Fair weather Chickening, getting rid of chickens for the winter?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by agoobertuesday, Mar 5, 2014.

  1. agoobertuesday

    agoobertuesday New Egg

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    Mar 5, 2014
    This is probably a bad way to start in here as I can tell that many of you feel your chickens are family, but I wondered if anyone ever gets chicks in the spring, keeps them until fall, then either sells or butchers the entire flock for the winter (then begins again in the spring).
     
  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    I don't, but you could plan to only raise meat birds from a hatchery, and have them all in the freezer by fall. It wouldn't make sense for a layer flock. Mary
     
  3. AmericanMom

    AmericanMom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm actually planning on doing something similar with my egg production hens, but I would keep them the first year and cull them the second, I also am raising meat birds that will be culled before winter the first year.

    For the egg hens this ensures I get the best year of egg worthiness and then start again.. I would have to do it in a way that keeps me in eggs through the winter, like separate all my layers by one year or even 6 months...I'm not sure yet how I'm going to work it..
     
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  4. agoobertuesday

    agoobertuesday New Egg

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    Thanks Mary. At this point I'm still in the planning stage of chickens I don't actually like eggs (another reason that I'm kind of leery asking questions :D ). I would have no problem finding people to eat them though. One of my main goals was bug control and fertilizer.
     
  5. AmericanMom

    AmericanMom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you go about it the right way you could sell your eggs to pay for your feed and it be a costless venture for you....I have several folks who are lined up to buy my eggs and my local feed store will buy my extra's...

    Of course were egg eating machines around here [​IMG] so I convinced hubby we needed a lot of layers [​IMG]
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    [​IMG]

    Don't feel weird asking questions! We actually have several vegans on the board who don't eat eggs or chicken at all, and a good number of other folks who plain don't like eggs. They all like to keep chickens, though [​IMG]

    If you don't want eggs, just fertilizer and bug control, consider something like an assortment of heavy cockerels. http://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/all_heavies.html First, much cheaper than female chicks. Second, you'll get a better carcass when you butcher. Dual purpose roosters at 6ish months will give you a carcass in the 4-5lb range, a hen of the same age would be more like 2-3lbs. Multiple roosters can usually be raised together successfully as long as there are no females to fight over.

    My other thought would be to raise up some layers and instead of butchering them, sell them. A six month hen is just starting to lay and will be highly productive for the next year. It should be easy to get $15-20 each, depending on your area.

    My mind says it just doesn't make sense to slaughter a hen who is just starting to lay. But folks are always looking for good young laying hens.

    Some other options, depending on your particular circumstances, might be ducks or guineas.
     
  7. agoobertuesday

    agoobertuesday New Egg

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    Heavy cockerals sound like they might be the way to start for me, although I will keep doing some research. I've got a coop/pen to build yet and some other things to get in place before I'm ready to have them running around.
    We developed a borer problem in our windbreak and aren't interested in using any chemicals to try to get rid of them. Our forester says the borers won't attack healthy trees so we've cut out all the infected ones and are hoping for the best with what's left (plus a new planting of 50 this spring to replace what was infected). We had talked about a few chickens before we discovered this problem, both for food and fertilizer so my thoughts were that maybe they could help us irradicate the borers too. I also thought the grandkids would enjoy watching them. I know older roosters can be kind of cranky. Do young roosters tend to be the same?
     
  8. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Roosters can get aggressive. The nice thing about your plan is you'd be butchering them right about the time the hormones really start flowing. Plus, if they're free ranging, which sounds like your plan, they'll be nicer. Don't plan on treating them like pets at all and you should be fine. If any start getting aggressive, simply invite him to dinner [​IMG]
     
  9. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    If you want free range bug eating birds, guineas are great. They are also wild and incredibly noisy, couldn't live with them myself! The really fast growing Cornish cross meat birds DO NOT range at all, they sit and eat. Mixed large breed cockrels are a good choice, or even straight run dual purpose breeds, if keeping a few hens works out for you. The freedom rangers from Pennsylvania are very nice too, grow fast and range very well. Mary
     

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