Culling the flock, reluctantly, and need some advice!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by BlueMoon, Dec 2, 2007.

  1. BlueMoon

    BlueMoon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 3, 2007
    Scenic Verbank, NY
    I've put a Golden Comet and an Arucana in a cage together, so a brown layer and a green layer. They've got nice heat, as they're in the woodshop, food & water & each other. Both hens are over two years old and I think have stopped laying. Neither is molting.
    I figured if we get an egg in the next four days, that chicken is still laying and I'll swap her out with another suspect.

    Is four days reasonable? might they stop laying if they're moved from the coop into a cushy cage? They should be getting a bit more light in the woodshop, but certainly not 15 hours a day, probably closer to ten.

    I hate culling, but know it needs to be done. Any thoughts or advice are much appreciated. thanks
     
  2. Alleyoops25

    Alleyoops25 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 14, 2007
    Colorado
    I learn that you can tell if a hen is laying or not by feeling between the bottom of their tail and above the vent.( I think) You can feel their pelivic bone if you can not get at least two fingers in between then they are probably not laying. Since they are older hens they may not lay through the winter but might start laying again in the spring. I am not sure at what age they go through chicken menopause though.The only chickens I have laying are this years pullets. I run a heat lamp in their coop because we have really cold nights here. The light helps with the pullets. But none of my hens that are a year old are laying at this point. Then I have two or three that I doubt will ever lay another egg. Their pelvic bones are totally shut together and the roosters could care less when they are near them. I have to go out and check mine birds here in a few. While I am out there I will see if I cant take a few pictures showing what I am talking about. Be back in a little while.
     
  3. paganfish

    paganfish Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 15, 2007
    Fleming, Colorado
    Also...when I moved my chickens from their coop to another I had made, I noticed they had stopped laying. Like, it went from 13 eggs a day to NONE! Within a week they were laying again...I think it sort of creates a bit of a shock...and they don't handle change well.

    Good luck!

    Pedro~:-V
     
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    This is a harder time of year to pick them out as general production will be down. Feeling the plyability of the pelvic bones would work and looking at how moist the vent is. Your cage idea may work too as long as they are not stressed out about it.
     
  5. 1acrefarm

    1acrefarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 3, 2007
    Georgia
    I have a couple approx. 18 month olds not laying at the moment. I intend to wait till spring to see what happens before I make any culling decisions. They may be just going through a needed rest.
     
  6. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    Hens need at least 14 hours of light to lay...so I wouldn't do anything rash...Most of us up here, have our birds taking a break. I haven't used extra light because it can take time off the birds' lives.
     
  7. Barnyard Dawg

    Barnyard Dawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 7, 2007
    Northern California
    If you put your finger up the cloaca you can feel if the chicken is going to be laying an egg ( gloves work well). WE culled one of our older chickens yesterday, she cooked up real tender though the skin was old or should I say tough. We now have 16 with 9 currently laying and 7 this month should start, just to much feed if they aren't going to be producing and we don't give them any extra light.
     
  8. tiffanyh

    tiffanyh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2007
    Connecticut
    Mine take a break here and there. Usually a week or so once fall and winter. In the spring I am overwhelmed again with eggs!
     
  9. BlueMoon

    BlueMoon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 3, 2007
    Scenic Verbank, NY
    Thank you all. Out of the 92 chickens, we think about 18 are roosters, which are really the culprits of eating feed and not producing eggs. As they're maturing, we're finally able to tell who is what, except for the mystery Silkie.

    But I reckon there are at least ten hens that have stopped laying - oldest is an Australorp who is about 7 years old and still tries to lay an egg every day. Climbs into the nesting box, hangs out for about an hour, goes back outside. truthfully, it's very sweet watching her attempt.

    Once the roos have been reduced, we'll try the explorations, measuring and perhaps separating them again.
     
  10. Chatychick

    Chatychick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 9, 2007
    Blue Mound, Kansas
    I have been told if there are too many roo's the hens will stop laying also...too stressful for them with that many roo's running around...Yep I culled 8 roo's from my flock and its been a huge improvement...might want to try this and with winter cmming on my eggs are lower too...
     

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