WARNING: the first section of this post is NOT for those who cannot handle the thought of chickens being butchered for meat. We did not become chicken keepers to fill our freezer, but for eggs. However, circumstances have a way of changing one’s plans sometimes. If you want, you can skip down to Happier News.
Okay, so we’ve ran into a sort of speed bump concerning our chickens. We were given 15 Leghorn X Rock pullets that were supposed to start laying this month. They still haven’t. What they have been doing is falling dead without warning.
After chatting with some more experienced chicken keepers and a little online research, we have determined they are having heart attacks. We’ve had three to die unexpectedly. They begin breathing heavily, sit down for a couple hours, then suddenly throw their heads back and fall over dead. We’ve determined this particular cross was bred to be a meat chicken. They are eating machines and the last one to die (yesterday) weighed every bit TEN pounds. Apparently, they are only expected to live 12 weeks at the longest before being butchered, and these are 6 months. We hate to see 12 chickens “go to waste”, so we’ve decided to go ahead and put them in the freezer before they die of a heart attack. The other breeds, which receive the same feed and treatment, have no problems-which further supports the heart attack theory.
Now, on to happier news:
Since we are losing 12 pullets, thus 12 egg layers, we are in the search for finding their replacements. We are keeping 5 roosters, so we need at the very least 30 hens.
The budget is tight so we need to pick up these pullets/hens a little at a time and we want them around the same age as our roosters. We do not want to go any younger because we don’t want to have to accommodate for young chicks and deal with the older cockerels picking on them. Plus, we want eggs ASAP.
The good news is, we found 2 beautiful hens today. We bought them from an elderly gentleman who lives about 30 miles away. They are 5 months old, the same as our original flock, and are already laying.
Thelma Lou is a Buff Rock and Helen is a Cuckoo Maran.
We are so happy they’ve joined our little flock!
My uncle has offered to give us 2 light Brahma hens this week. Those, plus the three brown Leghorns we already have, will give us 7 females. We have a ways to go, but the Lord always has a way of providing!
Thanks for stopping by!