BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Meat Birds ETC › At What Age Do I Cull?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

At What Age Do I Cull?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
With respect to dual purpose birds is there an optimum age that we should process the bird for meat vs egg production?
Thanks
post #2 of 5
I assume you are talking about laying hens?

Of course you can get different opinions on this but I’ll try to explain how I go about it. A hen normally lays really well her first season, goes through an adult molt, and lays really well her second season. After her second adult molt her production normally drops. Each hen is an individual and you can get a lot of different individual results, but the flock average normally drops about 15% to 20% after the second adult molt. After each successive adult molt you get a pretty significant drop in egg production.

Often, not always but often, pullets that start to lay in the fall will continue to lay throughout the winter and keep laying until they molt the next fall. All this assumes you do not manipulate lights.

It took a while to set it up but I go through a rotation. My ideal flock size is 6 to 8 hens so each year I keep 3 to 4 pullets so I get eggs throughout the winter and have replacements. So once these new pullets start to lay in the fall I may have 9 to 12 hens and pullets laying. When the adults molt and stop laying, I keep the previous year’s pullets and feed them through the molt. They will come back laying really well after the molt. But once the molt starts and I’ve gotten all the eggs I’m going to get that season, I butcher the oldest hens. Each year I replace half my laying/breeding flock.

Hopefully this makes sense. Others use other methods, there is hardly ever just one way to do something.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Yes layers. Your system makes a lot of sense.
Thanks
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Please explain if I'm using light manipulation how this would effect your system for instance.
Thanks
post #5 of 5
I use natural the natural light cycle of days getting longer and shorter to regulate when they molt. They normally molt around October and start back to laying in February. Of course some individual hens vary a bit.

If you manipulate the lights you can extend the egg laying season and delay molts. The basic cycle would be the same but the lengths of the various parts would be different. You could probably extend each laying season to 12 to 14 months before production dropped off so much you’d need to molt or replace them.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Meat Birds ETC
BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Meat Birds ETC › At What Age Do I Cull?