New Harmony Farm – The Story of Rehabilitating Battery Chicks – Update No 3

The Laying Boxes

The Laying Boxes

The next in the sequel from Ruth….

Hi Debbie
Back from 2 weeks holiday with Tiffini, almost perfect weather. Hiking, snorkeling, kayaking, swimming, lazing on the beach – need I say more.
was keen to see how the hens have got on in the last 2 weeks – would there be an improvement!!!  Wow was totally blown over. On opening the door in the morning, 300 hens take all of 14 seconds to leave the house.  My son Lyle started putting all the food outside only. Well – they learned this pretty fast. Must get a photo to show you all.
 The hens love the outdoors – they are not going more than about 8 metres from the house, but what a difference in their general behaviour. They are a lot more confident, seem to go in only to lay eggs. That was another shocker. Not one egg layed for 15 days – then – 6 eggs on day one, 15 eggs on day two, 32 eggs on day three, 53 eggs on day four, and now they seem to have evened out at about 134 eggs daily at the moment. Sizes range from just 28g to 64g. While their body is trying to fall into a rhythm we get some strange eggs – talking the internal of the egg. Just water, just white, double yolk, mixed yolk and white, tough skinned yolks to name some. The eggs are of course too small to sell to the public at this point – large egg weighs between 52 -58g.  I send all the eggs to goverment subsidised old age in Florida. They are grateful for the eggs, regardless of size, and I feel good sending to them.
 I digress – anyway am pleased with progress, but realize that they will never be like my laying hens that were raised free range. WHY – well mass action. 1 hen does something, they all do it. It can be pretty frightening when 300 hens head for you all at the same time. Our dogs – who go into each area with me as I work there, will not dare to go into ‘white hen’ terrritory. I have had my fearless Jack Russel Mandy backed into a corner fighting for her life. One hen decides to challenge her – 20 others follow – poor thing had to be rescued by me. They have to be fed inside at 4pm. Feed them outside and every single hen has to be picked up and placed back in the house – they have no natural instict to go and roost when the sun goes down. Yes – light is still on at night. Cut it to one red light, but cannot make the lights go out, I would find dead hens in the morning. They are not smothering each other at the moment, but can pack pretty close.  I am going to attempt to put perches in, hopefully they will take to that. Something to look forward too.
Debbie, I should definetely have eggs available for you in September.
Many thanks


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