Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Chicken Herdmanship - Culling Old Hens

It is easy for me to cull and rid my flock of roosters - hens, not so much.  All of my chickens were bred and raised here.  I love my mix breed flock of banty birds.  Every spring I cull my flock of roosters.  This year I gave away 7.  I was happy to hear 2 of them will be going the the Rosholt Fair.  Yay for them.  

I never, cull my hens - I like them too much.  Even when they are old - I mean old - 6-8 years, lay only 1 egg a week if any.   I have given away a few to friends or children who have asked to have one for a pet.  One was even named Dicky Bird...cute! 

However, I had to make some decisions yesterday about some old hens.  They all had leg issues.  Some were too old and slow to "get away" from the young horny roosters...sorry, but true.   Others faced toe loss due to frost bite.   These issues caused leg problems.  They just didn't have the quality of life every creature should be allowed.  

With a heavy heart, I caught my petite little friends and put them in a cage.  I made sure they had a "good" last day, crops full kinda day.  I thanked them for the years they gave me eggs, kissed my tiny "Twinkle Toes" good bye and asked Al to "help" me.  I don't like to kill stuff.  It is the circle of life.  I gave them a good life here with lots of treats and love.  They in turn gave me eggs and some super cute chicks over the years.  

If you don't have or never had animals, this might be hard for you to read.  I'm even crying reading it - and it's my story.  Culling is a part of herdsmanship - one that is not a favorite of any "farmer."   

The other side of that is - new life.  I do have 4 cages full of over 30 chicks.  Some of these will become my new favorites.  I already see a few cute ones I hope are hens.  

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.  

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