how long do you keep your flock before you replace them

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by greekbioguy, Jan 14, 2011.

  1. greekbioguy

    greekbioguy Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 25, 2010
    i know that hens are productive for 4 years but what about roosters can you keep them for 6-7 years before replacement?
     
  2. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

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    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    My non-hatchery stock hens I will likely keep for over 5 years, my roosters for about 5-7 years.

    My hatchery laying hens will probably burn out on me on their 3rd year, which then I'll just replace with more non-hatchery girls. [​IMG]
     
  3. midget_farms

    midget_farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2008
    Dunlap Illinois
    hens lay the best for the first 2 years & then slow down.

    If they are high quality show birds - you can easily keep them much longer because the genetics are still good even if they birds are older.

    If they are production birds it becomes expensive to feed them all if they are not laying very many eggs.

    In my case - I like to free range them & have a ton of predators around. I tend to lose a lot over the course of a year. Most make it to 2 years & my rooster was almost 3 when the coyote got him on x-mas. So I end up replacing yearly.
     
  4. mkearsley

    mkearsley Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 19, 2010
    South-west Idaho
    Quote:By "non-hatcher stock" I'm guess those are birds you hatched on your own? I bought two of my girls as chicks from the hatchery & 2 as hens from the hatchery. Do you think they'll be a difference between the two like what you're talking about? Why do your hatchery hens go earlier? Just stress, or do you think they've got poorer genetics?
     
  5. Teach97

    Teach97 Bantam Addict

    Nov 12, 2008
    Hooker, OK
    so far I get tired of a breed after a couple years or even less so i swap around and change real often!

    from a they aren't doing what they are supposed to scale...if I was running them for eating eggs I wouldn't keep them past a couple years...for good laying stock stuff that has good genetics in them I would keep them till they didn't lay...ever...
     
  6. critterranch

    critterranch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 1, 2010
    Red Creek, New York
    when ever i get bored lol
     
  7. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    By "non-hatcher stock" I'm guess those are birds you hatched on your own? I bought two of my girls as chicks from the hatchery & 2 as hens from the hatchery. Do you think they'll be a difference between the two like what you're talking about? Why do your hatchery hens go earlier? Just stress, or do you think they've got poorer genetics?

    If you hatch from your hatchery hens, you just have more hatchery chicks. Not poorer, but different genetics.

    The genetics of most top laying birds, that hatcheries tend to focus on, are genetically disposed to be rather quick maturing and heavy layers. However, they were not bred for production longevity. After 2 years, they aren't likely to perform anywhere near what they did they first 18 months. I haven't seen a bird yet that will sustain 300 eggs for 5 years. No such thing, yet.
    When you buy production birds from a hatchery, you are getting birds primarily produced, en masse, for the laying industry. They replace their birds very quickly.

    Feed costs are soooooo high, the commercial folks simply cannot afford to keep hens that aren't laying at absolute peak efficiency.

    If a small flock keeper buys his stock that is intended for commercial laying, and most of us do, then we should expect similar results.
    FWIW, I am always rotating in new birds on the bottom and older birds (18 months) out on the top. I am merely a small organic farm, but I also simply cannot afford to feed birds not producing at or near peak. That way it is.
     
  8. briteday

    briteday Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2008
    Northern NV
    Since we mainly have the chickens to sell the eggs I also rotate my stock out at 18 months or so. I don't keep them for a second winter.
     
  9. ekemily

    ekemily Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 8, 2010
    Fairhope, AL
    when y'all are talking about "replacing," is that a nice way of saying..... "eating"....? I'm planning on eating some of mine that are not quite working out in my flock.... except a big buff rock I named Turkey. She's never laid an egg, but i just like her.
     
  10. BantamoftheOpera

    BantamoftheOpera Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 24, 2010
    Southern Maine
    I don't plan on replacing my flock, just adding more... chicken math [​IMG]
     

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