Sunday, 17 July 2011
Hello Girls !
A few years ago we started with a 2 - hen Eglu from Omlet (actually we had number 6 off the production line).
We have over the years upgraded to an Eglu Cube , capable of holding 10 hens. Easy disposal of kitchen waste and lots of eggs in return. A hen can live up to four years. There is regular egg production in the early years but it tails off as they get older. Towards the end of their life, the egg production continues to fall. But they are as much pets as egg production machines , so they live on in graceful retirement until heart failure, kidney failure or somesuch calls them to the great henrun in the sky. We have in the past had a variety of breeds - here's pollo and sybil from the early days.
More recently we've got our hens from the Battery Hen Welfare Trust (BWHT) .The economics of egg production is such that 100% production is 1 egg per hen per 24 hours. When production falls to 95% (12 eggs a fortnight) the battery becomes uneconomic. So all the hens are cleared out and a new, younger, lot got in. But what happens to the hens that are now uneconomic ? . Well, many of them get trucked away and become dog and cat food, meat pies, etc etc. But the BHWT will try and re-house as many as they can. they don't lay 1 egg per 24 hours, but they lay pretty close to that, and good enough for domestic use. Our 'flock' of 6 had dwindled by natural causes to 3, so this weekend we got another 6 to bring the number up to 9. They have spent their first year of life with no access to daylight and no room to turn around. They aren't in good condition when they come out, and some aren't strong enough to survive outside the battery.
They also don't know what to do . They lay eggs wherever they are , instead of a in a nesting box, they dont know they can leave the henhouse in the morning ( so have to be lifted out , until they learn).
So heres our 6 - they have all spontaneously gone and stood in the corner of the run , all together. They aren't too bad for ex-bats. They all have some feathers, and none have obvious scars from being pecked excessively . There is one who may not survive , though.
They do venture out a bit .Hers one having a look around
Watch this space as they settle in.
And we know that we arent the only people in Jesmond who keep chickens in their back yard.