On Monday we started building a new chicken house. We needed an extra hen house so that we have a place to put new birds until the old birds are taken away and when we need to move a flock so as to clean out a chicken house with no chickens in the way. It is a modest structure built on bare ground, made with scrap wood, no floor, mostly wire covered walls and a chipboard roof. Lots of room for 50 or more hens. We managed to complete it enough to house the hens which arrived from Frey’s Hatchery on Tuesday. These are what are called ‘Ready to lay’ hens. they are 18 to 21 weeks old. They are excellent layers of brown eggs. They are now what are called pullets and the egg size is small. the egg size will be small for the next week or so and in about 6 weeks or so they will mostly be large sized eggs. The eggs at this time though are of very high quality having firm whites and yolks of good colour and few oddities such as blood spots and weak shells.
Work continues in the garden and seeding into trays for the greenhouse. The kale and the collards from last season are re-growing quite nicely. The Korean mint is sprouting from the base of the old plants. The garlic is doing quite well too. The broad beans have not yet sprouted. The ground has been too cool for many vegetable seeds to germinate. Spring rolls steadily on and the temperatures and day length steadily increase.
he four footed beast here are all well. The new calf is growing good too. Must remember to get some pictures. The chickens are laying a little better each week with the Leghorn hens and the ducks both laying at an excellent rate. We have some new hens so we will be getting a lot of pullet eggs which are small sized. Most of the older hens that are now laying the large and extra large eggs will be sent off so we will soon have soup hens. About half of the older birds will go to new homes. The older birds are not laying at a good rate. Some hens will not be laying any eggs at all and of those that are, they will only be laying perhaps 3 or 4 eggs per week instead of around 6. More of the eggs are weak shelled so there are more cracks and breakages. The older hens soon become very uneconomical.