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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

We Have Layers

After 10 years without laying hens and 7 years on this new farm without them we finally jumped on the Eggmobile and now are the proud stewards of 18 golden comet hens. Right before Thanksgiving my friend and fellow farmer, Debra Bowles, emailed me asking if I wanted to take 40 laying hens that an octogenarian wanted to get rid of. I thought abut it for a minute, asked Eugene if he was interested and we decided that it was time to get back into pastured eggs. So after several days of phone tag with a guy named Brian with whom we were going to split the hens we ended up going straight to the farm where the hens lived and picked up 18. We were supposed to get 20 of them but counted badly so ended up with 18. We got the girls home on Saturday morning and that is when they started their new lives as pastured poultry, something completely new to them. The first few hours were obviously terrifying to some of them but all of them have come around and now seem to be happy being outside where there are always interesting things to do and eat. Already they have learned wings are for flapping (something they could not do in their tiny coop), dust/dirt baths are great and chickweed is a wonderful thing to eat. Unfortunately we were not at all set up for layers when we got the message that these hens needed a home so right now they are living in tractors meant for meat birds that we have cobbled nesting boxes and roosts into. But by this evening or sometime tomorrow they will have a brand spanking new mobile egg house to in which to live. As it is we lose a couple of eggs a day due to poor laying conditions for the girls but considering we get an average of 15 eggs a day we can afford to lose a few at first

Eugene brings the first crate of hens into their pasture

The hens did not want to leave their crates
So we lifted them out and they soon started wandering around checking out their new digs
Temporary living quarters

The first 13 eggs laid