when to "retire" unlaying layers?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ecoyle, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. ecoyle

    ecoyle New Egg

    Jan 8, 2013
    I have four chickens in my flock, my first four that I started with, that are over two years old now. They have almost completely quit laying eggs. I have four others that are only about 6 months younger, and really I don't know whose laying but I know that I'm only getting about 3 eggs, at most, a day out of 8 hens! Now it is January, and I've been told by some that they're molting. I know it's normal for them to slack off for all of those reasons. But at what point do I need to cull (eat) them so that I can add to my flock young ones that will produce eggs for me? Also, after two are they still good to eat, or are they too tough? I have RIR, Buff, Barr Rocks and Americanas.
  2. canesisters

    canesisters Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 18, 2011
    There is no toughness that a nice long soak in a crock pot can't overcome.

    That being said, you might want to take some steps to figure out who IS laying. It would be a shame for you to cull all your older hens only to discover that they were the ones who were laying..
    Maybe you could 'haunt' the coop a couple of weekends and figure out which ones are paying rent and which ones are freeloading. Personally, I plan to keep my girls - eggs or not. But mine are pets who happen to lay eggs. [​IMG]
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    The "normal" time, if there really is a "normal" time to retire non-layers in fall. If there is a question about feeding a bird through yet another moult and yet another winter of little to no production, then fall just makes sense at cull time . Plus, the "replacements" are now good to go, if there were hatched in the previous spring, they're in full lay mode.

    Another time to judge a layer is in spring. If a bird isn't laying in March/April? She's likely not going to lay. But this pushes the issue back to the previous autumn. Spring is a great time to judge laying, but it is bit like "the horse is already out of barn". You've fed that non-layer all winter already.

    Hope that makes sense. The best time to judge laying is early spring. Best time, economically, to turn a laying flock, is autumn. Well, in my little universe anyhow. LOL
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2013

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