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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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I wonder about that, too. I've often thought of an animal rights benefit to having one's own chickens, which is that the eggs I feed to my nonvegan honey would come from chickens I absolutely know are treated well. But I wonder if I shouldn't simply reap a much greater animal rights benefit by waiting a couple of years until the lovely blossoming wave of coops in Portland begins to beach unwanted older chickens and adopting the clucky seniors as pets.

Another thing to plan for in advance: chickens often attract rats -- because of the way they naturally scatter their meals it's very difficult to avoid residue that rats come a'callin' for. The rats may bite and otherwise attack the chickens. There are apparently various ways to use metal and fine chicken wire buried under the coops or lining them to lessen this problem.

Edited at 2009-07-26 09:36 pm (UTC)

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