Archive for March 23rd, 2021

Diary #560

My new pullets are three weeks old, and that means they’ve moved from the cradle to the playpen; I’ve got an area in the henhouse screened off with chicken wire, so the adult hens will be able to see, hear, and smell them for the next three weeks and thereby get used to them without being able to get at them.  This is necessary because chickens are the Fowl of Satan and will peck weaker specimens to death.  But years ago I discovered that if they have time to get used to the pullets first, they won’t peck as much (sometimes not at all) when I eventually let the little ones out.  The Sunday after Easter, I’ll start opening their pen in the morning and closing it after sunset so they can come and go during the day, yet not be trapped among much larger hens in the confined henhouse space at night.  That will go on for four more weeks, then finally at the ten-week mark (May 9th this year) they’ll just be treated like the rest of the flock.  Around July they’ll start laying, and next year they’ll be adult hens I need to protect the new chicks from.  As I explained last week, I’m starting to alternate colors to make it easier to cull the old hens each year; I’m rather pleased with myself this time because all the layers I kept are averaging an egg a day, which means I successfully located the slackers.  And after next year, I’ll just be able to do it by color.

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