In this episode we talk about the extra care required for rescued battery hens and whether they have a place in your backyard flock.
New Hen Apron
Pippa, one of our Barred Rock hens, has been sporting a standard hen saddle for a little while now, but we noticed that her rooster is still managing to leave bald spots in place the saddle doesn’t cover. Suzy managed to find a version of hen saddle that includes some extra coverage material. Suzy calls them wings, but I prefer to call it a cape. Now Pippa looks like some kind of chicken superhero perched on her pole looking for danger.
It did take her a little while to get used to the new saddle, but it seems to be doing the trick.
Five or six weeks ago, we hatched out a batch of Barred Rocks to raise as replacements for our current mating birds. Of the seven, five are pullets and two are cockerels. One of the cockerels… let’s call him Kojak… hatched with very little body fuzz. Unfortunately, as he has been losing what body fuzz he does have, it has not been replaced by feathers. So now he has wing feathers but very few body feathers, which makes him one sad looking cockerel.
I am wondering if I can mate him for a special line of broilers that do not require plucking. I’m thinking of calling it the No-Plucker-Clucker.
Gordo Has Arrived
Last Friday, we picked up our new puppy and named him Gordo. He is a Pyrenees/Anatolian/Plott Hound mix and is adorable as can be. The first thing he did when we introduced him to the other dogs was try to nurse off of Max. Max was not happy about that.
Other than that, he has been doing the normal mischievous things that puppies do and basically keeping Suzy and I on our feet.
My Hen is Eating Eggs!
Erin emailed us to ask what to do about a hen who is eating eggs. The best remedy we have found is to make up some mustard eggs. Take a few eggs and make small holes in each end. Remove the egg content and replace it with yellow mustard. Then place the mustard eggs in the nesting box and let the troublemaker find them. After she has pecked open a few of these and discovered the mustard, she will likely lose interest in them.
Rescuing Battery Hens
Our good listener Yulia sent us an email to ask about acquiring hens from a shelter. Somehow this snowballed into a bigger issue of whether former battery hens have a place in your backyard flock.