Culling chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chickentricks, Aug 27, 2010.

  1. chickentricks

    chickentricks Hatching

    Aug 26, 2010
    Hi! I'm very new to this site but it has helped me quite a bit over the year as I've raised a nice backyard flock. This winter, we plan to bring in new chicks and "get rid" of the old biddies. (That sounds very cruel!) I want to be as humane as possible, and my cousin, who farms nearby, says he'll dispose of them properly so they'll go back into the soil. So, the million dollar question is, does anyone have any suggestions? I really don't want to do it, but I've heard horror stories about trying to introduce one flock into another. Thanks for your help!
  2. Attack Chicken

    Attack Chicken [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG] Hu

    Sep 25, 2008
    Indianapolis, IN
    It usually take about 5+ months from a chick to a layer. How old are your birds? Plenty of people but laying hens for $15 a peice. I have an almost 3 yr old leghorn and she gives me about 5-6 eggs a week. If you introduce them do it slowely.. There will be picking to establish the pecking order but it will go away within a week or so.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2010
  3. mypicklebird

    mypicklebird Songster

    Aug 8, 2008
    Sonoma Co, CA
    If you want to be rid of them, there are many methods- some quicker than others. Cervical dislocation (neck breaking) is fast and considered relatively humane by many- IF you know what you are doing. Chopping the head off is fast and relatively humane- but messy. I do not like the car exhaust method- stinky and slow for the chicken. You can also get your vet involved. You don't have to get rid of them though- if you have space, you can just add more chickens. I add youngsters every year- set up a cage or pen inside your regular chicken area where the young birds can be seen, but not attacked. They can have their own food & water, after 2-3 weeks and they are accepted- you can let them mingle.
    1 person likes this.
  4. bock

    bock Songster

    Oct 10, 2008
    Northern CA
    How old are they? I have a 7 year old EE that lays 5 eggs a week. She is also best buds with a 1 year old red star and a 4 month old RIR. I really don't see why you would need to kill them, but it's your choice. [​IMG]
  5. chickentricks

    chickentricks Hatching

    Aug 26, 2010
    Thanks...I really appreciate the advice. The learning curve is so steep this first year. My hens are only a year and a half old; three Buff Orpingtons and one Araucana. Their peak of production was between Dec. and March, when they each laid an egg a day. Now I'm getting mostly 1-2. We kept them from molting over the winter, which might be the cause of this tapering down. My cousin has informed me that I can expect few eggs from them after the age of 2 and advises culling. He is an excellent farmer but does deal with a hundred chickens a year and sells the eggs; I live in a very urban setting, and my coop is large enough for six chickens comfortably.
  6. mypicklebird

    mypicklebird Songster

    Aug 8, 2008
    Sonoma Co, CA
    They will lay fewer eggs as they get older, but they will lay LARGER eggs! When they truly stop, then cull if they are primarily for eggs and not pets. Expect a few eggs a week from the hens until they are over 3, unless they get ill from something. Some will lay for MUCH longer than that. Commercial egg producers cull as soon as the food cost to egg ratio drops- and yes, that is after 1 to 1.5 years. They are trying to make $. If you can house your gals, don't condemn them as soon as they pass into middle age. Your cousin is speaking from the experience of a farmer- he is right- they will lay less, but you don't have to make a living selling eggs [​IMG] In the spring- see who starts laying again after they have a winter rest, I bet several of them will pick up again. I am curious what you mean by keeping them from molting during the winter. They will usually molt when they want to- you can't really prevent it, but you can force molt them- but that is a commercial thing, and not a very 'nice' one at that. Do you mean you had artificial light on them during the winter?
  7. BLaBauve

    BLaBauve Songster

    Jun 14, 2009
    Could they be laying less because of the heat? My young girls laid very poorly over the summer and now it's getting a tiny bit cooler and they are laying well again. I add new pullets every year as well - haven't had any older ones die though - so I have more than I'd like. [​IMG] Oh well!
  8. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Crowing

    Apr 19, 2009
    Don't compost them. They make excellent soup. [​IMG]
  9. sunflowerenvy

    sunflowerenvy Songster

    Apr 4, 2010
    south/west tn
    Quote:it depends where r u but this year it was very hot so the ladies stop laying eggs they are young to cull them off u can add other to your folk give them a chance they should pick up.
  10. NYREDS

    NYREDS Crowing

    Jan 14, 2008
    Quote:Really, if you're gonna kill them it'd be silly not to eat them. Soup sure, but chicken & biscuits, there's the way to go.

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