We have two chickens - Cissy and Ada - who must now be pushing 4 years or so. They have until recently been daily layers, even for much of the winter, but despite a few tries to re-establish laying as Springtime arrived, it now looks like they have both stopped laying . I have childhood memories of our chicken 'going to a nice farm' when they either got too old or my parents decided not to keep them anymore and I don't think I could do that, but part of the reason for getting the hens was for their egg provision.
We nursed the two hens we had before them through various stages of chicken old-age and senility and I reckon these two could have a fair few months or years ahead of them without laying - they are really very happy and healthy...so my question is this: is there any option for 'passing on' hens that no longer lay (retirement homes etc) or would you just enjoy them in their dotage and love them eggs or no eggs...? Our hen run is probably big enough for another one or two hens, but my understanding is that adding hens to existing hens is not always an easy ride. Would like to know your thoughts on chicken old-age. TIA MPD
Sorry to be brutal but you kind of have to make a decision. Either you have them principally for their eggs in which case if they are no longer laying then you move them on. Or if they are really your pets you just keep giving them the corn until they go. I don't know of anyone that takes old girls that no longer lay. If you find someone who says that they will (and again sorry to be brutal) make sure you know exactly what they have in mind! Some unscrupulous people say they will just look after them when in fact they have a very different fate in mind particularly if they have dogs. To be honest, theres only 2 of them - keep them and enjoy them and keep your conscience clear as well. We keep ours til they join the coop in the sky and it doesnt cost that much to feed them and we feel good about it. Cockerels are a different matter.
I've introduced new chickens to older chickens a couple of times and after a few days of pecking etc they soon settle down, I would introduce 2 together though so they are new together. Always best to put the new ones in the coop at night when they've all gone to bed, they settle better that way. Why not get 2 POL and keep your egg supply going?
LittleB - You have cheered my heart a little...starting to look for POL girlies as we speak - Don't want to get rid of the two we currently have, but would like some laying going on too. DH reckons our hen accommodation is big enough for 3-4 hens. Yay! MPD
We are getting two new chums for the girlies - a Bluebell and a Sussex. So we will have happy chickens, eggs and hopefully a good handover of hen duties as the older two age gracefully! We will add them to the roosting box at bedtime as you suggest LittleB - thank you for the suggestion. MPD