them back to the breeder, as agreed by him. I don't really care what he did to them, they were chaotic to have around.

But other than that, like Viva, I'm not sure who's laying and who's not.....

VivaLeBeaver Sun 19-Aug-12 22:04:41

£30!!!! Jesus, if I thought the vet was going to charge £30 I'd beat it death with a broom handle.

<joke, but still>

imsotired Sun 19-Aug-12 22:05:25

we bought point of lay chickens and kept them till they died. We made sure that everyone knew they were pets, who just happened to provide us with eggs. so the choice was really easy for us.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 19-Aug-12 22:06:01

And I'm almost too ashamed to admit it but I once let 3 young cockerals free in the woods. I didn't really think it through and can see it was a bad idea now. Feel bad about them.

NPPF Sun 19-Aug-12 22:08:39

I have 5 and only one is laying. I know which one because her eggs are different. However, she makes the most dreadful egg call early in the morning and I am surprised the neighbours haven't complained. It really stresses me out.

I sometimes get squashed thin shelled eggs or shell-less eggs from the others. I give oyster shell and super corn but it doesn't solve the problem.

duchesse Sun 19-Aug-12 22:09:05

Most people I know around here cull their old birds and keep their flock moving so to speak. We eat surplus cockerels from hatching. Had to marinade the last one in pineapple juice for 3 days but it was surprisingly tasty for a tough old bird.

NPPF Sun 19-Aug-12 22:11:02

viva I have heard a few stories of feral chickens. You never know, they might have had a long life. If not, I guess Mr Fox had a few hearty meals.

SrirachaGirl Sun 19-Aug-12 22:11:21

Why wouldn't you just keep them until they get old and die? <knows nothing about chickens> What is wrong with just keeping them as pets?

beachyhead Sun 19-Aug-12 22:11:59

Friend of mine just locked hers out one night....blush

duchesse Sun 19-Aug-12 22:14:18

They are not very rewarding pets and the feed is really quite expensive! It's not like you can hold them on your lap and stroke them. They are noisy, smelly, aggressive creatures that crap everywhere, destroy the garden and try to kill each other all the time. The trade-off is the eggs.

I say this as a chicken-lover.

NPPF Sun 19-Aug-12 22:16:40

Srirachagirl because they are not economical to keep, i.e, a waste of feed and time cleaning them out. They poo for England.

Beachyhead it has crossed my mind shock but I couldn't stand the mess afterwards! I couldn't do that.

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