Twenty six hens and one egg collected. Today, maybe three. Twenty six hens and we’ve had to resort to the basest of behaviors for keepers of chickens – buying eggs from the store. Twenty six hens eat day in and day out, ringing up a mounting bill of grain costs but offering nothing in return. We’ve turned on the supplemental light to meet their diurnal clock needs. We’ve allowed for the annual molt which turns their attention single-mindedly to transforming protein into feathers, not eggs. Twenty six hens and nothing to show for it.
It’s time for some flock management. Enough is enough. Tonight we add young pullets to the mix, hens too immature to bother with molting (their feathers still fresh and new) and a newly-emerging urge to lay. eggs. every. day. It shall be Phase 1 of Responsible Flock Management or Phase 1 of We-Must-Never-Buy-Eggs-Again. Phase 2 involves a rocking chair by the fire, with a hatchery catalog on my lap, dog-eared and bearing notations for a spring chick order.
The yin to this yang, of course, means a wealth of stew hens migrating to a freezer near here. There shall be stock bubbling on the kitchen wood stove, coq au vin, perhaps? What does one do with a wealth of stew hens, besides the aforementioned and sharing them with friends and neighbors? (wink, wink) Do share your favorite old-poultry recipes!