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Backyard Chickens: Keeping Old Hens

The case for Old Hens

I have some older hens who are past their peak productions days. Although they no longer lay eggs like they used to, I am discovering they still have a great deal of value. For example, They are the top three ranking hens in the flock. As┬ásuch, they provide stability, justice, and order to the group and any newcomers. They also teach recruits how things get done around here. We all have our daily routine, and new birds quickly adapt to the pattern when the older hens calmly lead the way. The older birds also show the younger ones how to catch snails and beetles and even mice. Chickens aren’t born knowing how to to this, they have to figure it out. But once they do, word spreads fast. It isn’t long before the whole flock knows and you have a stone cold snail hunting army. Removing the teachers sets you and your pest control efforts back months and months.

All in all, chickens are a lot like people. The older they grow, the more wise they become. That is a resource that is at least as valuable as eggs, if not more. Be it chickens or people, treat the elders with respect, they are treasured leaders from which everybody benefits.

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