Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Scruffy Chicken

I have one hen that is STILL moulting. She looks more pathetic than any of my other hens did when they were moulting. You can see her standing next to one of her sisters who is finished with the moult.
These chickens are getting pretty tired. The Maran hens are about three years old and the Welsummer (yellow necked) hens are at least two years old. They may be older than that, but I haven't actually kept records on them. In any case, they are laying pathetically few eggs these days. During the summer the peak laying season was very brief and I am getting NO eggs from the hens now. The thing is, the chickens still eat even though there is no egg production. I don't think that is how things are supposed to work.

This means that it is time for fresh hens. I am due to pick up six hybrid layer pullets (young hens) on Saturday. The pullets will be 17 weeks old and are due to start laying eggs at 20 weeks. I'm wondering if I should cull the old gals now so that they don't bully the new gals.
On the other side of the house, there is a mole or family of moles making short work of our lawn.

For the soft-hearted among my readers, please don't worry. I won't kill the chickens unless they prove to be too violent toward the new girls. The new hens will be put in a separate cage next to the big chicken run for a couple of weeks until everybody has decided that they can be friends.
There seems to be an abundance of berries or haws on the hawthorn bushes this year. Now that we've had a couple of light frosts, the colours are getting very pretty.

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