Farmers Market: overheard on retiring chickens

“What do you do with your chickens when they’ve stopped laying?” a well dressed woman asked us one week at the farmers market.

I knew what she didn’t want to know, so I cowardly answered: “We don’t know yet, this is our first year farming and we just got our chicks in the spring, they won’t stop laying for at least another season”.
I felt Josh try to interject here but I focused on the woman’s next question and resisted kicking Josh under the table.

“Well, what will you do with them?” she pressed. “Will they get to live out their life after they’ve done laying, have a nice retirement?”

“We haven’t really thought of that,” I answered – coward, coward.

“Actually,” Josh jumped in, “we did get laying hens from another farm and we processed them for stewing hens when they were done laying last fall.”
I tried not to give him a dirty look.

“But we don’t know what we’ll do with these ones,” I assured the woman.

“They won’t just retire on your farm to live out their natural lives?” she asked, slightly shocked.

I was at a loss and shrugged. She walked off.

“What?” I asked Josh who was definitely pointedly looking at me.

“I just think we should be honest and play out the scenario of retiring chickens on our farm with her. If she wants to spend $15/dozen on eggs, then sure, we can keep non-producing chickens on until they die a natural death. It costs us to keep chickens on our farm, we should have explained that to her.”
“Yeah,” I agreed kicking myself for wanting to please, “or if she was willing to have them retire at her place …”


Anyone interested in retired hens?

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