Keeping records

I kept meticulous records of egg production for our first brood … even down to recording which hen laid which egg if I could. I haven’t bothered this time round so far. But I think I will start again … we’re getting up to five Moppet eggs a day now. I know the palest hen (?Amy) has laid a couple of them (hers are the tiniest eggs, even for a bantam!), but I don’t think I’ll go into such detail this time … just the number of eggs and whether they are ex-batt or bantam. And also an account of any soft or broken eggs.

Thin shelled or softies are inevitable with ex-batts. They are bred to lay every day, and have a very short life as egg layers compared to pure bred hens. Ex-batts lay all year round, while pure breds take the winter off. Ex-batts are always hungry, and take longer to re-feather after moulting (or when first rescued) simply because they put so much of their nutrition into their eggs. So naturally, over time the quality of the egg suffers. That’s why they are culled so young … even though they may have some years of egg laying ahead of them. Pure breds may lay as often, but by taking a winter break they maintain their health and the quality of their egg and shell. I suppose each lays around the same number of eggs in a lifetime, but pure breds lay good eggs over a longer period of time, albeit less frequently.

Speaking of nutrition, we’re trying out an expensive feed for a while … we pass Flyte so Fancy from time to time, so called in to pick up some feed. I’ve heard good things about Garvo feeds, but there is no stockist in our immediate area. So we thought we’d give it a try while we had the opportunity. I’ll let you know how we get on …

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  • The Hen House Archive

    Our original hen keeping adventure came to an end in January 2013, when a fox took our entire brood of hens. But don’t let that put you off … you can find the story at The Hen House Archive where there are still lots of stories, photos, and information about keeping hens I hope you'll find useful.

    March 2017 ... All change in the hen garden as the fruit cage run is retired in favour of an electric fence, the veg beds are relocated to put the hens on fresh ground, and the new girls arrive, Dorcas, Delilah and Deanna.

    January 2017 ... Bird flu outbreak and all domestic foul are quarantined until the end of February.

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