Culling Older Hens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by aladatrot, May 30, 2008.

  1. aladatrot

    aladatrot Songster

    Apr 24, 2008
    Hey folks! I have 12 hens that are eating Wendland's 20% protein laying pellets and are under artificial lights. 5 of the hens are young Production Reds that I would imagine are spotty layers right now because of their age. They are just starting to lay. You'd think that my regular layers (aged young-ish to old-ish) would be laying pretty regularly. Of all those hens, I am getting about 5 eggs a day. What's a good way to decide who is laying and who is not? Also, if I deem that the sure enough oldies aren't laying, what do I do with them?

  2. KLH2010

    KLH2010 Songster

    Apr 20, 2008
    You could put them in the crock pot. All mine are young right now but that's where they will go when they are aged. As far as determining which are laying, I'm not sure about that.
  3. wynedot55

    wynedot55 Songster

    Mar 28, 2007
    kill an eat those stewing hens.
  4. Princessferf

    Princessferf In the Brooder

    Nov 30, 2007
    In order to accurately determine who's laying and who's not, you'd either need to keep a watchful eye out when the laying occurs (my hens lay anytime between 8am and around 10:30 each morning).

    If that's not possible, then you would probably want to separate the older birds to determine how much they're laying.

    Some people stew their older birds... and others keep them around and allow them to live out their years (often times these are people who's birds are "pets" but not necessarily).

    I haven't decided yet what I will do with mine once they stop laying. I have 11 reds and am getting anywhere from 6 ot 10 eggs a day. I don't consider them pets, but I do give them very good care and pamper them more than others probably would. I believe that if I'm respectful of their needs (to scratch, dust themselves, get fresh air each day in the run, lots of fresh water and good protection from the elements and predators), then they will do their "best" (in providing good eggs).

    In the end its your personal decision how to handle them once they're done laying. I've found the information and advice on these boards to be very helpful in that regard.
  5. Rhett&SarahsMom

    Rhett&SarahsMom Songster

    May 8, 2008
    While i want mine to live out their days here, my husband is already thinking "stew pot" And we dont even have them yet!

    To me they are pets. To him, still livestock. We will run into a problem due to space. I cant get hens to replace ones that are not laying unless I get rid of the older hens. *sigh* I dont see my husband allowing me to keep the older girls in the house until they pass of old age.
  6. Julie08

    Julie08 Songster

    May 19, 2008
    Ontario, Canada
    If you dont want to or cant keep them and you dont want to do them in yourself you can take the to an auction and sell them.....
  7. sunnychooks

    sunnychooks Songster

    Jul 21, 2007
    You can either cull ALL of the older ones and plan on getting some replacements or you can build a trap nest. A trap nest will allow the chicken to enter the nesting box, but not get out (a door swings down to trap the bird inside).
  8. opihiman911

    opihiman911 Songster

    Mar 19, 2007
    When I was trying to determine who was laying and who wasn't in my mixed age flock, I put a dab of paint on their back when they were in the nest box laying an egg. I did this for 4 days in a row. The first 2 days was pink paint, then next 2 was yellow. At the end of it any hen that didn't have atleast 2 dabs of different color paint on her back was dinner.
    My friend did this to his mixed flock of 40+ chickens and it worked great. By the end of it he was able to seperate about 10 hens that didn't have any paint, thus assumingly didn't lay any eggs in 4 days. And he put leg bands on those who only had one spot and those were the next batch to be culled.
    Of coarse this would only work during peak egg laying season not during molt.
    Good luck.

  9. sunnychooks

    sunnychooks Songster

    Jul 21, 2007
    I did that a few years ago. I used food coloring instead of paint. The only problem I had was that I felt as if I was constantly running out to the coop. I probably had a few that were laying that I just didn't happen to catch, but if you don't mind the possibility of culling a few that are laying it could work. It helped identify those that were definitely laying. Personally, I found it to be too much trouble and opted to just cull the older ones.
  10. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

    Mar 20, 2008
    NW Kentucky
    I do not have the heart to cull them because they are aging. My girls will live out there days with care, afterall, they will have spent their lives doing their job for me. Seems like the least I can do for them. If I want meat, I will raised meat birds for a couple of months and slaughter them.

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