Sooooooo, after saying how we were going to cull the cockerels only one boy (the crowing one) made it to his final destination. The cull, as on occasion may happen, went a little wrong. A matter of 10 seconds delay feels like hours when something goes wrong and although he obviously didn’t suffer (it was still quick and clean) the delay meant we then delayed doing the other two boys until we calmed down. A month later, they are still here (and looking for homes!).
Yes, I am a wimp!!! I’ve become very attached to the daft remaining Faverolle boy and the Buff Orpington boy is very handsome so I am hoping to get them homed now instead (and before they crow!).
The Buff boy (Wotsits) is trying to be dominant, unfortunately for him the oaps are having none of it…. Whenever he tries his luck or attempts to chest bounce he gets a good pecking from them to put him back in his place. I’m sure he manages to look a little sad about it after 😆
The run has also been delayed as I had wanted the boys gone before putting them into their new permanent run as the space is for the 5 girls not with two big burly boys in there too. They would have far more than recommended even with the boys in there, but I don’t want to stress the oaps out as (like last winter) I am not sure how much longer they are destined for this world. I am amazed that ex-barn girls have kept going for so many years, and that they even lay me an egg on occasion too still!
With the being such oldies now, and the occasional softie popping out when they do manage to lay, we have introduced some winter health tonics for them. A liquid calcium supplement (added to their drinker), poultry tonic to their water too, a warm morning mash from their pellets and a ration of mixed corn before bed to keep them toastie warm. I’m not sure how well any of the tonics are doing, but the corn is waited for with great anticipation. If late out they wait at the gate screeching for treat time!
In winter people worry about how warm their girls will be, especially in snow or freezing conditions. There is very little need to worry. Provided the hen (or duck) house is draft free and secure they will regulate their body temperature well. Good winter checks include checking for drafts/leaks and sealing any found up, making sure all ventilation is above head height and double checking security of the house as Mr Fox gets very hungry at this time of year. The hens themselves will cuddle up if cold and in the morning you may even notice steam rising off the house as they are so hot in there!