It’s that time of the year to whittle down the number of birds in my flock. While I’d love to keep them all, they are expensive to maintain over the winter when there is no pasture and I don’t like keeping too many birds cooped up in the winter. I’d rather overwinter a smaller flock so they have ample space.
The guineas all get to stay, they provide the valuable service of tick control. Some of the muscovies will get to stay, I’m hoping to cut down to 2-5 birds. That means I have about 15-18 birds to get rid of. I’m also getting rid of all but one of my Ancona drakes.
With the 15 chickens that hatched out this summer I also need to cull a few roosters, there are probably 3 of those that need to head off to Iceland, otherwise the snowy days in the coop will be lively ones! The hens will stick around to augment our laying flock and make up for some of the predator losses from hawks we’ve sustained this fall.
This is the difficult part of keeping animals. While it would be nice to keep them all, the nature of keeping birds as livestock means that there are far fewer losses to predators and thus more survive. Their numbers will steadily grow until you have way too many birds. The good thing is that I don’t usually have too much trouble getting rid of them. In the spring I sold off most of my extra stock to make way for the new hatches this summer. I definitely am looking forward to paring down on the number of birds I maintain throughout the winter. Feeding fermented feed will be easier and cheaper if I can keep the number of birds below 40!
Do you have to pare down on any livestock for the winter?Filed under Feathered & Furred, Weather | Comments (9)