Euskal Oiloa Chicken Forum

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#1 2012-03-18 22:39:21

Susan
Administrator
From: Saskatoon, Sask, Canada
Registered: 2011-06-28
Posts: 2540

Culling

I know we have talked about this before, but I would like to have a post on the subject of Culling. What does culling mean to you? What does (specifically) culling EOs mean to you. Here are two trains of thoughts.

1.  These birds that don't belong in the breeding pen  are still valuable as layers (hens) and meat birds (roos). Even roos destined to head a mixed flock over barnyard hens can benefit the said flock by contributing good egg laying qualities, temperament and size. After all, the EO IS a backyard dual purpose farm bird in its origins.

2.  Letting any of the culls out into other people's hands could cause trouble down the road by unscrupulous people trying to pass off culls as EOs for future breeding. The chick/adult culls should be killed on site if we are to maintain control over these birds.

What are your thoughts? What are the implications of these two points of view? If you haven't already had to make the choice, do you know which way you'd go and why?

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2012-03-18 22:39:21

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#2 2012-03-18 23:13:17

skeffling lavender farm
Administrator
From: Wiarton, ON, Canada
Registered: 2011-06-17
Posts: 2720
Website

Re: Culling

Good question Susan.  Culling here means finding homes for the friendly roosters, and for the productive hens that are not really breeding quality. Interestingly enough, we find the EOs is are relatively easy to find homes for because of their friendly nature and unusual looks.

I always tell the buyer why we are selling and even particular features about the bird and if they are ever interested in breeding these that we would have others available if they were more serious. No one can control what happens to their birds once they sell them so it really is up to you whether you feel it's the right thing to do or not.  The crazy thing about these EOs is will it probably is possible to breed to what we would consider breeding calls and still get nice decent offspring and that is all part of the short selection process and the fact that these are more of a race than a heavily selected traditional poultry breed.

The thought of wringing little necks when the chicks are a few days or a few weeks all sickens me, and is not anything we would ever do here unless the bird had absolutely no chance of having a normal life with the rest of the flock if it was severely deformed or sick.  usually if we are unable to find pet homes for our chickens, and we do keep the females as layers and the roosters we have no problem harvesting and eating. Knowing that they had a good six months free ranging outside it's good enough for me.

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#3 2012-03-18 23:41:15

Susan
Administrator
From: Saskatoon, Sask, Canada
Registered: 2011-06-28
Posts: 2540

Re: Culling

Ok good Claire, I'm on the same page as you. I was recently asked why I would let let the culls go to "pet" or layer homes as it could jeopardize the breed. My thought is that they are such worthwhile birds, how can I not? I am not a seasoned breeder though (not sure I ever want to be one in that sense). I do understand the other point of view though too. It just isn't for me.
I would love to hear more opinions on this matter.

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#4 2012-03-19 00:20:16

Flat Rock Farm
Member
From: Branchton, Ontario Canada
Registered: 2011-07-03
Posts: 3359

Re: Culling

:goodthread: I am on the same page as both of you!! :EO:

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#5 2012-03-19 00:25:10

skeffling lavender farm
Administrator
From: Wiarton, ON, Canada
Registered: 2011-06-17
Posts: 2720
Website

Re: Culling

Susan wrote:

I am not a seasoned breeder though (not sure I ever want to be one in that sense). I do understand the other point of view though too. It just isn't for me.

You hit the nail on the head.  I think a "proper seasoned breeder" can kill them as they hatch.  seems extreme but that's what my take is based on other forum discussions.  I guess I am glad others have the stomach for this, I find it a wasteful shame myself, but I also recognize there'd be no breeds or colour varieties without this.  I can kill mine, but after they have matured for food, not just to throw out to waste.  I think there's a difference between that and them being killed and discarded in their first few days or weeks.  I know John Blehm in Michigan sells his breeding culls locally as barnyard chickens, so you can be a long-term successful breeder doing it that way.

As far as I can see, by selling first quality breeders to someone who matches them up poorly and gets poor birds or even starts breeding from their own natural breeding culls (from a great match up) risks the breed just as much, in less than a year, so I think the more you can educate at the time of sale, the better off a breed may be.

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#6 2012-03-19 01:36:41

Maggiesdad
Moderator
From: Louisa County, Virginia
Registered: 2011-10-05
Posts: 1980

Re: Culling

I've been mulling over culling ever since I settled on EOs as my homestead bird. It was Claire and James' touting of the EO's grand dual purpose traits and wonderful personality that hooked me in the first place.

For me, I wouldn't even consider culling chicks until I had raised out many generations, and had learned what it was I was looking for.

I do foresee chicken on the menu, though! I think that's what will insure their survival.

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#7 2012-03-19 01:51:31

Lindy Lou
Member
From: Priceville, Ontario
Registered: 2011-07-03
Posts: 999

Re: Culling

Most of you know my feelings about culling EO's. I don't think any EO hen should be culled,if she isn't good enough to breed she will certainly be good enough to go into a layer flock. Their wonderful attributes should be enough to secure them a place in anyone's flock. I have a problem coming to terms with eating EO Roosters. Again I think most people would give them a home with a backyard flock or to father lots of EO babies. I know down the road we will have to come to a decision regarding our future roosters but for now my opinion is Let Them Live  cause guys need loving too :funny:


Some of us are driven by the need to make animals a part of our lives. We are soothed by their presence, fascinated by their behavior, and amused by their antics.

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#8 2012-03-19 06:35:49

poplar girl
Administrator
From: Athabasca, AB, Canada
Registered: 2011-06-30
Posts: 3159

Re: Culling

I know the post you are referring to Susan, because it was a For Sale post I refrained from saying anything even though I wanted to ask Heather some questions...

Your question is a good one and I have thought about this quite a bit.

I believe there is a risk to selling birds that you don't consider breeding quality as "purebred" or "rare" variety XYZ without understanding the buyer. But it is also a huge waste to cull them as in killing them for no purpose or use.

So this is what i intend to do:

Unless I know the person and trust what they will do with the birds I will not be selling groups that could be bred (i.e. Roos and hens) as a certain breed if they are culls. I would sell healthy hens as "backyard chickens" for pets and layers. Cull rosters or hens with any vigour or productivity defects we will be butchered. Not sure how that is going to work out with the bantams as of yet...

Depending on the faults I may sell breeding groups or individuals I know may be used for breeding if I think they are decent quality. As in under different circumstances I might have used those individuals for breeding.  They would not have to be perfect, just worthy in my opinion of being worth breeding for further improvement.


Raising red cuckoo (marraduna) Euskal Oiloak and self blue (lavender) & black Belgian Bearded d'Uccles.

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#9 2012-03-19 10:57:04

skeffling lavender farm
Administrator
From: Wiarton, ON, Canada
Registered: 2011-06-17
Posts: 2720
Website

Re: Culling

I agree PG, and whether by accident or design (I think subconsciously I don't let them go together)  and most people are not looking for both at once, but the odd pet roos never go with the layers either from here, I am trying to think back to an occasion when they did and it's a no.
 
I am with you PG on what I do with who! I will have a gut feel for what people want to do with my birds based on emails, or how they talk about their birds.  I have given chickens away to friends in the past, but I never give them to strangers.  Too easy for them to end up in the pot and also less chance they will end up in an auction being made money on. 

Heather is an experienced poultry judge and breeder and has been for years, and is at the other end of the breeding spectrum to us relative newbies, and I do believe she has a valid question.  Then part of me also thinks back to Lys saying this are really rare, get the numbers up first! 

I have a feeling with the type of breed the EOs are and the type of dual purpose friendly chicken loving owner they attract, along with the lack of financial incentive, and APA showing prestige presently available for the breed, it may be a while before we have a more driven individual that operates in a stricter way with these EOs.  I believe many of us don't mind the variety as long as they are strong healthy friendly birds, which is hard for a breed to stay a breed, but telling myself it's was very recently a race makes me feel better about it.

Another thing is I won't be selling any weak culls.  Even "Driveby" who was smaller in the fall is turning into a nice little pullet, but I don't plan on breeding her, her temperament is a bit rude for me anyway.  If they are a pet, they stay here as a pet, if they are poor natured and not that productive they may go in the freezer.

We have processed D'Uccle roosters.  Banty roosters are incredibly hard to find homes for (small, fighty, shrill) , often people don't even want pairs, they want trios, quartets etc.  Lise on ACE used to swear by cooking them up, they only had D'Uccles because she had little kids and didn't want standards bowling them over.  Anyway the D'Uccles have a good breast on them, but same applies, friendly ones have every effort made for a pet home.  :goodthread: Susan!

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#10 2012-03-19 12:46:42

Lisa
Member
From: near Arthur, Ontario, Canada
Registered: 2011-07-05
Posts: 649

Re: Culling

Hi All,

Thanks for opening up this decidely difficult and emotionally gut wrenching topic. Hmmm.... that didn't come out quite as graciously as I'd hoped, but you know what I mean... :)

I'm in agreement with everybody else with respect to the eo's, but I think I can see the other side for different breeds.

My reasons for picking eo's are the same as Glen's - great dual purpose and friendly. Friends, I do eat my spare roosters - I need the meat to feed my family, and would rather eat birds that I know have had a nice (though short) life than birds that have had horrible lives as production meat birds (like those at the grocery store).

If the roosters are "good" (like PG, good enough to breed if I didn't already have enough), I will try to re-home them.

I haven't culled a female yet - but am VERY clear when selling them as "backyard birds" that they are not good examples of their breed, but are still good layers and friendly. And try to sell them to people who understand what that means (or people who only want a small laying flock). Can't do more - when you let your birds go, you can't control what others do with them. Sadly, unfortunately (control freak? Me???). And I DO want them out there, because I think they are such an excellent choice for backyard chickens (compared to many other breeds, like my lovely australorps - who don't lay much in the winter).

I have one pullet I'm thinking about culling. She's lovely and friendly and likes her evening cuddle - but she is really small, with a curled toe (genetic, I think) and has not yet laid an egg (her sisters have been laying for months). She's still here because she is a lovely pet. But I feel responsible for her - I had an offer to buy her from someone with a small backyard flock, but didn't feel comfortable selling her - she's a poor example of a breed I feel really strongly about, and I don't want the (wrong) idea getting out there that eo's are not great layers.

I'll be facing the same issue as everybody else wrt d'uccles - if I'm going to get up the feather quality of my birds, I'm going to be generating a lot of them looking for the few that are good. This is where my understanding of "the other side" comes in. If I am going to breed essentially ornamental show birds (like many bantams), there isn't going to be a big enough market to dispose of the "good culls" in a way that makes sense. Unless a new fad develops for people to keep pairs of bantam chickens in their living rooms..... (hmmm.... how do we get that started?? ;) )

At this point, I can't see myself being able to cull chicks and young birds just because their feathers don't look quite as pretty as I'd like. I'd rather let them grow, and take what meat I can from them. But will I get there after a few years of drowning in little bantams that I know early only have a purpose as part of a sandwich? I'm not sure. I'd like to think not (it doesn't match what I think of myself), but I can see it as possible. 

I'm still having difficulty with the idea of culling chicks that clearly have problems right out of the incubator. I know some of you have had good results correcting crooked toes and splinting splay legs - but I haven't. I've tried, and found that the poor chick just suffers under my care and needs to be culled later. For those birds (hindside being perfect), I wish I'd culled earlier and saved them the suffering. Boy, there's an emotionally battering part of being a farmer...

Anyway, thanks for wading through this stream of consciousness. I guess I'm still working out what I think about this issue.... (and thanks again for the chance) :)


When all else fails, go spend time with your chickens. :)

Pens are currently filled with Red Cuckoo (Marraduna) and Red Basque (Gorria) breeders, Spitz, and Seramas.

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#11 2012-03-19 17:11:24

Susan
Administrator
From: Saskatoon, Sask, Canada
Registered: 2011-06-28
Posts: 2540

Re: Culling

Thanks for all of the Opinions and thoughts everyone. It is certainly not one of the fun aspects of breeding,for sure. and yes, PG, Heather got me thinking on the subject even more. I had started a long post to ask her questions about methods of culling etc, but lost the post before I had a chance to submit it. I have spoken with her a few times, and value her opinion. I think I will continue to re home as many as I can though  It just is what feels right to me. All cull hens are being sold alone ( without Roos) and are sold as such: good backyard layers not to be put in the breeding pen. Yesterday, I sold a roo to a man with leghorns and isa browns as he wanted to have a roo for them and get some good egg laying chicks.  There are some nice birds that have hatched here that I think deserve merit. I will sell them as potential breeding stock with a sound cockerel or two to go with them. I have been so anxious about this, and now the time has come to actually start selling them, I am ready to give up. Maybe I'll just breed a few for myself from now on and start enjoying it again

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#12 2012-03-19 17:20:00

appway
Member
From: Moosomin,SK
Registered: 2012-03-19
Posts: 237

Re: Culling

Dont give up breeding Susan
You are producing some beautiful EO's and doing the breed a great justice
you are on the right track with your breedings and I aqm sure you will find great homes for the culls
Joe

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#13 2012-03-19 18:17:55

NaturesPace
Member
From: Augusta county VA, USA
Registered: 2011-12-20
Posts: 915
Website

Re: Culling

Glad none of you brought up cock fighting as a way to make some extra money.

:funny:

But seriously, I think everyone who has bothered to read this thread is going to make the right decisions for them and the breed. We have a good bunch of thoughtful people raising EOs and it's only going to benefit the breed going forward.

Last edited by naturespace (2012-03-19 20:02:36)


More pictures and videos of chicks. www.outoforderacres.com

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#14 2012-03-19 20:47:43

Island Girl
Member
From: Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Isla
Registered: 2011-07-06
Posts: 1403

Re: Culling

:goodthread: Susan! I feel a little like a control freak cause I don't want people to ruin this wonderful breed. I thought I would sell the spare roos but then people might start breeding them to 'who knows what' and that would never do, sigh! Then I pressure canned my extra BLRW roos and ended up with the best chicken stock one could ever have so now I look at my obvious (to me) less than perfect EO roos and think to myself, OK that one will be culled for food, I can live with that. As for the hens I don't breed well they will be my laying stock with any extra going to carefully chosen homes. As in they are not to be bred. BUT then what if you had thought this way when I wanted eggs from you. Then I never would have ended up with these wonderful birds. So as you can see, today I think I have it all clear in my head and then tomorrow I will be as undecided as ever!!

XOX Monika

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#15 2012-03-20 11:48:32

skeffling lavender farm
Administrator
From: Wiarton, ON, Canada
Registered: 2011-06-17
Posts: 2720
Website

Re: Culling

Good point Monika on not having any if Susan hadn't sent them.  Susan you do what makes you happy.  Enough people have these now, that if you just want to enjoy yours, do it.  If you get pleasure form sharing what you have, do that.  I personally am looking forward to eggs from you this spring, and can't wait to see what we hatch.  So thanks for giving us the chance!

I have always felt wierd about selling a bird that is not perfect.  I felt a lot better when I heard from a judge that no bird is perfect... :whistle:  And really early on, and even since, I have given, or traded a lot of EOs eggs away because I wanted people to try them, and I wasn't 100% on quality and certainly said so!  I am so glad I did though, and that people could see what I can see in them.  Don't feel like it is a responsibility, that takes the fun away, just have fun sharing them.

There is no sure, perfect path to doing this, we just have to do our best and what we feel good about, that may well be different for everyone.  And Naturespace you are right, I think it's a great group of people raising and sharing the EOs (and it feel a bit like a relief that I am not the only one with them now) haha!  This is pretty amazing really! 

Thanks everyone for being such a great group! :US: :Canada:

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#16 2012-03-20 23:20:57

ChestnutRidge
Member
From: Western Virginia
Registered: 2011-07-05
Posts: 251
Website

Re: Culling

I intend to sell my culls and explain their faults as others have said.  The breed is so rare that the demand is small.  The more exposure the breed gets - even if it is by people giving "Baque mix" hens to their neighbors - the more popular it will become.  (Just to clarify, I don't intend to mix these birds, but it is possible that someone we sell culls to might.)  I believe that people who like the traits they see in less-than-perfect EOs or even someone's backyard mix will be more likely to pursue obtaining "pure bred" EOs in the future.  I see this happen with other breeds: People get, say, hatchery Plymouth Rocks, like them, learn more about the breed, and then try to obtain better specimens from local breeders in the following season.  If we try to control the gene pool too tightly, we limit the audience to only those who have access to more remote resources - internet, BYC, etc.

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#17 2012-03-20 23:26:19

Maggiesdad
Moderator
From: Louisa County, Virginia
Registered: 2011-10-05
Posts: 1980

Re: Culling

Tru dat, CR!   :applause:

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