The roosters are crowing and the hens are producing.
Way last summer we bought our annual pullet (female chicks) inventory. Fifty to be exact. It was a mixture of Rhode Island Reds and Buff Orpingtons. The company sends us an “exotic” free of charge which always turns out to be a rooster. I also let a couple of hens hatch eggs and the percentage of roosters is generally greater than hens. So we now have an excess of beautiful roosters growing to maturity and exhibiting their masculine side. Anyone need a handsome rooster?
Now back to those new hens. We watched them grow and grow and grow but no eggs. There were some older ones that were producing and then they went on strike. It’s called molting. Chickens lose feathers, look really scruffy and stop laying eggs. Well, we went to a friend and bought a group of all white hens that were laying profusely. They promptly stopped laying. Fred counted chickens on the roost one evening. We had 95 mostly motley looking hens all snuggled up in the coop and we are getting one or two eggs a day. These were from the two Turkins which are naked neck chickens. We can tell their eggs because they are more oblong than other breeds. They do lay all winter though. So next time we increase our flock…
At any rate, over the holidays we had a cold snap and we set up heat lamps. It must have been just what was needed. All the girls are apparently happy now. They certainly look better. There are eggs everywhere. We are up to 4 dozen a day now with the potential for more everyday as they all get in the mood.
The hens and roosters all come and go as they please but head back to the coop every evening. They are never given any chemicals. We use Apple Cider Vinegar in their water once or twice a month and occasionally dust food grade Diatomaceous Earth on some non-medicated feed. Diatomaceous is hard to pronounce and it is more commonly referred to as DE. A brief commercial – We sell 50 pounds bags of the DE here at the farm. It is good for getting rid of fire ants, ticks, flies and other spineless insects. Click the link above or type the word into your search engine for more about it.