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.

 

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