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)
Oh my! Have just read this thread and am now thoroughly gone off the 3 hens that are arriving next week! I haven't kept hens before, my garden is a piddly urban smallish garden and I now have visions of me being completely distressed by nasty noisy hens, never mind the strife with my lovely neighbours over the noise and mess!
They do have a lot of plus points, lurking. They're not always noisy, usually just when they've laid an egg, or if they're alarmed.
I have necked three of mine, because they were ill, but I'm going to have to do one my older hens. I have to rehome them because we are going into rented, but I can't rehome my Black Rock because she is vile: a thug and a bully. She feather pecks and egg eats. She's survived this long because she doesn't always do either, but there's no way I can inflict her on anyone else. It's a real shame, because she's a beautiful healthy hen, but I think it's best if I despatch her quickly where she's lived for years, than take her to the vet or let someone else have her when I know she'll be horrible.
She is the only one I've had who's been this bad. The others have all been fine. In fact I even had one hen who would step in and stop any fights.
duchesse - yes you can cuddle them! They will doze quietly on your lap, and make very pleasant, contented purry-cooey-clucky noises. I agree that their toilet-training could be improved (!), and if you have a cut on your finger/ankle/anywhere, they will attempt to devour you alive, maddened as they seem to be by the sight and/or scent of blood. But they are lovely!
There is something particularly restful about sitting with a cup of tea, the radio, and a tired little hen talking in its sleep on your lap . . .
Lurkingaround - I am new to chicken keeping. Got my 4 hens nearly 8 weeks ago and one has just started laying. My 4 are lovely. No squabbles. Hardly any noise. They are gorgeous. Follow me round the garden.
Before they arrived I had visions of red mite, worms and mass brawls. I had to tell myself 4 chickens must be easier than 4 dc
Enjoy them....I'm just off to pick up some chicken poo. I am odd as I actually enjoy that!