Replacing my flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by micdav, Mar 27, 2009.

  1. micdav

    micdav New Egg

    Apr 20, 2008
    York Springs, Pa.
    I have 18 hens. 12 are two years old and the other six are a year old. I sell ALL of my eggs and I am worried about the older girls production dropping later this year. I am trying to decide if I should get new pullets started and get rid of the old ones when the babies start laying. Any opinions? (The older ones can tell what I am thinking because they have started really laying now!)
  2. Cyberbmxer

    Cyberbmxer Out Of The Brooder

    May 30, 2008
    Lebanon, Connecticut
    I certainly would. especially if your selling all of your eggs.
  3. obsessed

    obsessed Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 3, 2008
    Slidell, LA
    I would also replace them. Unless of course you emotionally attached. I think the decline in egg production is supposed to be signifigant after two years.
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    If you are in it for the egg production, definitely yes.

    Something else you might consider. Egg production really drops or even stops during the molt. After a molt, egg production drops some but the size of the eggs usually gets larger. I'm not sure when yours molt, probably late fall-early winter. Not only does egg production drop but they eat even more to get the protein to grow the feathers back.

    If you start the replacement pullets timed so they start laying about when the older layers start molting, you can get rid of the older hens without feeding them through molt and maintain egg production. Next year, do the same thing.

    You could look at your feed costs and determine if it costs more to grow chicks into layers or feed the established hens through molt and how much egg production drops after molt. Then you could either replace your entire laying flock every year before they molt if that is more efficient or keep the hens through one molt and time their replacements to occur before the next molt.

    Hopefully this makes sense. I know what I am trying to say.
  5. Kim_NC

    Kim_NC Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 27, 2009
    Mt Airy, NC
    I would start new pullet chicks now. They'll be laying sometime in September. Then I would cull the older hens before Winter.

    The older hens will probably lay pretty well through Summer with the longer days, etc - it's the season. But if you're in it for the egg sales (we are too), they won't be worth having through Winter.

    The only hens we keep into their 3rd year are either breeding stock - the ones that laid best to begin with. And any good broody/mother.

    ETA: I should have shared - that's exactly what we're doing now. We have 2 week old chicks. They will replace my older laying flock that are currently 19 mo old and will be 2 yrs old in August. We'll cull the older birds in late October at the same time we butcher the Fall group of Cornish X.

    Our "middle flocks" - now 11 months and POL (5 months) - will be kept through the Winter.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2009
  6. micdav

    micdav New Egg

    Apr 20, 2008
    York Springs, Pa.
    It's a unanimous vote! I'l go with more pullets. I only have one hen that we are really attached to. She has a permanent home! Thanks, Michelle
  7. CovenantCreek

    CovenantCreek Chicks Rule!

    Oct 19, 2007
    Franklin, TN
    Definitely bring up those replacements. My 2 yr olds have already slowed down production, but it was the egg and shell quality that went first. I'm trying to find them a retirement home.
  8. Chicken03

    Chicken03 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 20, 2009
    Western Pa
    If you sell most of the eggs you should replace them to keep production up.
  9. lurky

    lurky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    my 2 yr old hens are laying plenty of eggs and they are finally advanced out of the pullet sized egg stage. No offense intended to anyone, but i think people over-react about 2 yr old hens and their egg laying abilities. I have seen my birds stop laying from molting, from heat, and who knows what other factors. But at 2 yrs old i think they are in their prime. I personally would keep them and i bet they will keep giving back to you [​IMG]
  10. CovenantCreek

    CovenantCreek Chicks Rule!

    Oct 19, 2007
    Franklin, TN
    Quote:Mine have already laid over 700 eggs each -- and I know the lower quality eggs are theirs. It's also their eggs that are missing on the days I don't get the usual number.

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