What is the best way to change out your flock each year?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by doodledoo, Feb 3, 2009.

  1. doodledoo

    doodledoo Songster

    Feb 29, 2008
    Cartersville, GA
    My laying hens are pushing their 1st birthday and I am trying to figure out what the best way of replacing them as far as time would be. For those of you who do this on a yearly basis when would be a good time to start?
  2. willheveland

    willheveland Songster

    Jan 29, 2008
    southern tier,NY
    Depending on the breed most layers don't really reach their potential till their 2nd or even 3rd year.I don't really think replacing each year is best.Are you changing out with started hens or starting from scratch again? It may be more fun be less practical. Will
  3. glassparman

    glassparman Songster

    Jun 23, 2008
    Mojave, CA
    Really depends on the breed as far as their potential. Most are good for several seasons till they start to taper off.

    My Red Stars are going to be two next month. They have never slowed down until this winter. They sort of went through a small molt and have now picked right back up again. I also supplement the light to 14 hours.

    Give those girls till their third birthday.
  4. Frizzledhen

    Frizzledhen Spear Gunnin' Coons

    Feb 17, 2007
    I agree! If you start out with chicks, you feed them for 5 to 6 months before getting any payback. If you start out with started hens they are expensive. Keep what you have for now and start getting a return on your investment. Year 2 and 3 are their best laying years.
  5. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    You will get your best eggs from your hens this year. They will come up to size and lay consistantly. Don't rotate them out until 2 seasons from now.
  6. Granolamom

    Granolamom Songster

    Sep 9, 2008
    I'm surprised you'd be wanting to change them out so early, since most breeds won't slow down laying until they're at least 2.
    If you do decide to get rid of some of your year olds, let me know. A good friend of mine is looking for 4 laying hens, she lives in Hiram, and would love to have them. What breeds to you have?
  7. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Songster

    Apr 29, 2007
    I get rid of my layers at 80 weeks. They are sold as stewing hens or dog food. Mostly raw pet food but there are a few people out their that still value soup chickens.

    I buy started pullets so I don't have to raise them for 17 weeks before they go into production. I get them at 16 weeks and they usually lay 7-10 days after their arrival.

    Sometimes we keep back about 1/3 of the hens untill they are two years for the bigger eggs which we sell for a $1.00 more / dozen as some people want jumbos.

    We just moved, and didn't take any chickens with us so we are starting a new cycle March 10th. The thing is the cycles don't always fall the way we want them to. However this time we can get chicks to replace our old layers as it falls on spring time. But normally we have to get started pullets as it's too hard to raise the chicks in the winter.
  8. katrinag

    katrinag Songster

    I would wait 2 years. I enjoy hatching and raising babies. So the 16-20 weeks it takes to lay is not a problem. After there 2 years just turn them into stew chicken, they make wonder soup and pot pies. I have stagered hatches so I have eggs all the time.
  9. jvls1942

    jvls1942 Crowing

    Oct 16, 2008
    I decided to increase my flock so I just add about 25 new pullets each year.. after 3 or four years I will be at 100 or so laying hens. I band them with different colored leg bands and get rid of the 4th season ladies in the fall.. I hatch my own replacements..
    I am at 55 laying hens right now.

    if the hen is laying 5 eggs per week, I might not get rid of her, no matter what age she is.. I have 6 that are going into their 5th season..
  10. doodledoo

    doodledoo Songster

    Feb 29, 2008
    Cartersville, GA
    Thanks for everyones advice! I am glad to know that it wont have to be done yearly [​IMG] I like the idea of the banding I may give that a try.

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