I Think We're Culling...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Chick_a_dee, Nov 25, 2009.

  1. Chick_a_dee

    Chick_a_dee Songster

    May 23, 2008
    Peterborough, ON
    Our red hens, our first chickens who turned 1 on July 15th. Over the last 6 or so months their health has no been great IMO. They have lost feather condition, and although some are going through a molt it does not explain the others. They have been dusted, the coop scoured, feed changed but nothing is changing in them and since we had one die of what I think was internal laying we have decided after worming them today that if we don't see any improvement in their overall health in anyway this week, they will be culled. They didn't lay well at all over the summer, and they don't seem that happy. The EE's mind you, are doing fine. I have checked for mites, lice, everything and nothing is coming back. No one is feather picking and yet half them are bald on their heads. I think, really, its partly to blame from being from a large hatchery and I won't be buying hatchery/co-op birds again. My EE's lay really well, and are healthy as can be but with winter approaching I can't be pouring feed into birds who aren't healthy and aren't producing even a little (I know, no light/no eggs but this started well before and Its' not getting any better for them or me). It upsets me, but we will start new with a different breed (keeping the 5 EE's). All our animals are here for a reason, and unforunately when they cease to be useful (with the exception of the dogs and horses) they have to either be rehomed or be culled humanely.

    Am I an awful chicken momma for having to do this? I feel awful [​IMG]
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2009

  2. Chick_a_dee

    Chick_a_dee Songster

    May 23, 2008
    Peterborough, ON
    Okay, I think we're going to cull the sickest looking 9 including a molting hen who appears to have a slight fever for some reason (I checked her vent area and she doesn't appear to have anything stuck and she was out free ranging with the best of em out there). We'll keep the 5 that show the most potential to recover fully and if they don't, they'll be culled as well.

    I can't for the life of me figure out what is wrong with them, and I know a few of you guys on here have been a total help with treatments for mites and worms but nothing seems to be working and now it seems some of them are becoming underweight and it's not just fair on them plus the added concern of money, I'm feeding hens who aren't contributing and since we have to be as self-sufficient as possible, thats not an option.
  3. CityClucks

    CityClucks The Center of a 50 Mile Radius

    Jan 31, 2009
    Tulsa, OK
    Quote:I'm sorry I can't offer you any other advice than what you've tried or planning to try. I think you are a still a good chicken-keeper (chicken momma!) even if you decide to cull birds that are no longer performing as expected, even though it's hard. Good luck with whatever you decide.
  4. Plain Old Dee

    Plain Old Dee Songster

    Oct 30, 2009
    Seminole, OK
    Harsh as it may sound, my chickens are not exactly pets. I love listening to them and watching their antics, but they are going to have to earn their keep or they will, of necessity, be culled. I bought mostly young pullets that are just now getting old enough to lay, so I don't expect great results with winter coming on, but I do expect to get enough eggs within the next few months to justify the expense. I don't mind that the eggs I'm getting cost more than store bought, that's not the point - I just prefer fresh eggs, and I prefer to have my own chickens to get those eggs.

    My hens have just started to lay - and are not laying well, yet. If they don't pick it up soon, like you, I will have to consider culling to reduce the feed bill.

    Just don't eat yours right after you've wormed them - it might not be safe.
  5. onthespot

    onthespot Deluxe Dozens

    Mar 29, 2008
    Riverside/Norco, CA
    Have you dusted them for mites?
  6. Chick_a_dee

    Chick_a_dee Songster

    May 23, 2008
    Peterborough, ON
    Yes, they have been dusted more times than I can even count. We don't have access to Sevin dust in Ontario due to the pesticide ban, but Dri-kill is what we used which kills mites. They have also been dusted with DE and the coop fully sanitized and cleaned several times, shavings changed, shavings brand changed, bedding type changed.

    We are not planning on eating them, they'll more than likely get buried.

    I just don't understand it at all, one hen appears to have a slight fever, and others are underweight, not laying properly, laying very thin shelled eggs (despite having free access to oyster shell which they do eat, etc.), balding on their heads and it's not growing back despite a molt, the balding ones are not getting those feathers back. Most of them have feathers that look like there is no oil on them, no sheen, and the feathers are seperating and look scraggly and awful. There is no feather-picking going on and they shouldn't be mineral deficient. The coop is not overcrowded, there is enough space for 40 hens and I have 19 in there with all day free ranging on 8 acres. We lost one hen about a month ago to internal laying and when they were pullets 1 died of unknown causes. This has been going on since May, and they didn't lay very well all summer. To add onto all of that nearly every single hen has somehow developed a case of bumblefoot it seems. For the record one of the first hens to go bald has never had very good feathering. She has had uneven colour in her feathers and has looked patchy and weird the whole time we've had her, as well as having a very small comb which is odd considering the size of everyone elses combs.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2009
  7. Chick_a_dee

    Chick_a_dee Songster

    May 23, 2008
    Peterborough, ON
    Okay, It has been suggested to me that I try a course of antibiotics with the hens. My main concerns are as follows:

    How will this affect the EE hens who appear to have nothing wrong with them?

    I can only get Tetracycline, which says on the bag not for use in laying hens... would I just toss out the eggs for a couple weeks after dosing?

    This would be my last ditch attempt to save them.

  8. SunnyDawn

    SunnyDawn Sun Lovin' Lizard

    Sep 12, 2009
    Nor Cal
    I would cull them as well. It's not a fun part of raising farm animals but it is necessary sometimes. [​IMG] Sorry, I know it's still hard!
  9. Bantimna

    Bantimna Songster

    Sep 29, 2009
    South Africa
    If you gota cull, cull.[​IMG]

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