The time of year we have been waiting for has arrived – the hens are laying more and more eggs. Now I just find myself longing for drier days. It has been so wet and the forecast calls for weeks of more wet weather. The hens don’t seem to dislike it as much as I do. I think they have had enough rain to finally start sleeping in their coop instead of out under the stars, in a tree or on a railing.
I honestly don’t know exactly how many hens we have but it is somewhere around 18-20. I stopped keeping the exact total last year sometime when our neighbor’s dog started killing our chickens and being set free more and more to terrorizing the whole neighborhood. This issue is finally resolved though it came about due to the death of our neighbor, which is sad, but at the same time the whole neighborhood seems more peaceful as a result.
We currently have 2 roosters and I really should get rid of one but it is tough choosing who stays, esp. after so much loss this year (chickens, family, etc.). Online articles can tell you that you may only need 8 hens to 1 rooster. But in reality you may need alot more to prevent injury due to over mating. And even if you do have 20 to 1 a rooster may still pick a favorite. Last year our favorite blue layer was the chosen favorite. All year she had to wear a chicken saddle due to severe feather loss. She is all better now and that rooster is no longer tormenting her 😉
So why do we keep a rooster around at all? Well, roosters can help keep hens safe and out of trouble. Some even protect the hens from predators (others run, lol). Although, roosters aren’t needed in order to have eggs, they are mandatory if you are to raise your own chickens. So those are just some reasons why we keep 1-2 around.
In the end this means – we end up with alot more eggs at times than we really need!! With spring just around the corner it will become even harder to keep walking past the baby chicks at the feed store or to pull the broody hen off her nest or to tell a loved one that we have enough hens. But with that said, a hen only lays well for 2-3 years so every year we do get more chickens. We get more than we need as you never know who will lay or who will be a rooster, who will make it or who might not.
Recently, I have lost much of my anger and resentment over the dog killing so many hens (and being a terror in other ways). We lost some really good ones; some breeds we may never be able to get locally. But in other many ways I am relieved. I am glad I didn’t have to choose which hen stays and who goes. I had enough of that when we ended up with half a dozen roosters. I am thankful for the ones we do have…. even if that means I am left with another problem – what to do with all the eggs?!?
Nothing left after making quiches, custards, breads, etc. except to sell them!