Last week I 'celebrated' another birthday, they do seem to come round rather quickly now!! However on many of my birthdays, as it falls on mid summers day, we go and collect new hens and this year we did just that - always a rather lovely thing to do and very special. Our existing hens are getting older and we felt that it was time to put some new youth and vigour into the flock. So in preparation, we recycled loads of old timber and roof sheets and built a new coup to a standard that could take some new recruits, although not finished it was weatherproof.
Never ready until we actually decide to go to collect the young birds, by the 24th June we made the trip to Manor Farm, Illminster, to collect 12 new pullets.
Due to the current situation with Covid 19, it is difficult to get point of lay hens, which is typically the age that you buy, when introducing new hens. As such we decided to go for 6 week old pullets, for a number of reasons, but in the main because they were the breeds that we wanted and that are quiet and unconfrontational, with little to no bullying instinct. This latter point we need to consider now we have rescued bantams, that due to their size alone can make them prone to being picked on.
We chose 6 Bluebells and 6 Speckledies, both of which we have had before and have found perfect for the combination of birds that we currently have. But being very tiny they needed to be kept separate until they were at least at the point of lay stage.
We soon had their area kitted out with what they needed, a new feeding station, nest boxes for sleeping, whilst they were so small, perches and water, they soon settled in.
After an initial inspection, it didn't take long before they were using a perch - something they had not come across before
Next it was to explore outside, again not a side of life that they had experienced, but they took it on with the upmost enthusiasm, like little 'uns playing football - all chasing the ball, they ran around in groups to investigate, areas within their new home.
The next investigation was the new coup, whilst we still needed to complete the cladding and complete the finishing touches the pullets weren't phased, as I cladded they investigated.
They didn't take long to settle in - lovely
Now, over the next few weeks we look forward to watching them grow into young hens, learning as they go and growing in confidence from new experiences. We look forward to when the time is right to introducing them to their new home...
Then of course the existing flock when their role will be to boost its vigour and vitality and keep the old 'uns young and on their toes.