Readers of my blog will know of my passion for the backyard chook and my history of saving hens. I affectionately call thse girls my rescue hens.
Well, I did.
But I have never had much luck with my rescued girls and seem to spend my dollars feeding them good food, great scraps and allowing them free range of my yard as they finish out their retirement years in comfort without contributing to the egg department – one of the key reasons I have hens in the first place.
Pie became egg bound. We breathed the chookiness of life back into her 4 times before she went to meet her maker. Noodles stopped laying immediately following Pie’s demise and went to sleep in the back yard under her favourite bush.
Curry and Rice came to live with us after the big floods last year. They were so traumatised, every time it rained they would lose their feathers. Which meant they were constantly partially bald. Curry was first to go, with Rice following shortly after. Vet says they had the poultry equivalent of PTSD.
Of course, only I would have non egg laying traumatised hens.
Through this time, Stew and Dumpling, the Araucanas, remained healthy, robust eating machines. Araucanas are highly strung and can be aggressive to other birds, so they were great at keeping the crows, magpies and other birds away. I even watched Stew take on an ibis in the back yard – and win. They were also great at desecrating the vegetable garden, stripping bare the lemon tree and digging up every single plant we owned.
But they were, at least, alive – if not reliable egg producers.
Araucanas are erratic layers – and one of the reasons we wanted chooks?
So after months and months of only the occasional bum nut, the skipper decided that Stew and Dumpling needed to go. Several weeks back we shipped them off to acreage with friends, where, we have been told, they are happily traumatising the duck population. And still not laying eggs.
It is my opinion that my egg farming history is pretty stuffed.
Which is why this time, we have gone for 18 week old pullets.
Meet Parsley and Sage.