The birds are settling into winter activity at Leafhopper Farm. My laying hens are done molting and eggs are back online. Some hens have aged out of laying, and it’s usual for a culling to happen when older hens become unproductive. I’ve been hesitant to do this, as those hens have been so good and worked so hard, but they are also getting old, and the winter temperatures are effecting them. One lady is now sleeping in the nest boxes to keep warm and not have to be on her feet. This helps me understand why culling the birds happens.
The younger hens from this summer’s clutch have grown beautifully. They are integrated into the main flock now and I hope to see their small pullet eggs appearing in the next boxes soon. They were flying over the fences so I had to clip a wing on each bird to keep them in. Once they get heavy enough, the fly over issue will be gone.
Two young roosters have been pulled from the summer clutch and are now hanging out with Big Comb and one of the young incubated roos in a portable coop. I’ll grow these guys for meat and encourage their gleaning around the land as they grow. It is great to see roosters from 3 different groups together in one pen without issue. I thank Big Comb for being a gentle giant, nurturing the other younger roos without too much frustration. The youngest black rooster has been taken under the wing of Red, the Rode Island mix cockerel.
The rest of the incubated chicks are still growing. They are inside the red barn where it’s warmer. One hen has some of the coolest markings I’ve seen. Her back sports a pair of “cat eyes”. I’m not sure if these colors will stay after her next molting. These young birds will remain inside till it warms up again later this winter. I think almost half of this clutch is male, but that’s normal numbers in chicken offspring. 50/50