Should you cull your flock in fall?

As fall approaches, hens that are 2 years old or older slow down on egg production. Many farmers and homesteaders chose to cull old or unproductive hens from their flock before winter. By culling the flock in fall, they cut their feed costs over the winter. This makes a lot of sense if your main reason for having chickens is to get farm fresh eggs.

However, not everyone runs their flock like a farmer. Many chicken keepers are perfectly happy letting their flock live out it's natural life. I have one chicken that's 9 & 1/2 years old, so I can certainly understand that sentiment! Chickens can live pretty long though, so if you don't intend to let them live out their natural lives, culling before winter may be a good idea for you.

chicken culling in fall

What is culling? 

To cull the flock means to reduce its population selectively, removing animals by choice. Remove does not always mean butcher or kill, but it can. Many people cull their flock by selling off chickens they decide they no longer need. I have posts about poultry swaps, poultry auctions and my ridiculously honest craigslist ads as these are all ways I have used to cull my flock.

Broody hens, how to care for them

Broody hens are the easiest way to add new chicks to your flock. A good broody will take care of the chick rearing and all you really have to do is provide food and water. That makes it so much easier than caring for a brooder full of chicks! 

A broody hen does require a little bit of care though. She'll need a safe place to sit on her eggs for 21 days, food and water. After her chicks hatch she'll need a safe place to raise them. She will take care of integrating the new chicks into the flock when the time comes.

Broody hen care

I've found that chicks raised by a broody hen are slightly less friendly with humans than those raised in a brooder. The fact that it's so much easier to just let a broody hen do all the work though, makes it worth the little extra coaxing it takes to get the chicks to be friendly when they're older!

How to hard boil farm fresh eggs

Obviously we eat a lot of farm fresh eggs around here or we wouldn't have a flock of chickens, right? Or maybe we eat so many eggs because we have chickens? Hmmm, either way I've had to become pretty skilled at cooking eggs, with easy peel hard boiled eggs being my favorite.

I sorta stumbled into my preferred method for cooking farm fresh hard boiled eggs, but unfortunately I've heard that it doesn't always work for everyone! (oh the horror!) So, I'm going to explain my method and tell you every hard boiled egg method that I know of. Sound good?

hard boiled and peeled farm fresh eggs

All my life I had always put the eggs into the water and shook some salt in there with them, then put them on the burner. I never had a problem with them peeling, but they were from the grocery store so that's not uncommon.

Treating coccidiosis in chicks

Coccidiosis is one of those diseases that strikes fear into the heart of even the most experienced chicken keeper. When contracted by chicks, coccidiosis can wipe out a whole brooder full in just a few days. Coccidiosis moves quickly and is deadly. Luckily, it's also easy to prevent and treat.

Coccidiosis medication is readily available and is water soluble, so it's simple to treat the whole flock at once. (which is absolutely necessary!) Treating coccidiosis in chicks is as simple as adding the medication to their drinking water for a few days and keeping their brooder clean.

chicks with coccidiosis can be treated easily with corid.

Before we get to the treatment of coccidiosis though, let's talk about what it is and what the symptoms are.

Coccidiosis is a parasitic disease of the intestinal tract of animals caused by coccidian protozoa. The disease spreads from one animal to another by contact with infected feces or ingestion of infected tissue. Site.

Chicken breeds to raise for pretty eggs

When I got my first chickens 10 years ago, I hung out on chicken forums an awful lot. It seemed like everyone in there was obsessed with having a 'pretty egg basket'. Chicken breeds were selected carefully by what color egg they would produce. Blue egg layers and chocolate brown egg layers were the crowd favorites, though green egg layers were favored over the standard brown.

I didn't pick my chicken breeds that way.

Colorful chicken eggs come from these breeds of hen.

I bought whatever they had at the feed store to round out the Marans my husband wanted and the silkies I wanted. I ended up with easter eggers and buff orpingtons because that's all that was left when I got there. I acquired olive eggers when a Marans breeder sent me extra eggs just to fill the carton. Accidentally, this made for a beautiful range of farm fresh egg colors!