Too many chickens, hard decisions to make!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by journey11, Aug 23, 2010.

  1. journey11

    journey11 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ugh, I hate being the one who has to hand down the orders to the "executioner". [​IMG]

    I bought more chicks this summer, wanting to get better laying hens. The flock of 13 I have now are pretty, but not practical (for the most part). I am attached to some of them quite a lot. Now fall is quickly approaching and I'm having a hard time deciding how to integrate my 26 new Black Star pullets (plus one roo).

    I know in my head there are pecking order issues to consider, health considerations, and most of all the cost of feeding 40 chickens. I know logically All in/All out is supposed to be the way to go. I have a large coop and could probably fit them all in. My current layers are very healthy and if it weren't for an egg-eating problem I have with them, I would probably just keep them all! (And hope to sell enough eggs to break even.)

    I also don't want to be out of eggs through the winter. With a heat lamp in there, I usually get enough to keep us in eggs 'til they go back to normal laying.

    Here's what I am considering: I should go ahead and cull the bad layers, maybe leave 5 of the mature hens who lay best. Then go ahead and put the new black star pullets in with them and hope things settle down quickly.

    How do you guys make these tough decisions? Have you had good luck integrating two flocks or would it be better in the long run to just go ahead and do the deed?

    We do meat birds each year too, but I don't get attached to them and don't agonize over it. I don't know how it could be possible not to get attached to the girls!
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2010
  2. alicefelldown

    alicefelldown Looking for a broody

    Aug 18, 2008
    Quote:This is what we do all the time. No sense in wasting feed on poor layers. As soon as our young pullets start laying they get moved from the "Teen Coop" to the "Layer Coop". Haven't had an issue with prolonged fights/squabbles.

    Old hens get re-homed on craigslist *WITH FULL AGE AND LAY RATE INFORMATION* or stewed. Some people just like having birds around and the eggs are a bonus.

    You're over-thinking this.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2010
  3. mstricer

    mstricer Overrun With Chickens

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    Here's how I did my "I shouldn't of hatched so many chicks, out of spring fever", I have way to many. I spoke to my Amish friend, who is building our run, Made him a deal tomatoes for a bunch of young roo's and some hens with bare backs and ones that have been beat up. I don't have to cull them, they get a good meal. We do the capture at dark and I mark the ones that should go, it was all quite easy. Now I have tomatoes for canning.
     
  4. journey11

    journey11 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You're over-thinking this.

    I know, I know... [​IMG] My head says "start culling". Just wasn't expecting to get so attached to them...

    mstricer, that's a great idea, one that hadn't occured to me. I have a hard time getting my hands on grapes to make juice/jam. I wonder how many stewing hens would be a fair trade for a bushel of concord grapes!?​
     
  5. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Get rid of the egg eaters. If you can't determine which are the egg eaters, get rid of the entire flock. Guaranteed they will teach the young pullets to be egg eaters also.
     

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