Getting Rid of Old Laying Hens

Discussion in 'Other Pets' started by Tyler, Jun 26, 2010.

  1. Tyler

    Tyler New Member

    Apr 26, 2009
    Central Illinois
    For years I've raised laying chickens and sold their eggs. However, I've always had the problem of old chickens who aren't laying (I'm not making any profit off them). What can I do to get rid of them?
  2. SterlingAcres

    SterlingAcres Member

    Oct 19, 2009
    Many elderly people will take them in as pets. Or you can sell them as stew pot birds. Your preference.

  3. lissablack

    lissablack New Member

    Nov 30, 2009
    Real French chefs crave old hens for coq au vin, which is supposed to be made with just these chickens. I read an article about it. A few restaurants in NY City have gone to great lengths to get them. So you could use them for that.

    I'm pretty old and nothing would persuade me to take an old chicken for a pet.

  4. FunnyRiverFarm

    FunnyRiverFarm New Member

    Sep 13, 2008
    Hudson, MI
    Put them in the freezer if you have the heart for it. If you pressure cook them they are good to eat...If you don't it's a bit like chewing on chicken-flavored rubber bands...LOL ;)
  5. Tyler

    Tyler New Member

    Apr 26, 2009
    Central Illinois
    Lots of options! I like that. :)

    I've thought about butchering them myself, but the "elder hen" chewiness plus the process of actually butchering has delayed me from doing that so far.

    I might take a look around to see if there are any restaurants or gullible ( ;) ) folks who would want an older hen.
  6. AlaskaBoers

    AlaskaBoers New Member

    May 6, 2008
    Wasilla Alaska
    butcher them, I sell all of my old hens to asians for top dollar :)
  7. kubileya

    kubileya New Member

    Apr 7, 2010
    Laurel, DE

    Slow cook them and make them into soup or dumplings and you won't even notice the chewiness. :)
  8. bheila

    bheila New Member

    Jan 9, 2009
    Kent, Wa
    Eat them....make soup. That's what we do with our girls once they get to 2 years old.
  9. JessaLynn

    JessaLynn New Member

    Aug 29, 2009
    NW Ohio
    If you don't want to eat them yourself I would consider trying to sell them at a group price as stew pot hens.I always sell my hens at 18 months old because they are still productive and easy to sell.I rehatch every year so I'm never without layers.
  10. zoomom

    zoomom New Member

    Feb 26, 2010
    The worst part of chicken keeping imo. We have tried the butchering/eating route - once i am done cleaning them, i can't eat chicken for at least a week, plus the first time we butchered a bunch of fryers, they were incredibly tough, and i found out you are supposed to let them sit refrigerated for 24 hours or something (i thought in the olden days they just butchered them and ate them immediately) My kids won't touch 'our' hens if they know it anyway, so i always get rid of them.

    Many people feed their dogs 'raw' nowadays. I have several friends that will take my old layers. I just have to kill them, they take care of the cleaning.
  11. mrs. lam

    mrs. lam New Member

    Apr 20, 2010
    We have always taken ours to the auction. If they are in good shape (feathering, condition etc.) we have had ours bring 13-16 dollars each. Not bad. :)
  12. farmergal

    farmergal New Member

    Jun 19, 2009
    Northern California
    I happily kill and eat (loudmouth, horny, feed-guzzling) roosters, but can't bring myself to do in my hardworking ladies. I don't have any problem with people who do eat them, but personally I figure my gals have earned their retirement. We have a feed store around here that sells chickens for local folks, and if you sell the birds around 2 years old there's usually some small backyard chicken owner who's happy to buy a mature hen.. some people don't like to deal with the hassle of rearing chicks... and it seems like a lot of people these days are treating chickens more as pets than livestock, so they don't care about the decreased production as much. (Also, if you raise rare breed chickens like BBS Orps or Salmon Faverolles, people are often happy to get an older hen who could make good breeding stock.)

    Another option: Craigslist.

    Anyone else have a hard time telling the younger generation apart from the older? I have 80+ hens and I've tried banding them but the stupid bands fall off... it's hard to tell who's slacking and who's still laying up a storm...
  13. zoomom

    zoomom New Member

    Feb 26, 2010
    I've had the same problem with bands.

    1. if they don't spin freely - like with some of the hens with bigger legs - get the next size up, or they are able to pry them off. (and some of them are really good at it, i have a couple that have the bands off within minutes of putting them on)

    2. double band them. Use the spiral bands (w/o numbers) and use different colors for different years. They rarely are able to get that band off, and although you've lost the actual id of the bird, you can at least narrow it down as to who is who.
  14. myfainters

    myfainters New Member

    Oct 29, 2009
    Lancaster, CA
    All of our good "oldies" go out free range as bug eaters. :) They work hard in the coop for 2 years and then the good ones live out their days in freedom. :) Those half a**%# layers hit retirement and get shot, cleaned and fed to the LGD's. :)
  15. 4hmama

    4hmama New Member

    Jan 9, 2009
    No. Central WV
    We sell some of our older birds to people that just want a few chickens and a few eggs. Even though the older birds don't lay as efficiently, they still lay. There are some people who are willing to pay for older birds, and don't care if they are getting an egg every day or every three days...they just want eggs.