A New Game

While I miss having Steve around and am looking forward to the day when his back is better, I have enjoyed working with Ryan these past few days. He is a good boss and a generally fun person.

Today was chicken slaughter day. One of today’s tasks was catching some of the moulting layers to be slaughtered as stewing hens. Catching broiler chickens is annoying, but not unmanageable as they live inside the broiler houses. Catching layers is a whole different story.

Our layers are truly free range. They have a coop and most come back to roost there every evening, but they have the full run of the farm. They run between pastures and under gates. They hang out in the woods by the compost pile and even down at the market from time to time. Which makes catching them…complicated.

I went up to get eggs around 11:00 and Ryan came along to catch our stewing hens. He actually did pretty well, better than I could have managed. But after he caught a few the chickens started to catch on and began dispersing away from the house. That’s when I came up with a mildly brilliant plan.

Chickens love eggs. Weird, I know, but they do. If you crack an egg in a flock of hens they go crazy trying to get at it. As I gathered eggs, I gave Ryan any cracked ones I came across. He’d identify a moulting hen and toss the egg towards it. As soon as the chicken attacked the egg, Ryan attacked the hen! Success! I’m sorry I don’t have a video of this. I was too busy looking for cracked eggs for him to throw.

While it was fun and incredibly entertaining, I think next time we need stewing hens, we’ll just grab them late Wednesday night while they are roosting.

3 thoughts on “A New Game

  1. Pingback: A New GameWyebrook Farm

  2. I would like to see a video of that. Silly chickens. 🙂

    This reminded me… I watched the video you posted of Joel Salatin awhile back and when he opened the door of the mobile hen house and they began streaming down the plank, I wondered how he got them all back in when it was time to move them. Do they all go back in at the same time out of instinct (to lay or rest)? or training/habit? Or does he have to round them all up? And even if they all go in on their own, it seems someone would have to be around to close the door or else they might start wandering out again. Do you know?

    • They all go in at night to roost. We don’t normally close ours up at night, but sometimes we have to (if they are making a big move where the chickens might not be able to keep up with the house). You just go out after dark (or very early in the morning) and close all the doors.

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