What is culling? It is the practice of removing ineffective animals from a flock, for instance day old layer breed male chickens (can’t lay eggs, ever..) or older hens that does not produce economically any more (the feed that is consumed is too expensive for the eggs produced). It is not limited to the poultry industry. Why is culling done? Culling is done to produce food as affordable as possible by using resources (grains etc) as effective as possible. Removing the individual animals that does not produce cost effective ensures that the average effectiveness of the whole flock is increased. What is a s “Spent Hen”? It is an egg laying chicken which has gone through a laying cycle or two and need to be replaced by a young pullet ( a hen at the age where it would start laying eggs). What happens to “Spent Hens”? In the majority of developed nations it would go to processed pet food. At the age of roughly 80 weeks it is not acceptable to the palate of the consumer (“Meat chickens” are slaughtered at about 5-6 weeks of age, in comparison). In South Africa spent hens are sold to people that have a palate for the older chickens. It also appeals to consumers that does not have fridges and still want to have a fresh product to eat, as it can be slaughtered at the point of use . How do spent hens get to the consumer? Culls, or spent hens, are in every way a producing bird which needs to be replaced in the flock as explained above. The culls are normally transported to a sales outlet where hawkers and other individuals buy the culls, either for further distribution to smaller outlets or to be used as food. This process requires extensive handling of the birds and care needs to be taken to ensure that no damage (like broken wings etc) is done to the bird. What is the role of the SPCA in this regard? The SPCA want to ensure that the birds are treated humanely and always have access to food and water. We absolutely support their endeavors.