Our old girls are getting on now. Bunty from the original flock is 5 years old, which is like 120 in chicken years! The others range between 3 – 4. Well past prime laying age of 18 months.
Also according to my egg calendar, May is the leanest month for egg laying. Last year they only laid 17 eggs out of 8 hens, and so far this year we have collected 16 and are down to 7 hens. Only one of the large Isa brown hens is laying at the moment. The bantams have been barren for about 3 weeks, and all are finished moulting and have most of their feathers back.
So, over the weekend, Kim and I decided to purchase three new hens to make up for the drop in egg production. Once again, I have stuck with the good old reliable Isa brown hen, which are easy to come by.
To that end, Ben and I just travelled up to Gisborne South to the Macedon Park Emu Farm (I kid you not), and bought our new 18 week old chooks. We met Penny the owner of the farm, who was very friendly, and said that after dark was the best time to introduce hens into the flock, and it was very easy for her to catch them in the coop. They should start laying in about four weeks time.
We boxed them up and travelled home, dodging a few kangaroos in the process.
When we arrived, Kim was standing by with the torches. We opened up the box. They were so cute, and it really took us back to the very first time we got chooks. We placed them into the hen house, which resides within Cluckingham Palace, without too much fuss. The other chooks just clucked a bit and went back to sleep.
It was a very dark, so we didn’t take any pictures. Tomorrow, I promise.
I dare say that the fun will begin in the morning when I go to feed them before heading off to work. Bunty has always been top hen, so she will assert her position. The pecking order should be re-established within a day or two, and Kim said that she was going to keep and eye on them during the day.
I won’t get a good look at them until Saturday morning, as it is dark when I leave for work, and when I lock them up at night. Not to worry. I am sure everything will be fine.
Afterall, we are seasoned chicken ranchers now!