When to cull old hens??

LunaMarieWolf

Chirping
Dec 31, 2018
138
168
86
I have some hens I got for a gift from my grandparents. I've had them for a year now, and they were older hens when I got them.

They aren't putting out many eggs and its's costing more to feed them than the eggs they are putting out. Plus it seems like I will have to invest in more expensive feed if I decide to use their eggs for hatching eggs.

I don't know how old they are, but they are looking a bit ragged. Is it time to cull them or should I let them keep on?

And what is a average life span that you guys let your laying hens live to?
 

Ol Grey Mare

One egg shy of a full carton. .....
5 Years
Mar 9, 2014
20,451
14,545
751
Oregon
My Coop
My Coop
Theres no one right answer to this. Each must decide for themselves where that breaking point for return on investment is, or if there is one.
I, personally, dont keep "freeloaders", those not pulling their weight in production. Previously I was not limited by space and had the infrastructure for hatching, etc. so a good broody, for example, might earn a place even if she wasn't a producer.....or an "old steady eddy" that I could count on to provide good leadership and structure in the flock.
Now I am limited and eggs are as important to me as the joy of having the birds, so I cycle birds frequently. I replace at least 1/2 my flock each year and keep no birds past the second laying cycle (about 30 months)....this allows me to sell the birds as they still have some productive time left, but over had the benefit of the two cycles that are generally the best of a hens productive life. In your case, I would cull for personal use or find soneo e that wanted retired layers
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
Nov 12, 2009
7,307
7,052
536
western South Dakota
There is often a guilt to this decision, but it is unrealistic. They do not need to be forever friends. Treat them well, use good husbandry, and when one needs to be culled for what ever reason, do it as quickly and humanly as possible.

It is ok to keep a flock, and birds come and go in it. If they have had a good life, and a quick moment, you have done fine.

Mrs K
 

LunaMarieWolf

Chirping
Dec 31, 2018
138
168
86
What about roosters? When is the time to cull them?? I have a rooster who is getting mean towards humans and towards the other hens (pulling out clumps of feathers for no reason, leaving the run littered with feathers). And that is not going to fly with me.

Also, I only consider one hen a true pet, and she is still laying fairly well.

Almost all my hens I have are dual purpose thankfully.
 

bobbi-j

Crossing the Road
Mar 15, 2010
14,224
26,142
972
On the MN prairie.
What about roosters? When is the time to cull them?? I have a rooster who is getting mean towards humans and towards the other hens (pulling out clumps of feathers for no reason, leaving the run littered with feathers). And that is not going to fly with me.

Also, I only consider one hen a true pet, and she is still laying fairly well.

Almost all my hens I have are dual purpose thankfully.
Sounds like he's ready to go any time...
 

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