The Dark Side Of Keeping Chickens

Keeping Chickens
via Flickr

Is there a dark side in the process of keeping chickens? Well, unfortunately there is a dark side and every experienced chicken keeper knows this. What we want to do for this article is prepare some of the novice chicken keepers among our readers for the hardest parts of keeping chickens. Every beginner in the world of chicken keeping needs to be emotionally prepared for the dark side of keeping chickens because if not, those things that make the dark side possible may come in as a surprise and discourage anyone from chicken keeping.

Hens Get Old And Stop Laying Eggs And Then What ?

Keeping Chickens
via Flickr

Many chicken keepers get a bunch of hens in the flock and enjoy getting fresh eggs daily and then what happens after 18 months or so the hens stop laying. The meat that they have is not really the safest for eating and many chicken keepers don`t want to eat their friendly egg-laying hen.

Then comes the unavoidable question- do I continue feeding a hen that does not provide anything for me as a chicken keeper anymore and add more expenses for her health or do I put her down? This is one of the biggest parts in the dark side of keeping chickens.

What About The Consequences Of Improper Chicken Keeping?

This has happened to more chicken keepers than anyone cares to admit. The run is not properly closed and when you wake up the next morning to check up on your chickens what is left from them is just blood and feathers. Predator problems are also a big part of the dark side of keeping chickens because no one expects that a predator will attack their flock and what happens is their cat or dog killing their chickens.

Many chicken keepers have the fact that chickens eat everything stuck in their heads and never even expect that they can poison their chickens by mistake.

Oh, the guilt when a chicken keeper sees a dead chicken right in the middle of the coop and the run with knowing that that chicken was perfectly healthy and productive few hours ago.

The worst feeling ever is when you know that it is your fault for a dead chicken or chickens from your flock.

Keeping Chickens
via Flickr

What Happens With All Those Unwanted Cockerels?

Turning an egg into a chick is not hard and can be done in more than one way. But what no chicken keeper can do is know how many pullets and how many cockerels will those eggs hatch in to.

Keeping Chickens
via Flickr


Most of the chicken keepers don`t want to keep too many roosters in their flock and sexing chickens by yourself is not going to provide you a sure answer what that chick grows up to be. DNA tests are expensive and what happens to those unwanted cockerels is either they get sent away in a new home or end up at someone`s dining table.

Having to leave any living being behind can be enough sad by itself and what makes it even sadder is having to leave behind a product of your own chickens.


The Darkest Part Of Chicken Keeping – Having To Quit It Due To Financial Issues


Being a chicken keeper for a longer time you get used to the cost of the process and no one ever expects to have to give up on his flock due to financial issues. Chicken keeping can be a financial burden for anyone and this as we said can lead to a chicken keeper having to give up on his flock.

Giving up on a flock of chickens is not a good feeling to have and that makes this the darkest and saddest part of chicken keeping.

Have you encountered one of these problems? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below or via e-mail

  • Karen Mauk

    First, chickens do not stop laying at 18 months. They do go into molt (loose feathers) and stop laying for a couple of months but…I have had hens 5 and 6 years old still laying eggs. When they get too old to lay, the hens usually die and you bury them. Roosters? If you buy pullets there will not be a rooster problem. If you get a rooster or two just put an ad in a local sales paper and sell it to the many people who can actually butcher and eat them. Predators are a bit like a Sith Lord attacking a Jedi if you want to make something sinister then a predator is a bummer and you must use the “Force” ti deal with them. This article was obviously written by a city person…..

  • Barbara Ward

    As to the article….. WAY too sentimental. When your hen quits laying, she’s a soup or stock chicken, bullshit on the meat not being safe to eat. A little tough maybe, that’s why we boil her down for stock. Extra cockerels?? NO problem, those are raised to be butchered for the table. If predators get some, you don’t feel ‘guilty’, you just improve your fencing or other predator proofing and have a gun handy in case it’s vermin like raccoons, feral cats, or opossums. They’re just chickens, NOT children or pet dogs. Eggs and meat production is what they’re for in the first place!… sheesh.__Barbara

  • Sarah Vandekerkhove

    I agree with the above comments. I have heritage hens who are laying in their fourth and fifth years with excellent production. The meat gets tougher – not unsafe.
    Very disappointing article.

  • Ron McClellan

    Not sure how long the person who wrote this article has been keeping chickens, but apparently not very long., and seems to have been “Disneyized” and a little out of touch with what the “circle of life” actually is. Anthropomorphism doesn’t hold up well when the realities of the chickenkeepiong come up.

  • marlene firth

    Please can you tell me what to do about chicken/pheasants that eat the eggs …………. is there any way of stopping this…Thanks

  • Rick Thorn

    The problem of “unwanted” cockerels can be quite easily resolved by resurrecting the practice of caponing, that is to say, castrating cockerels by a simple surgical procedure to remove the testes.
    Capons do not exhibit the same aggressive behaviors of cocks, and grow to large, tender, flavorful birds for the table.
    Caponing used to be a common practice. It can be so again.