It is horrible, when your chickens are sick or injured! But, I think the bad side of chicken keeping is death. Death, is the downside of having pets in general, but having to decide when your chicken is going to die, making a date for chickens death, that's the ultimate 'bad side.' You're probably wondering, why would I ever do that? Why end your chickens life if they are still healthy and could live for another number of years? Well, the hard cold reality is, that even though chickens ca live for up to 15 years, it's only their first two to three years that their laying is the best. After that you are down to one or two eggs a week if your lucky. And even though they have gotten older and their laying has decreased, that doesn't mean they will eat any less, I even would say they eat more!
If the whole reason you got chickens was for pets, then for sure, let your chickens live out their full life! But, for me, I knew when I got my chickens, that even though they are my pets, I wouldn't keep paying for feed if they weren't laying enough eggs to 'pull their weight'.
If you haven't made the connection yet, my two eldest chickens (Demeter and Papagena), are just over two years old and have both stopped laying. Deme entirely, Poppy one egg every second week. Other than their laying being decreased, they also beat up the younger chickens a lot. Both Una and Nefi have bald patches from being 'hen pecked'. And when they're worrying about being pecked all the time, it adds a lot of stress and lowers their immune system and egg production to a certain extent.
So, I decided that Deme and Poppy's time was here and asked a friend of mine who had butchered their meat birds earlier in the summer if they would help me butcher mine. So the date is set. . . Sep.8th