Monday, July 7, 2008
Have I mentioned how much I love Craigslist? Cruising the farm and garden section this morning I saw that a local lady is giving away her flock of seven Light Brahma hens because her chicken coop is falling apart and she has no place to keep them anymore. Brahmas are a heavy breed, in fact they are described as a "giant" breed on the website of McMurray hatchery, the best place to look for all things poultry related, and are very handsome white and silver birds with feathered feet. Supposedly they are also very gentle and easy to catch.
I was particularly glad to see that these birds, unlike the majority of chickens given away free, are not elderly at all; they are a year old and should be excellent layers for two or three more years. This is lucky for me. I've been trying to decide how to manage my aging flock for a while now. My lovely fat ladies are starting to slow down on the laying, and I know that next year, they will lay even fewer eggs, and some of them will probably stop altogether. I really should cull them this fall. For replacements, I have the three barred rock chicks that I bought from the farm store (well, I bought five. Three remain alive.), the four tiny new chicks that black mama and yellow mama hatched out recently, and whatever may hatch from the six eggs that grey mama is currently setting. But of course I don't know yet how many of the farm-hatched chicks are hens and how many roosters. This situation left me thinking that maybe I should keep the fat ladies as long as they were still squeezing out any eggs at all.
But now it's a non-issue. With the seven hens I pick up today, plus the three barred rock pullets from the farm store, I have a replacement for every one of the fat ladies. The only remaining problem is finding somebody willing to butcher and dress my fat ladies all at once, cause that's not something I'm willing to contemplate. Is there a chicken processor in the house?