Today I sold 10 chickens, leaving me with 4. I love my hens, and 8 of these girls I raised from chicks.
a) they are almost 1 year old. You can sell 1-year old chickens, but selling 2-year old chickens is much more difficult. Egg production goes down. I knew if I was going to sell, it'd need to be sometime soon.
b) I was going to hold off on selling till spring, but then I realized they aren't laying much due to it being winter. Why feed 10 extra birds if they aren't "earning their keep" and I am going to sell them when they start to lay again?
c) the most important reason: we need to sell the coop at some point. I don't want to someday move with it, and I'd rather not sell it and be all desperate to sell it. This way, without us moving right now, we can wait out for sellers and not have to post it for $50 in desperation. Right now, I have 4 interested people who want the coop, so this may work out. Selling the coop also means we have a $200 deposit coming back to us from our landlords (because we built a non-movable coop).
So, right now, there are 4 chickens in a large coop. I kept my brahma, the copper maran, and the two salmons. I need to build a small coop, and my challenge will be to build it lightweight and with materials I already have. Since this coop will likely accompany us to our next home, I want to be pretty careful in its construction.
The other thing that encouraged this decision was what to do with the eggs next year. My neighbor (not Joe-- he's cool. The other neighbor) is going through some difficult personal/family issues, and I think it's best to just give her space. That means no one to sell my eggs to, and I really don't want to have to hunt out buyers each week.
So, the decision has been made. 10 girls are gone. 4 remain. Time to build them new digs.
I don't feel too bad. They're chickens. We knew they were sellable and interchangeable when we first agreed to get them. They're going to a lovely farm with other chickens, the purpose for them to roam around in the yard and lay eggs. We gave them a happy home while we had them.
Now, our cats (one whom even has his head on my shoulder right now and sighs every time I kiss his head) and Maddie? They're never going away. They were permanent decisions. :)