I built a chicken pen/coop a few months ago, and we have been waiting ever since for the arrival of some hens. We have always welcomed the chance to re-home some birds who might not have had the best start in life- in fact, they may never have seen the sky or scratched at real earth.
In this case, we have 10 birds from Homes4hens. Their birds are all about 13 months old, and despite being just at the start of their active lives, would have been slaughtered, because their first intensive laying period will tail off for a while at this age. They will have all been caged- and if you think that caged hens are a great improvement on the old ‘battery’ farmed ones, you should come and take a look at our poor birds, partially feathered and exhausted as they are.
Still, some food, some rest and some fresh air will work wonders and they will soon be fit, fully feathered and laying again. In fact, we expect to have more eggs than we need, despite the fact that, as vegetarians, eggs are a big part of our diet. If the hens are as productive as we hope there will be a few at the end of our drive for sale if you are passing!
When you first get chickens, it is wise to leave them shut up for a few days to get used to their new surroundings, but today, despite the mixed winter weather that included snow, rain and sunshine, they were so keen to be outside we did not have the heart to leave them in the dark. They emerged slowly, like pit ponies unused to daylight. Like the walking wounded onto hospital grounds. It was a delight to see…