Downsizing, culling, management practice

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by snowydiamonds, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. snowydiamonds

    snowydiamonds Chillin' With My Peeps

    I hate it! I do it myself but it is a very hard thing for me. I know I have to when there are too many roo's but even that isn't easy! I favor the roo's. People gave me their birds when I first started, and I asked if I could have some of those instead of someone raising the egg layers to eat, instead of having them for their eggs, yes, and learned of different breeds (purebreds) but that quickly lead to too many to suppport and now the eldest hens have not laid eggs for most of this year. The hens are awesome mama hens though and now its come time for them to depart and I wish it wasn't. My neighbor and son in law offer to help but the birds know me and I've got to do this:( If I would get my chicken flocks down to one or two like I originally planned, instead of four or five, I could take very good care of my birds, allow them to raise chicks on a schedule. So, why does it have to be so hard? Meaties were hard to do, too, but worth raising and eating. I am struggling with trying to be a "farmer" type of gal in this respect but love everything else about raising chickens.

    It must be hard on the roo, too, to lose his favorite hens. I wonder how long a roo is "good for" and if it is kinder to raise a young roo for the younger hens or if the older roo is absolutely wonderful, like my banty roo, if he will be just as happy after the big change, to have younger hens for his flock? Guess I'd better just get dressed up for it and get it done... I made sure I couldn't back out of it this time by not buying dog food because I've backed out every week for so long:(

    I had a plan when I first started in chickens and now its been hard, very hard, sticking to that plan! So many wonderful breeds out there and so much to learn, such wonderful personalities, such beauty, such great qualities...I've delayed long enough and its very sad to have to do this part of husbandry.

    I need to find leg bands to put on my main BO hens before their pullets grow much bigger so I know which are which. I'd like at least three colors, one for the original hens (3) and another color for the first generation, then another color for the second generation. One good thing I've accomplished is that so far I'm seeing a big decrease in the size of the pullet's combs/wattles so less chance of frostbite, so I am feeling very good about that even if it is not in the original standard of BO's. This alone saves having to consider cutting the comb/wattles as I had to do on my main BO roo a year ago last December.

    At this point, I'm not downsizing the BO's at all- its the other breeds, in order to keep the BO's and possibly RIR's. At this point, I get wishy washy all over again, do I want RIR's? Do I want BLRW? Do I want green or blue egg layers?

    Its such a joy to see all the different colored eggs in the container, like opening a favorite Christmas present every single day and often times, more than once a day... I sincerely Thank my hens for providing such a wonderful warm and pleasant feeling in my heart!
  2. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 31, 2009
    SouthEast Texas
    I have very limited experience, but i just wanted to respond and send my [​IMG] to you in Alaska.

    Also, i'll share something that has helped me in my mindset and my psychology on culling - whether for food or because of illness.

    It is my understanding from my indirect education via television (sarcastic emoticon here) that the Native Americans would thanks the animals they killed for giving their lives. Well even though i don't practice any sort of Native American religion, i really appreciate the basic concept. And in my own way i have incorporated it into my own religious beliefs, i.e., that God means for man to have dominion over the animals - and to care for them - and to have them for food. And so, before each one, i pray and thank God for His provision, i take time to appreciate His creation, and i ask for His help to make the animal's death as painless as possible.

    This and a similar process in which i allow myself to grieve briefly over the death has really helped me psychologically. I do have very limited experience, but my limited experience has been done without any remorse .... very healthy experiences. And i think that's because i'm allowing myself to go through this process - instead of trying to pretend to myself that this shouldn't be an emotional or important experience.

    **I'm not trying to prosyletize (can't even spell it apparently) here, for anyone who might misunderstand. I just wanted to share my personal experience that has helped me a great deal mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, to deal with the necessary deaths of these beautiful and treasured animals.

    I know these decisions are hard for you - they would be for me too. I hope you find a way to ease the emotional distress on yourself. [​IMG]
  3. snowydiamonds

    snowydiamonds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks Beth, I hope my oldest roo is as understanding and still sees me as someone trustworthy after I take his oldest hens from him. I came up with another excuse today, I had to wait until after the school bus had dropped off the neighborhood kids. The first time my neighbor and I butchered, we were wondering what the neighbors were thinking of us:rolleyes: We are basically hunters living off the land here so I always think it would be easier if I could shoot the bird, wring its neck and bring it home to dress out and am dreading the day I have to do a goose or duck I've raised, though I will enjoy the meal. Part of the plan was to raise these wonderful creatures so I wouldn't have to spend so much time hunting for meat.

    I know I've posted something similiar, probably each time I had to butcher, but I could never get to the point like in the movies where someone goes out in the yard and grabs a bird for dinner or a person tells another in the movie to go grab a bird for dinner... I would be running outside first, and saying: No, not that one! And not that one, either! No, wait! Not that one! That's why son in law always offers to take time off work to help me, he has no attachments to my birds at all. If it was up to him, we'd probably have done everything in one day and I'd have only one flock already but thankfully he only does what I ask.
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Remember that the roo has no way of knowing where the hens are going. It's no different from his perspective if you take them away to eat 'em than if you sold them or even just relocated them to a distant part of your property where he couldn't hear them. (e.t.a. - I guess I'm assuming you'll be killing/processing them somewhere well out of sight of the other chickens. IMHO it is just *wrong*, also bad management practice, to slaughter animals in front of each other)

    IMO they do seem to miss their colleagues who go away, for a little while, but they get over it. Frankly I would say they seem less stressed by the disappearance of colleagues than by the *introduction* of *new* ones, and we do not get all hung up over THAT [​IMG]

    I know it's tough being the one who decides who'll live and who'll become curry or roast... but hang in there, you can do it.

    Last edited: Dec 10, 2009
  5. possumqueen

    possumqueen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 17, 2009
    Monroe, North Carolina
    I've said this before, but it bears repeating.

    God listened when the man said, "I want to be all powerful like You! Let me do Your job!"

    God said, "You want to know what My job is like? Here." And He gave the man a dog. "Now you make the decisions."
  6. The Chicken People

    The Chicken People Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2009
    Smithville, Mo DH butchered my Roo and he prayed and said a few kind words before the quick deed was made him feel better and I sat at the picnic table and cried until he got back with dinner to be plucked and prepared for freezer camp! This was our first experience with raising a day old chick and eating it! I will have meat birds soon and I pray for the stregnth to actually be able to do the deed...I also am going to take great care of them but not name them hopefully that will help my mindset! I guess at least we will know where our dinners came from, what kind of life they had and that they went quickly and were treated with respect!
  7. snowydiamonds

    snowydiamonds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks, everyone...Pat, I agree that its wrong to butcher in front of other animals.

    I left Cockadoodle two of his original hens and he was alittle overwhelmed at first to have a bunch of new and different aged girls but little by little he's adjusting. He sleeps w/his two eldest hens, otherwise, he's still a great roo and I feel better having left him Snow White and Ms Speckles.
  8. little_grey_bantam

    little_grey_bantam Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 29, 2009
    Russell County
    Personally, I don't really "cull" down my herd. I have raised and eaten meat birds, so it's not a "big" deal for me.

    For me, I favor roos, even as a kid you'd find me cuddling the closest rooster. I could have them all day; I know my roos before my hens (they don't seem to bond to me as well lol and I don't I like roosters, because no one else likes them???).

    Anyways, this year, I sold well over 10 known roosters and have 21 roosters as PETS! (I'm down a few now)
    The farmer was angry with all the "racket" so I just sell them now and I seem to find pretty good homes for them.

    My chickens are very friendly and will sit on a lap and I typically will sell my hens and give the rooster away with them for "Free." People will purchase them that way more easily instead of selling a single rooster.

    I seem to make a pretty good profit, seeing that my hens are sold anywhere from six months old up too two and a half years old.
    I'd try that instead of killing them if it's too hard on you.
  9. snowydiamonds

    snowydiamonds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Not many people here want to expend the time and money on a flock. To get feed up here is so expensive, I pay $30 and up for one fifty pound bag. If you don't plan ahead and have the money to do a big order to come up "barged" in a container van then you are stuck with deliver via air, either way, it takes a lot of money.

    I'm happy to report a young man is coming Thursday because he's interested in taking my banty flock:) Last summer I gave him six assorted (purebred) standard sized hens and a roo. While he was at work last Fall a dog got three of his hens and the roo. He's still learning and has plans for increasing the fenced area for the run and not free ranging. He will be getting a beautiful flock of assorted banty hens and different ages and if he desires, my best banty roo.

    He's bringing back the three remaining hens I gave him which are a Buff Orp, a GLW and a RIR to trade in for the banty flock. I feel like it'll help out alot, even though I will still have three chicken flocks instead of four because the hens and I can always increase and decrease the size of the three remaining flocks without worry or regret while trying to improve on what I've got.
  10. MakNat

    MakNat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2008
    I know how you feel. We had to 'process' 5 beautiful roos last night. I raised them all. I've had them advertised from cheap to free for 3 months now. They had to go. I HATE IT TOO!!! But they had wonderful lives and it was QUICK! Very sad though. I'm really starting to not even want to eat chicken.... Its sad. But may flock now is much more harmonious.

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