Culling Chickens

Our chicken population exploded over the summer with chicks I hatched, chickens given to us by friends that decided they shouldn’t have them and chicks my hens hatched.  My last total was 52 which included three roosters and the hen-house had to be cleaned out weekly instead of monthly because of the ammonia smell.  I had about 20 hens that have quit laying eggs but stayed in the hen-house all day on the roost.

This is a 2013 photo but I have some chickens that are over seven years old.
This is a 2013 photo but I have some chickens that are over seven years old.

Last week we chose a new location for a chicken house that won’t be too expensive to remodel and we’ll burn down the old chicken house once the chickens are moved.  This is the new location:

Tractor shed attached to smokehouse.
Tractor shed attached to smokehouse.
Future home of new chicken house
Future home of new chicken house

This building is not any closer to the house but I won’t have to climb an icy hill now in the winter time.  I had one too many falls on the ice last winter.  The tractor will be moved to the stable which has been cleaned out and has more room for equipment now and most of the equipment will be stored in the same location instead of all over the farm.  This is a large building and the back 1/3 will be blocked off for a storage room for feed, garden tools and maybe our tillers.  The garden is on the back side of this building. More about this later.

To prepare for this move I have culled 18 of my old hens and gave them to a family in the county that can use the hens for meat or for “setting hens” in the spring.  My bantam rooster Barney went with this group because I don’t especially want small eggs and I’m trying to bring in hens that will lay larger eggs.  I lost a few chickens to hawks and old age during the early fall.

Barney is a bantam cross rooster and very small but thinks he's a giant!
Barney is a bantam cross rooster and very small but thinks he’s a giant!

Since I have three hens that like to go broody in the spring this should provide me with some new hens next summer that lay large brown eggs.  I really like my Red River roosters  and Red River’s produce the eggs we want.

This is one of my Red River roosters named Fred.  Fred had some red and brown mottled through his feathers.
This is one of my Red River roosters named Fred. Fred had some red and brown mottled through his feathers.
My Red River rooster named "Rooster".  He is white with just a hint of yellow through his feathers.
My Red River rooster named “Rooster”. He is white with just a hint of yellow through his feathers.

With my new hens and some of my older large hens I should have lots of brown, pink, green and blue eggs to sale next summer.

Fresh eggs (1)

The hens have all got their feathers back from molting just in time for the cold weather and some have started laying again.  I’m now getting 8-10 eggs instead of the 20-30 and my buyers are screaming for eggs.  The molting and colder weather will keep production down because I don’t keep lights in the hen-house and most of my hens are cold hardy including the Americaunas.

The red with white tell feathers are the new hens and they're laying now.
The red with white tail feathers are the new hens and they’re laying now.  They started laying at six months and these are my youngest hens.

We now have 31 total and that’s a plenty for what we need.  I just need to cull more often to keep good egg production.  This woman tends to get attached to all the animals on the farm no matter their age or productivity.


Author: countrygirllifeonthefarm

I am a wife, mother, and grandmother that lives on a farm in Craig County, Virginia and I am retired. I love to cook, read, quilt, craft, garden, hunt and take long walks in the woods. I have one gorgeous teen granddaughter, a wonderful little grandson and two beautiful and caring children, boy & girl. I've been married to my farmer husband for 46 years and he's the "love of my life"!! I love doing things the "old" way such as canning, making maple syrup & cider, handcrafts and baking. I've taught myself to crochet, embroider, and quilt with help from my paternal grandmother. I could read until the cows come home. We live off the products we raise and hunt for the most part. We run 75 head of cattle on our farm, 30 chickens, three rabbits and one dog. I help my husband with the cattle, feeding the livestock, hauling in firewood, fence repair, and general maintenance on the farm. I was a stay-at-home mom to my children and then went to work when they finished high school. I was a cook at a School for At-Risk Teens and part-time substitute teacher. Then I started work at our local Farm Bureau and stayed there for 17 years. I worked at Virginia Tech for almost five years and decided to take early retirement in July of 2015. NOW, I'm a full-time farmwife and loving every minute of it! I love to read fiction and the Bible. I'm currently hooked on quilting novels and Annie's Attic mysteries. I started this blog in 2011 and have met so many interesting bloggers and have kept up with my friends through my blog. I love to hunt with my bow and rifle and with a camera. We hunt to fill the freezer and cellar but would never kill anything for the fun of it. I have friends and family all over the United States. Some of my ancestry last names are Bradley, Dickson, Hylton, and Rose. I've lost both of my parents to brain cancer and miss them very much. I have one sister and four living brothers. I was raised in Paint Bank VA and moved to New Castle VA when I married. I went to school in Waiteville, WV, Gap Mills, WV and New Castle Va with a short semester of college at Virginia Western Community College in Roanoke VA.

14 thoughts on “Culling Chickens”

  1. I love the picture of Rooster. He kinda looks like he is strutting his stuff. My daughter has several poultry breeds and enjoys them very much. She recently purchased a pair of Lavender Orpingtons. They are beautiful. She is currently getting 12 to 18 eggs per day.


    1. Orpingtons are great layers and large eggs. I’ll have to check out the lavender though as I don’t think I’ve seen them. Now is the time I get the chick catalogs along with the seed catalogs. I would like to get six orpingtons, six Americaunas and six Black Giants in the spring. My Americaunas will be two years old in the spring and that’s usually when the laying starts to decrease. Our local grocer is screaming for my eggs along with my regular customers. I get $2.00 a dozen for our eggs.


      1. Katie has Americaunas also and some other Orpingtons (my favorite). They are great layers. She sells to locals around us and she has been getting $2.50 dz. We have them for ourselves as well. She has a hen sitting right now, but I can’t remember the breed. I have the Nigerian Dwarf goats, and my husband has the Belted Galloway cows we take care of them and she takes care of the chickens.


        1. We have two neighbors with belted galloways, one for profit the other for fun. We used to have lots of neighbors with chickens but most of given their away and not restocked. I guess they were too much trouble. I love having all of our animals and want to add more.


  2. Oh I know what you mean… it is so hard to get rid of your old girls even if you get new ones. I have the hardest time with the girls that are still left from our first flock. They are old but I just can’t get rid of them. Good luck with the new chicken coop 🙂


  3. Rita
    Interesting project for the poultry.
    Those Americaunas are a Chilean breed???
    I looked them up and wonder are they what you have – they
    are non-broody hens ( don’t go cluckly) and are prolific egg
    Those brown hens with the white specks do look very much
    like our egg laying machines here – ISA BROWNS.
    I can’t find Red River breeds and wonder are they the Canadian,
    Red Shavers???
    Actually I have never laid eyes on an ISA BROWN rooster – just
    the hens which are kept here in some suburban yards with decent backyards for scratching when let out. No roosters are allowed in suburban back yards – for the obvious reasons.
    Could you send me photos of your two varieties of hens.
    I can see already what your two roosters look like – smart looking
    Miserable weather today – rain seems to have set in – but we SHOULD not complain – summer rain is a God send here and “Heuy” is sending it down in the outback – the rural people are in mud and water (flooding paradise) – smiles on faces a mile wide – ha ha.


  4. I am glad you will have a new chicken house soon – one that’s safer to get to! It must have been hard to reduce down your flock! Choosing which one stays and which one goes must have been a chore! I can’t wait to get my own flock going, but it seems everything else is more important at this point than building a coop. Ah well, soon… soon. I hope you post pictures of your new coop! Have a wonderful New Year!


    1. There will definitely be before and after pics of the project. Ours won’t be like the fancy ones you see on most blogs but it will be warm and functional!! Pretty just doesn’t get it with farm animals in my way of thinking!


    1. Barney had never attacked anything or anyone but I knew it was coming and my other roosters that are three times his size were scared to death of him. I won’t tolerate mean animals and put them in their place right away! They sure can be funny before that stage though!!


      1. I know our bantam before this one we were so spoiled with. We had him for 8 years and he was like a pet dog. This little guy is like a pet lion attacking at will. I’ve only kept him because my kids raised him in the house but I think they are starting to see he’s just mean!


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