I got 20 new chickens for the homestead on Sunday night.
These are ex commercial birds again (Hi line) from a free ranged flock where they were up for slaughter as they've become uneconomical on large scale.
These birds have no trouble settling in as they had free range on 20 acres, although with as many as 36 thousand birds in the sheds (divided up) some never see the outside. When I've been past many, many birds are outside. Into their new pen they were straight on their perches, and acting normally. Much more settled than when I've had ex battery hens that take a few weeks to become normal chickens.
Now before anyone says what a good thing it is I'm doing "saving birds" I'd like to state that I do this each year because, for me, it's viable.
To house these 20 birds I first culled the 10 I had left from last year when I got home.
These hens have, on average, 600 eggs inside them. When I get the hens they've laid, on average (again), 320 eggs over 12 months of laying. That means they've got 280 left to give and as I tend to get around 8 eggs off ten birds a day there wasn't much time left for them to still be productive, time to change the flock.
Also I have to time it right when the large chickens farms are changing their flocks.
I got these birds for very little so it also means I've not had to invest any money compared to buying in hybrid pullets at £8 - £10 a bird where they have to lay a lot of eggs before they've paid for themselves, or hatching out my own and waiting the 21 weeks before they start to lay.
This week I'm going to show you my new chicken pens I've designed to house these birds, I'm really pleased with them, each house 10 birds, easy to make, easily moved on to fresh grass each day and cost under £120.
Who else has ex commercial birds?
Do you cull your old hens to make sure you stay productive?