Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Selection for culling  (Read 403 times)


  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Selection for culling
« on: September 16, 2022, 06:09:29 pm »
For a variety of reasons, from Sunday, we're stopping selling eggs. I currently have two flocks - 22 mixed mainly Rhode Rocks with a smattering of white hens hatched spring 2020; 21 hatched spring 2021, again mainly Rhode Rocks with a couple of Bluebelles and a few white ones. We didn't buy any this spring in preparation for this.

Going into winter, I want to reduce the numbers so I'm looking for advice on selection for culling. The older hens are laying between 6 and 9 eggs a day, the younger ones a bit more.

Will they all be laying but with less frequency or will some have stopped laying completely? And if it's the latter, is there any way of identifying those laying and those not?
If not, I thought I'd have a look at each and if they are really thin, have dirty bums or similar, cull them but am very much open to advice.
Thanks in anticipation.


  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Selection for culling
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2022, 06:49:31 pm »
Obviously if they are moulting they won't be laying and all will be in that situation at some stage, so that's no reason to discard them. Check the size of their vents, because you may have some that haven't ever laid. So a small vent isn't laying and may never have done, but the vents do shrink slightly when they stop laying but you will see that they are moulting. Certainly a large vent is laying well. My inclination his to kill (cull means to remove from the breeding group) perhaps most of the oldies and select the best from the younger ones. 6-9 eggs a day from 22 hens is a terribly small number though and I'd want to investigate why it is so low? Ours are getting quite old and some are moulting, but we still get 3 from 6.

Fat hens don't lay much and eat too much and very thin hens may be ill. A good layer will be of modest weight. Dirty bums says a potential worm burden. You should get 6 eggs from 8 good hens most of the year, but they will stop when moulting, when daylight hours are too short to eat enough or when it's too cold and they need the food just for body heat.


  • Joined Sep 2020
  • Norfolk
Re: Selection for culling
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2022, 10:26:41 am »
Agree with Chris. 1 and 2 year old birds should still be laying well at this point in the year especially if they are commercial types which yours are. I would expect a dip around November/December but that should be all really.

Get rid of any really fat ones, they are unlikely to be laying much and will obviously be eating more than their fare share. Get rid of any really thin, light birds, they may have an underlying problem. Less thin birds may just be low ranking that have been kept off the feeder by the fat ones.

Depending on how many you are hoping to be left with, it would be worth worming what's left and reassessing in about 4 weeks. Then if you are still left with more than you wish to keep, rehome the remaining ones, just keeping your favourites.


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