Well, I found out some sad news today. I mentioned that I bought the hens last weekend to a friend at the feed store, and was told that this group of hens was not "18 months" old as I was told... and believed, at the time... but 3 to 5 years old, and was culled from a very large laying flock and given to the person from whom I bought them.
Unfortunately, we lost one of them Thursday, she turned up dead in the rabbit hutch. She was one of the prettiest, too.
I really looked closely at them this afternoon, and realize their faces are much paler than I thought. I knew several looked older, but I liked the looks of them overall. Do I regret getting them? Not necessarily, I got probably 15 extra eggs this week from them, but that's fifteen over the week.
The majority of them are eating in the pasture as well as eating feed, so I have not spent much more on feed as I did before. Is there a quick solution? Yes, I can let the men who milk for my friend Roxanne know that there are some hens available, and they will be happy to take them. (I have not done this yet, I'm not mad at the hens, I'm mad at myself.)
This leaves me with the problem of replacement layers for us. Keith went to Home Depot today to get the rest of the materials to make my brooder box for me. As soon as he gets it together, I am going to contact a guy here in Leavenworth County who is selling a barnyard mix of chicks, and some purebred Black Copper Marans chicks. The Marans breed lays beautiful dark brown eggs, and these would be nice to have.
One of the hens I particularly like.
So today, Keith and I were standing at the fence, watching the birds run back and forth between the big henyard and the llama pen. As we watched... these guys... the turkeys, who had come out into the pasture for the first time... ALL DISPLAYED.
In other words, there are three toms! The tails and feathers were completely worn off the two brown turkeys. No beards on any of them. The poor brown birds literally have no tails, just a few feather ends sticking out. This is the first time we have seen them display.
Same seller. Same stupid buyer.
I should have known, but we have not had turkeys here in almost four years.
Now, I wouldn't feel so bad, but I went out of my way last weekend to buy feed for this person, and to go and buy bread at the breadstore so the person could feed their own birds.
So, what have a I learned? Never to buy from this person again, for one.
As Keith said, you got these birds out of a bad situation, and you should feel good about that.
The hens are so many different colors, and they truly bring beauty to the pasture.
I have gotten some huge eggs from them this week, so all is not lost.
Soon there will be the cheeping of little chicks in the henhouse for another year.
Maybe I'll try some Marans eggs in the incubator!