Boyd Bunzer

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Agricultural Extension Service, South Dakota State College

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Every pullet housed in the fall represents a sizeable investment that must be recovered from the eggs she lays because her meat value is usually only a third to a half of what it costs to raise her. With this in mind most flocks should receive little culling through the fall and winter months. A rigid culling program should begin during late spring and early summer when hens start their annual molt. The history of the flock should be carefully considered before any culling is done. A flock should never be culled when it is sick or still recovering from a disease. The flock owner must give the birds chance to recover and come back into production before he can intelligently remove the birds that are not going to return to good production. Some flocks that start production early in the fall will slump in production around the first of the year. Generally the slump is only a slight neck molt and the birds will return to the normal rate of production in two to tour weeks. In this case, it is generally practical to feed the flock through the slump and not do any great amount of culling until ·after the birds reach their full production level again. In healthy flocks come continuous culling should be practiced. Flock owners should remove the obviously sick, lame or injured birds, and those that are not able to stand the competition or stress in the flock. Right here is where good breeding, feeding, housing and management pays off in holding down the number of individuals that "can't take it" in a healthy flock. General culling, other than removing individual birds · can be divided into three phases as explained on the following pages.

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