What characteristics do you not allow in your flock?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SoManyHats, Oct 13, 2013.

  1. SoManyHats

    SoManyHats Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 9, 2013
    Winchester, VA
    I've been thinking about this, since I just started my flock and had a bad experience with a new purchase. I thought we could share what we cull/get rid of. I don't mean for breeding programs, but general welfare of your flock. I don't want this to be judgy, I'm just curious what everyone else does.

    I decided that I won't allow roosters or hens that injure other birds. That includes through rough mating. Along the same lines, any that are mean to people. Also, if a bird seems prone to illness.

    That's all I have on my list so far.
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Rooster for me hurting hens in a free-range setting is not frequent.

    Any birds that have trouble keeping weight on or exhibit obvious defects that limit ability forage or get to roost are culled,

    Replacing the lower 1/3 of hens in respect to egg production is worth while.

    Birds with feathers that break to easy get culled.
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place True BYC Addict

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    #1 for me is a rooster who is human aggressive; then unthrifty or birds that just do poorly. In a flock that isn't going to raise chicks, that's about it. If they are meant to reproduce, any deformed birds, or undersized individuals, poor feather quality, etc. I like birds that are calm and reasonably friendly, and nice to look at; it's a farm flock and should be both productive and a pleasure to have. Mary
  4. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

    Feb 18, 2011
    X2 on human aggression in the roos. Anything with bad habits, ie egg eating, feather plucking come to mind. Any bird that is a problem with the other birds either hens nasty with other hens, or roosters that beat up the hens too much, or roosters which won't tolerate other roosters. Any bird that is aggressive towards chicks or young birds in a free range situation. Mine is a pet & egg flock mainly so I will cull ones that are supposed to lay eggs if they are not productive for one reason or another but not pets.
  5. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    if one gets sick, she is gone. I don't have the facilities to separate a single hen, and do not want to risk the health of the flock
  6. chicken pickin

    chicken pickin Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 3, 2012
    So far for me people aggressive roosters get culled to the freezer, roosters that are trouble makers with in the flock get rehomed, I had a feather picker she got rehomed with 2 friends to ease transition. Now on the list is to cull any chicks or poults hatched with defects or disabilities. And that is my list so far. I haven't had and egg eating issue but that is one I would cull for also.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2013
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Temperment for everyone. I'm with Mrs K, I also cull for health. Birds susceptible to illness gotta go. And any bird that just doesn't fit in, causes stress in the flock, pecks on others, or generally pisses me off, well it goes also.
  8. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Yes, I agree, your flock needs to be happy, sometimes that means get rid of the bully, sometimes it means get rid of the victim. Something is wrong, and when they are confined, that will magnify.
  9. Janet Pesaturo

    Janet Pesaturo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 30, 2013
    Bolton, MA, USA
    Agree with the others: birds that are too aggressive towards either people or other birds, to the point where I cannot manage and reduce aggression without making a full time career of it. I treat illness if it's ordinary house hold treatment, or something easy for me to do and painless for the bird.
  10. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 8, 2013
    Quote: Sounds very reasonable. I also agree with pretty much everything everyone else has said so far, but here's my personal list anyway, in no particular order, and of course it is relevant that these birds are freeranged and live together with no divisions according to gender, age, or whatever.

    But, that said, they are randomly caged sometimes, and sometimes I do this without a reason, with each new generation, to spot those that turn quickly aggressive if caged. It's a heritable trait like so many other things, in my experience. Also, any bird that succeeds in becoming a pet may get away with having some defects, though aggression is never tolerated.

    Because I breed many of mine, some of these faults are irrelevant to someone who doesn't, but it's a general idea of my guiding rules in selection for 'keepers' and 'eaters'. Many I only keep for a limited time, too.

    Aggression to others of any age/genders, as well as aggression to injured or ill birds, and aggression to humans.

    Unthriftiness, poor feed conversion, genetic faults, over-reliance on humans for provision, and under-performing.

    Lack of instincts, excessive stupidity, and inability to be trained, or learn from important experiences.

    Excessive inclination to vocalizations in all birds, and negative crowing patterns, (timing and frequency) in roosters. (It's highly heritable for a rooster to crow in the middle of the night, and a rooster who does so can train the others to as well).

    Spackiness, untrusting nature, human averse mentality, and hens who are habitual "illicit-nesters".

    Hens who train chicks to view humans with suspicion, and roosters who warn the flock when a human approaches.

    Sexual aberrations: attraction to humans and underage birds are never tolerated. Attraction to the same gender,is tolerated if it resolves itself quickly. (It's been quite rare and mainly hens-only, not really an issue).

    Instinctual/behavioral faults: cannibalism, feather picking, inability to resolve social conflict swiftly, inability to mother which isn't compensated for by decent enough egg production, hysterical tendencies and neuroses.

    So, yeah, that's just off the top of my head, but there are more. But I guess that'll do. Some things aren't absolutes, whereas others are never, ever tolerated, i.e. aggression. I'll cull a hen for fleeing the nest when I approach too, and I cull any bird that doesn't tolerate being handled. Also, there are varying degrees to some of these things, and an individual's merits as a producer or breeder may allow it some leeway on some non-crucial points.

    Best wishes.

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