The cold weather has forced my hand. I’ve not wanted to deal with it but now I have to. My winter coop will only house about 25 hens and my older laying hens are not giving me many eggs this fall. I’m getting a pretty consistent 4 each day (from 18 birds!) I made the decision earlier this fall to follow a commercial model replace 1/2 the flock each year. I purchased some pullets who should start laying in the next month or two. This should ensure a good supply of eggs again, but is a hen over the hill at her second winter? Probably not, she’s just not as efficient.
Again, I straddle the line between hobbiest and business. Old hens=expensive eggs. But throwing away a life doesn’t sit well either. So I am now making stewing hens from my old(ish) girls. For the next few mornings I will be processing a bird or two each day and making the most fantastic mineral rich, glucosamine filled broth. Healthy omega-3 fatty acids, gelatin and chondroitans, I keep telling myself. If any locals want a home butchered stewing hen next week just give me a shout. Seven more to go. Sucks.