Chickens can produce eggs for many years, but the amount they lay drops significantly. In their second year of laying, they do not produce enough to pay for the organic feed that we buy for them. This is a problem as we do not want to buy non-organic GMO feed. We have solved this in two ways: 1) donating the chickens to an organization that rehouses them as urban girls and 2) processing them into chicken stock. Last week we took 600 birds to Stockton to a USDA-certified facility where they were humanely slaughtered and cooked into chicken broth. The broth has been selling very well at the farmers market as it is made from the whole bird that has lived on pasture for 18 months to 2 years. This is part of the whole cycle of life on the farm. We raise the chicks, they lay eggs, eat pasture and other organic food, and fertilize the pasture to grow great vegetables after they leave. When they are finally done here they either get to move to the city or become amazing chicken broth.
There are special crates to move chickens that are just high enough for them to move around in but not to flap their wings to avoid damaging them. We put them into the crates in the night to reduce stress. Their eyesight is poor so we can easily move them into the crates. They are then driven to Stockton.
If you have any questions about this, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org... Nigel