Tuesday 25 July 2017

Changing The Chickens

I got 20 new chickens for the homestead on Sunday night.
These are ex commercial birds again (Hi line) from a free ranged flock where they were up for slaughter as they've become uneconomical on large scale. 

These birds have no trouble settling in as they had free range on 20 acres, although with as many as 36 thousand birds in the sheds (divided up) some never see the outside. When I've been past many, many birds are outside. Into their new pen they were straight on their perches, and acting normally. Much more settled than when I've had ex battery hens that take a few weeks to become normal chickens. 

Now before anyone says what a good thing it is I'm doing "saving birds" I'd like to state that I do this each year because, for me, it's viable. 

To house these 20 birds I first culled the 10 I had left from last year when I got home. 

These hens have, on average, 600 eggs inside them. When I get the hens they've laid, on average (again), 320 eggs over 12 months of laying. That means they've got 280 left to give and as I tend to get around 8 eggs off ten birds a day there wasn't much time left for them to still be productive, time to change the flock. 

Also I have to time it right when the large chickens farms are changing their flocks.

I got these birds for very little so it also means I've not had to invest any money compared to buying in hybrid pullets at £8 - £10 a bird where they have to lay a lot of eggs before they've paid for themselves, or hatching out my own and waiting the 21 weeks before they start to lay. 

This week I'm going to show you my new chicken pens I've designed to house these birds, I'm really pleased with them, each house 10 birds, easy to make, easily moved on to fresh grass each day and cost under £120. 

Who else has ex commercial birds?

Do you cull your old hens to make sure you stay productive?


  1. I wrote about this subject on my new blog a few days ago! I do the same as you Kev for the same reasons, although I don't cull any of the older ones unless they are showing signs of ailing. I find the ex-commercials don't last more than two or three years.

  2. that's too much chicken math for me!

  3. There is an egg farm here that sells them off for 50 cents at the end of the season. Seems like a great deal as all of the work of raising them to laying age is already done. I know a lot of people cull at a certain age out of habit but it seems like heritage breeds are still laying reasonably well at 5 or 6 years.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...