Time and Temp

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Blooming-May

• African daisies
• California Poppy
• Calendula
• Calla Lily
• Narcissus
• Lavander
• Ivy geranium
• Mexican Sage
• Pride of Madera
• Lantana
• Society garlic
• Wild geranium

Harvesting-May

• Baby arugula
• Onion and garlic greens
• Thyme
• Rhubarb
• Parsley
• Strawberries

           

Caring for Old Hens

Hens have had lots of visitors this summer. Granddaughter Brooke loved Daisy!

I’ve neglected my hen blog the last few months. The three remaining hens from my original flock of six are getting older now and getting into much less trouble. I have less to report to their fans. Seems like unless a hen is sick or injured or unless there is some “coop” event, most visitors to this blog are content to just watch the hens and read my message board.

We’ve had a pleasant and somewhat busy summer in our back garden. We trust our Australian labradoodles (who are now over two years old) with the hens, and are able to let them all out together to wander the half-acre terrain that we call our backyard. Daisy, Poppy, and Sweetpea give the dogs a warning glance and a sharp “trill” if they come too close and the “doodles” find them less interesting or perhaps they consider them too much trouble to turn into a snack.

The hens were great layers in the late winter and early spring but are now slowing down to about 2-3 eggs a week. The shells of their eggs are thin and break easily in the nest boxes. This is not good and I have tried giving them oyster shells and their own eggshells but nothing seems to work. Perhaps thin shells are a sign of old age.

I’ve heard of hens living to be 6-8 years old but their laying career should be about 4-5. This means at 3 ½ our dear hens may be at the beginning of the end. I really need to consider getting a couple of pullets to keep my egg production going but we are enjoying the peace and congeniality of these three hens. They seem to like each other and like us too. So for now, the “good old girls” will have the coop to themselves.

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11 comments to Caring for Old Hens

  • Your girls are so lucky to have you. I love that the dogs and chickens can now roam together too. Thank you for the lovely update.

  • jen

    I have several “elderly” hens and just adore them! I think 3 of them are 4 years old. Every now and then I will find an almost square-edged and and know that it must be from one of them. I keep them to impart their wisdom on my 15 baby hens. Nice to know I don’t have the only nursing home for hens!

  • Maryann

    OMGosh, I just read your message board about a dog attack on Sweet Pea. I am so sorry for everyone’s distress. I am hoping and praying that she will be alright!
    Please let us know…..

  • Gail Rogers

    I’m so sorry about SweetPea! I hope she’ll recover quickly. She must be so traumatized! Winged hugs coming your way. What have the neighbors done to help?

  • Gail Rogers

    Did you call the authorities?

  • Lee

    Yes, we did file a complaint with the Animal Control. They came out and were going to follow through with the owner. They are responsible for damages but since we are treating her ourselves, there aren’t any expenses. There is a leash law here. No dog should be running loose!

  • CG

    Will SweetPea be ok? I would sue those owners for all their worth!! It makes me so mad to hear this, that dog should be locked up!, as should the owners!! Lots of prayers for SweetPea, I hope she makes it! Please keep us updated..

  • Lee

    Sweetpea is doing really well. She has two large wounds that seem to be growing together. Probably should have had stitches. She’s beginning to move her wing when we take off the wrap. It seems to hang lower but that may not be a problem. She needs her wings for balance and to get up into the nest boxes and onto her roost so I hope it will be of use to her.
    We called animal control. They told the owner that she was responsible for any expenses we incur but my guess is we would never collect anything. They made her get a license but other than than, they just keep it on record for future report. Don’t think this will do much but I will certainly be on the alert. These old gals are part of our family.

  • Gail Rogers

    I hope you reenforced your chicken enclosure! I’ve heard that once a pit bull tastes blood – they will return. I’d be verrrry worried about your breeding dogs and any puppies…also small children! I’d invest in a shotgun!

  • Tori

    Yay! Great news about Sweatpea! :-)

  • CG

    Yayyeee the prayers worked!! So glad SweetPea is doing great, bet she cant wait to get the bandages off either, good job with the TLC!

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