Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New chickens

Signs of spring:  the first Canada geese are flying over, high.  They must be scouts; there's nothing for them to eat here yet.  Tobias listens attentively when they honk.

We acquired a dozen new young laying hens on Sunday afternoon.  They came from the flock of the same friend who started us off with our flock so many years ago.  These hens aren't related to our original ones, but they are very similar, as my friend and I have the same kind of ideas about breeding and raising chickens.  Hers are more docile than mine, however.  I think everyone's are.

It didn't take any special procedures to integrate the new hens with my flock.  We just put their cage in a pen in the barn with a pan of grain nearby, and opened the door.  The hens came out when they wanted to.  At dusk, we checked to make sure they had all made it into the barn before we closed the door.  Now, four days later, you can barely tell which are the newcomers.

We almost never have any social behaviour problems with our flock.  No bullying, fighting, or pecking.  I think it's because they have so much space.  I added up all the linear feet of roosting space, divided it by the number of chickens, and came up with three feet of roost per bird.  The square feet of foraging space is infinite.

With extra hens, and the lengthening days, we soon will be overwhelmed with eggs.  I can hardly wait!  Omelettes, custard, angelfood cake, devilled eggs...mmmmm...

1 comment:

  1. Oh - lucky you with all those nice fresh eggs! Enjoy!