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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently was given 6 hens from a commercial laying house. I have such a tender heart, I thought I was saving a life (or 6), but these birds are like no bird I've ever seen. Each bird is between 6 & 8 lbs. They squawk so loud it's deafening, they are really taxing my feed bill. My birds free range during the day and receive a bit of food in the evening,but these birds have very few "chicken" skills except laying and squawking.
Unfortunately I'm going to be forced to dress these birds for dog food, as I fear they may hurt my new arrivals once I integrate the flock. As big as they are, I'd be afraid they may eat one of my 8 weekers.
I'm enclosing a pic of what to stay away from.
And in my defense, I didn't see them until they were caged and ready to go. Had I seen them first I would have politely declined.
 

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It was nice that you recued them, but yeah I would butcher them out as well. Is there a reason you cant eat them too ?
 

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I think they're eating so much to make up for nutritional deficiencies. Trying to get healthy again. And I also think that squawking was one of the few skills they gained while in prison. I really think you need to give them time to acclimate. Why would you want to eat an unhealthy bird anyway? I think you might be missing the point of rescue. Just saying....
 

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Chickens are pretty smart. It just takes a little time for them to adjust and learn new routines and habits. Right now everything is new for them and they're probably kind of scared, anxious, and clueless same as a human would be after being help captive for better part of their life. If you give them some time, I bet you'd find them to be the best of buddies for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I wouldn't want to eat them as they are really fat. I've bought fat chickens from the grocery store by mistake and found it was not so tasty. But now this brings me to a new question. How old/young should you butcher chickens you want to eat? Someone at a different forum indicated much over 9 weeks and the meat is tough.

If they do not thin up a bit I won't have much of a say, as here in Texas the heat can
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
i wouldn't want to eat them as they are really fat. I've bought fat chickens from the grocery store by mistake and found it was not so tasty. But now this brings me to a new question. How old/young should you butcher chickens you want to eat? Someone at a different forum indicated much over 9 weeks and the meat is tough.

If they do not thin up a bit I won't have much of a say, as here in Texas the heat can kill a man.
 

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i wouldn't want to eat them as they are really fat. I've bought fat chickens from the grocery store by mistake and found it was not so tasty. But now this brings me to a new question. How old/young should you butcher chickens you want to eat? Someone at a different forum indicated much over 9 weeks and the meat is tough.

If they do not thin up a bit I won't have much of a say, as here in Texas the heat can kill a man.
It really depends on the breed. Cornish X's can be butchered at like 8 weeks. I found that 20 weeks is good for dual purpose birds. I did find last year when I was trying to figure out when to butcher that each beed has a different recomended age.
 

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How long have you had them? Are your 8-weekers your only other chickens? You can't really blame them for knowing nothing and being loud... that's the life of a battery caged chicken. You might have luck letting them learn off other chickens, they do seem capable of learning behaviors, at least from my observations. My hens are all in that weight range and they are great at laying eggs but they do go through spurts where they randomly eat quite a bit, far more than they did at 8 weeks, that's for sure. Give them some time. You might be surprised.
 

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Yeah, it does seem to defeat the purpose of the rescue if you are gonna put them down. I agree, give them a chance. They are probably so big because they haven't ever exercised or moved around, just stood and ate. Start to wean them off the feed as much, and try to teach them that there is goodies in the ground, if they scratch for it. They need to learn to be chickens. I bought 2 silkies that had never been anywhere but in a cage that they could only stand up in. They were over a year old, and when I got them, they were afraid to be out in a coop, they stayed huddled together in the corner, and it was a day or so before they came out to eat. They slept in that corner until I finally gave up chicken keeping, they never learned to roost. Sad, but you have to learn to rejoice in the little victories that they have. Give them a chance.
 

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I wouldn't put 8 wk old chicks with my adult hens either. The chicks and adults should be about the same size before you try to combine the two flocks.
I agree, give them a chance!! Man, you're quick to give up on them. Poor things never learned how to be a chicken.... let them have that joy of scratching and sunbathing!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
They are fair layers. And they were not really caged. They were in a huge house, with roosters, full time food, and 20,000 other birds. They get to pick their own nests to lay in, I've decided that I can't harvest them until I get the gear to cook them outside. So for now they are not dead. I have had them about 2 1/2 months, and they have others their age to learn chicken skills from. Sadly enough they were 6 weeks from the company harvest, where they would become dog food, and chicken soup. I'll never buy canned chicken soup ever Never again. They had to learn to forage but most have done well with that. I'm not too sure how to deal with the food deal. They try to keep others from the food. This won't work. I have 16 birds, 6 rescues, and they have planned out how to guard all the food locations. So I actually stand guard over them at dinner time to be sure the others get to eat. Besides, while I wouldn't eat these birds, I feel I could gain experience and de sensitize myself from the harvest.
Who knows.... They are safe for now..
 
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