Thursday, March 21, 2013

Care for the Cull

   As fair time draws near, poultry project pens go through the cull. Several emails have crossed my inbox asking for information regarding the cull pen. Fair standards and country recommendations are all geared toward the care of show pens, leaving students to wonder where to go from here.
    Some families send or sell their cull birds, not wanting to further invest in their care and maintenance. On my homestead every animal counts; these birds are destined to grace my table, so they still hold a high priority in my pen. Whether broilers or turkeys, my cull pens are given shelter from the elements in the form of a covered coop. The only difference in their pen is the lack of lamps. Cull pen birds are exposed to natural light cycles and are allowed to roam an enclosed pasture during the afternoon. Their feed remains the same, but with exposure to the out doors, they will eat a bit less.
    Cull birds are processed as they reach desirable size..often right before or right after the fair. There in, coops and supplies are cleaned and stored for next season.
    When it comes to care of your cull pen, it really comes down to personal conviction. For me, the cull is extremely important since they supply a majority of the meat my family will eat through the year. As you separate your birds, consider the cost, time, and space you have available to work with and build your program from there. If raising the cull pen for meat isn't on your agenda there are always people willing to take them off you hands.
     If you raise broilers/turkeys for your local county fair what do you do with the cull pen? Share your experiences with us.



Michelle said...

Never heard of a cull pen. But it makes sense. Thanks for sharing.

Simply Scaife Family said...

I hadn't either until my children joined 4H and started showing poultry for the county fair. Cull pen is the group of birds you deemed not worthy of showing a the fair. Basically, they are our eating birds.