The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Boy crazy hens

Hen with broilers

We usually either hatch our own layers or buy unsexed chicks, but this year we decided to take the easy way out. We ordered fifteen pullets and one cockerel as chicks, figuring we'd replace our laying flock without having to kill all the excess males.

Unfortunately, predators picked off two of our chicks during their first month of life. And one of those chicks was the rooster-to-be.

Most of our roosterless pullets have settled into their hen-party life just fine. But two were boy crazy. They kept flying fences to hang out with the broiler boys in the other set of pastures, so we eventually just let them move right in.

Slowly but surely we've been picking off their paramours, though. And, on the final day, the boy-crazy hens got so confused they flew out of the pasture they'd begged to be in so they could chat with the cockerels in the holding pen, waiting for freezer camp.

What will our boy-crazy hens do now that there are no roosters left on the farm? Only time will tell. I'm hoping they'll move back in with their sisters. If not, it'll be time for a tractor time out.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I've been raising chickens for thirty years now, and it still amazes me how different flocks have different characteristics and quirks. The group of Rhode Island Red hens I got a year ago have been awful: slow to learn and refusing to forage in the large turn-out pen.Instead, they stand in a group all day and screech at me to throw them something, which never quite meets their fancy.(Although they seem to have a fondness for their own eggs-bleh) I've warned my grandkids not to gather any eggs when one is sitting on a nest because not only do they peck, they latch on and draw blood. Thank heaven the White Rocks I got to replace them seem far more sensible.
Comment by Julie Whitmore Fri Oct 28 06:27:22 2016
Are these girls actually laying? I've read that roosters only mate with laying hens, and from my limited experience it seems this is true. My cockerels have often tried to mate with the hen that raised them, but haven't bothered the pullets at all. Nor the other mature hen, but probably that's because she was so aggressive and intimidating. (She's since been lost to a predator, unfortunately, since she was my best remaining layer.)
Comment by Jennifer Quinn Sun Oct 30 15:27:23 2016
Anna - I think the "bad" girls went rogue and ordered one of your latest paranormal romance hits off of Amazon last week!
Comment by Jayne Mon Oct 31 08:11:45 2016

Jennifer Quinn --- At least one of the two is laying --- they were giving us an egg per day until we moved them in with the rest of the layers and lost count. I suspect they were both laying but at a lower rate because they didn't have a light in their coop.

Jayne --- Ha! You made me laugh. :-)

Comment by anna Mon Oct 31 09:20:27 2016

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