While visiting an ex-neighbor he asked me what could cause his chickens to quit laying, except for the occasional egg. We discussed the many possibilities and then realized that several of his six barred rock hens were over 6 years old. These older girls have had a fruitful and happy life in a large coop and run in the heart of the Cascades overlooking a beautiful lake. During the same visit, he introduced me to six pullets and one young rooster that would soon will be introduced into the aging flock. With the addition of the new pullets, egg production was scheduled to increase in weeks. As I departed, he said that he was unsure what he would do with his sweet "old girls". I'm sure I would have the same struggle - for urban farmers in Monmouth, Independence and Dallas, we are limited to only a 5 hens. If all quit laying due to age, we would be forced to make the hard choice... no eggs, euthanize the non producing hens, or give them to someone else...before obtaining a new small flock.
This same friend purchased a few chicks from a breeder the prior year and most of them grew into roosters - what are the odds? Well, if you purchase straight run chicks the odds are you will get some roosters. In his case, he got 4 roosters and two hens. Roosters are not legal in the city limits of Monmouth, Independence or Dallas. What would you do if you purchased chicks or young birds and one grew into a Rooster?? There is no single answer - but here are a few thoughts.
How to avoid Roosters from the start:
- Purchase chicks from a vendor who will take roosters back. Period.
- Pay a bit more money and buy sexed chicks (from a vendor who will take roosters back)
- Purchase pullets
What to do with unwanted chickens (including Roosters)?
- A wise friend recommended recently that people post their unwanted chickens (hens or roosters) on craigslist, as this seems to be an effective way to find new homes. “Free” can be an attractive price for dinner for a family in need.
- A farm outside of Monmouth will take Roosters. Contact information is begin confirmed.
- Bermudez Family Farm located on Buena Vista Rd in Independence, Oregon will take roosters, if required.
- If you are uncomfortable with the possibility of your older hen or rooster becoming dinner, discuss euthanasia with your vet.
- Finally, Mineral Springs in Grand Ronde processes live poultry for a reasonable fee. I realize that not everyone wishes to eat their own animals, but the finished product can provide someone with a meal.
- Marion Polk County Food Share welcome backyard eggs!
- What do chicken neighbors like best about their neighbor's chickens? Free eggs!
- Ask a local church if someone from their congregation could benefit from free eggs.