Chicken keeping can become addicting if you let it. Before you know it you will want one of each breed. You will lose all will power on the trips to the feed store and you will find yourself craving “just one more”. I too admit that it is difficult to control these such urges. Goodness knows that I have them! However, I have resisted for a number of reasons. The best one being that as the flock ages, the number of eggs it produces tapers off.
Chickens lay most of their eggs in their first two years of life. After that, their egg production decreases, mostly stops in the colder months of winter, and overall it becomes more unreliable. Most chickens live an average of five to seven years, but some can live as long as 20 years. This year, my entire flock turns four years old. They are all healthy but I am also aware that some of them may be close to the end of their lives.
I have always known that I would never re-home them when they stopped laying. I would allow them to live out their natural lives here at their home. For years, they have laid wonderful orbs filled with delicious goodness for me and my family. They have earned their rights to stay and I would not have it any other way. Plus, they are our pets and we have grown to love each and every one of them.
I have had a plan in my head for years, and now the time has come to put that plan into action this year. As this flock ages, we will build a larger coop for them. We will also introduce new chicks this spring, six of them to be exact. These new girls will be the ones we come to depend on for our eggs.
This idea of flock rotation makes perfect sense to me. It allows us to explore new breeds, even if the gratification is delayed by a few years. But best of all, Tilly and the girls also remain part of our family as we remain part of theirs. Truthfully, I could not imagine it any other way. The idea of flock rotation is something that just might work for your family too. For us, it’s a solution to an issue that many backyard chicken keepers face.
Photo Credit: Tilly’s Nest