Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Thinning the Flock

{{I originally wrote this post on Friday; however, did not get it posted on the blog on time. Since writing this, we have processed 3 more chickens, bringing our flock down to a total of 10 hens.}}

There are currently 13 full-sized chickens running around our fenced in back yard.  To be honest, this number really doesn’t phase me and quite frankly, I enjoy owning the chickens.  Then again, I could easily become an animal hoarder because I love all things fuzzy and adorable. The number of chickens we own bothers my husband and he has made that vocal over the past couple of months as the chicky babies have continued to grow.
Admittedly, it was a big leap to go from 3 compact laying hens to 19 chickens at one point. The chickens we have are of all different breeds and sizes, some of them twice as big as our cute little compact (1 ½ year old) red sex link hens.  In the beginning, the chicky babies didn’t require a lot of attention or food.  Now, at 4 ½ months old, they eat a lot, poop a lot, take up a lot of room and two of them (roosters) are crowing loudly as early as 5:00 in the morning.
All of these factors put together, I think it’s time to thin the flock.  When it gets to be a little warmer outside, we are planning to process 4 or 5 chickens.  It will be difficult to decide which ones stay and which ones will be processed. 
I look at Craigslist every few months and there are always listings for free roosters.  If we decide that we want to breed a couple of the chickens for meat in the future, it shouldn’t be too difficult to pull off.  Until then, we are looking forward to a few more hens to start becoming fertile and laying eggs over the next month before processing the rest of the flock.

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