Culling

littlegreenbale

In the Brooder
Dec 20, 2016
2
5
22
Uraaca, NM
Hi everyone! Haven't been around in a very long time. We have finally finished building our new house and barn. When I say we were building, yes we as in my father-in-law, husband, myself and a family friend. Well, that aside, it's time to cull my flock but with all the stuff going on this last 2 years I couldn't tell you which chickens were bought when and we have some that were given to us. I am more of a visual person anyway and the books I have been reading are nearly picture free. Anyone have any input? I do have someone willing to help me cook and can them if I could just figure out who is who!!!!

Thank you,
Linda McKenney
Little Green Bale llc.
 

feathermaid

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Feb 5, 2018
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Welcome to active posting! And congrats on your new home!

Are all your birds older than 2 years? Did you raise them for meat?
Depending on breed, usually harvesting is done from 8 weeks to 6 months old. I don't know the ins and outs of processing, but older birds will usually have to be stewed for hours to be tender enough for eating.

What exactly do you need help with? How to end life, or which birds are which? You can post pictures of the birds in question and folks might be able to tell what you have. You'll probably get a lot more help about culling techniques in the Meat Birds forum:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/forums/meat-birds-etc.21/
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
12 Years
Nov 18, 2007
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:welcome :frow I noticed you have been a member for awhile but this is your first post. I have processed some of my extra male birds that are dual purpose. They weren't all that tender even though they were fairly young, around a year old. Probably due to the fact they they had a lot of room to run around so they got plenty of exercise.
 

littlegreenbale

In the Brooder
Dec 20, 2016
2
5
22
Uraaca, NM
View attachment 1935542 Welcome to active posting! And congrats on your new home!

Are all your birds older than 2 years? Did you raise them for meat?
Depending on breed, usually harvesting is done from 8 weeks to 6 months old. I don't know the ins and outs of processing, but older birds will usually have to be stewed for hours to be tender enough for eating.

What exactly do you need help with? How to end life, or which birds are which? You can post pictures of the birds in question and folks might be able to tell what you have. You'll probably get a lot more help about culling techniques in the Meat Birds forum:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/forums/meat-birds-etc.21/
Some of my birds are 3,2 and 1 years. See we ordered 24 chicks the first year, 50 the second and 100 the 3rd (this past spring). The coyotes and foxes had a hayday this year and our egg production has gone down from 6-7 or 8 dozen a day to 1 dozen. On top of that they are molting. That being said...all egg layers or dual purpose and I can no longer tell who is who. BTW, finally got the fence secure enough, coyotes ate through our first electric fence.
 
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feathermaid

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That is a lot of birds!
Do you want to keep the layers and only process the dual purpose?
This time of year most birds slow laying or quit all together for the winter. You can try adding supplemental light to trick them back into laying, but it'll have to be done gradually over several weeks to take effect. If they're already molting, they won't lay eggs again until their new feathers come in or the days get longer. Also, a tramatic event like a predator reducing flock size can cause birds to temporarily stop laying as well.

Post pics of the birds you have and I'm sure we can identify the layers from the dual purpose. Do you remember what breeds you purchased?
 
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Mrs. K

Free Ranging
10 Years
Nov 12, 2009
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western South Dakota
Well don't over think it, it is better to cull and get your numbers down, that to cull perfectly and wait to do so. Go down with a hook, or do it at night, but separate out at least half of the number you need to cull too. That will clear the forrest a bit, so you can make a second cull a little later. Anything you don't like, cull first, regardless of why you don't like.

This will allow you get some out of the way. Then in the second cull, be a bit more picky. Look them over, lift them up, weigh them. Check their beaks and feet, the space between their pelvic bones, feather quality, any other trait you like. Cull 1/2 to 2/3's of the remaining birds needed gone.

Then the third cull, get to your ideal number.

Yes, you might make a mistake, and cull a good laying bird. But the feed saved will generally out pace the mistake. You don't have to do all of them at once, which does reduce the days work to more manageable amounts, and it does get you started. I find a culling like this is hard to do and EASY to postpone... and next thing you know, you have fed too many birds through the winter.

Good luck,

Mrs K
 

Folly's place

Crossing the Road
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Sep 13, 2011
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I agree with @Mrs. K , at least as something to consider as a starting point.
Any favorite birds stay. Any birds that have issues, or aren't appealing, or who just need to go, leave first.
Something to plan on in the future; leg bands color coded for each year's chicks. I now use the colored zip ties, a different color for each year.
Any leg band needs to be monitored, as the band can move, or get too tight, if you aren't paying attention. Horrible injuries can result!
Wing bands are permanent, but can't be seen from afar, but are very good otherwise.
Decide on a target number, and aim for it every fall.
Mary
 

Kiki

Hatching Quailies
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Jul 31, 2015
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Welcome!

Have you thought about leg bands?
A certain color for each 'batch' of new birds.

For the future birds.
 
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