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Chicken Ladies of a Certain Age
zingkotori wrote in pdx_chickens
Those of you who've been keeping chickens for a while, what do you do when they get older? From what I've heard, domestic chickens can live 15 years but only lay well in the first 18 months. After that, the only economical thing to do is eat them.

Is it legal to kill your own chickens within city limits? Can you really make yourself do it after a year or more of knowing/feeding/raising/laughing at her? Is there a chicken-killing service somewhere in town? Or a place where you can donate a stewing-age hen and have her killed and fed to homeless people?

I don't have chickens yet --love the idea but still working out several logistical details, and this is a big one...

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There are butchering services. I have seen a few advertised around.

I have my girls for pets and eggs, but when I get a house out in the country I plan on getting a larger flock that would include dinner hens. I can't imagine killing my current flock for dinner because I have really bonded with each of them. Actually they have made it hard for me to eat chicken from the store because of the conditions those birds are kept in.

I think one variable is how much of a companion animal your hen is. For example, I wouldn't think of killing my cats just because they don't contribute to the house. One of my girls, Beatrice, was 2 when she came to live with me. She had never laid an egg until a couple months after she arrived here. If the 18 month rule was applied she would have been in a stew pot before she ever got to realize her full potential.

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