Flock Management
replacement using hens and a rooster
This management system uses a rooster to provide you with fertile eggs that the hens of the flock hatch and raise themselves.  When mature the young roosters are eaten and the pullets are either used to replace older hens or eaten.  Hens are kept for no more than two to three years.  This was the system I used for over a decade.

The main advantage is that it is the most environmentally friendly way to run backyard chickens and quite cost effective.  The main disadvantage being that this method is only suitable for breeds with hens that regularly go broody and, due to the rooster's crowing, this system of flock management can only be used in very low housing density areas.

advantages/disadvantages summary

  • Very environmentally friendly.  Replacement chickens are not transported from out of town or raised using industrial chicken farming methods.
  • Cost effective.  Unless changing your genetic stock there is no need to buy replacement chickens, which can be quite expensive, especially if you are buying purebred chickens.
  • Minimises the risk of bringing parasites or disease into the flock on the backs of replacement chickens from outside sources.
  • Provides you with a supplementary diet of home grown chicken meat, which is without doubt the best tasting and healthiest chicken you will ever eat.
  • Hens love to raise their own brood of chicks.
  • Chicks raised this way easily integrate into the flock structure with a minimum of disruption

  • Due to the rooster's crowing this system is only suitable for very low density housing areas.
  • Needs more chickens and space than you would using the All In All Out or the Staggered Replacement systems.
  • Not suited to chicken breeds that don't go broody or are flighty mothers.
  • While you can use egg laying chicken varieties for this management method it is best done with a duel purpose( suitable as both a meat and egg laying chicken) breed.  Most duel purpose breeds lay fewer eggs than specialised egg laying chicken breeds.
  • You have to kill your own chickens.

Webpage modified 22nd July 2016