Culling Hens: Who should stay?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by PeckyBecky, Dec 12, 2012.

  1. PeckyBecky

    PeckyBecky New Egg

    Jun 11, 2012
    Long story short: I have a flock of 16 layers that will be 2 years old this coming March. Their first year laying, they did awesome. Spring of '12 they did well, but as it turned to summer, we had overcrowding and boredom issues which led to a host of other problems, including only getting about 6 eggs a day. This fall we were only getting about 3 a day.

    Then we moved, and brought them with us (of course). I no longer have electricity to the coop, which means no heated water, and no lights. I'm now only getting 1 egg about every 3 days. I understand that it's due to all the changes and stress. However, we've opted to downsize to only 7 hens and 1 rooster. Also, someone is willing to give me 4 young pullets, as they are getting out of chickens altogether.

    Should I take all 4 young pullets in order to start fresh?
    How do I choose which hens to keep?

    I've read various things online about how to tell which hens are laying, but what about when NONE (okay probably one) are laying and they probably won't until spring? Should I hold onto the fatter ones? The ones with the best feathering? Or does it mean if they are fat and feathered that haven't been laying for a while, hence the better condition?
  2. loanwizard

    loanwizard Chillin' With My Peeps

    My opinion.... I raise about 100, and it is difficult to tell who is laying, plus time of year, plus stress. When it gets to 14 hours of daylight per day and when you then have some not laying, then cull/kill. Condition means not much IME. If you cull now, you are not being fair but.... they are only chickens.
  3. frigginchi

    frigginchi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 4, 2012
    Saratoga, CA
    Soup pot for all of them. j/k I don't know what I am talking about.
    1 person likes this.
  4. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2012
    Southwest Virginia
    My Coop
    I think you're right that you shouldn't judge by feather condition. Seriously, check for moist vent, and the fingers test. Even if they're not laying, the ones with moister vent and wider pubic bones have a better laying potential. Cull any with tight dry vents and narrow pubic bones. Cull any that routinely have diarrhea. Cull any that are not friendly enough. Cull any that are too aggressive with their fellow chickens. That's all I can recommend. Trust your instincts and have a general flock goal in mind.

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