Today is the day our first two hens arrive. It’s a pretty exciting day as they’ll be the first ‘real’ farm animals at Little Red Brick Farm.
We’ve made all the preparations – the coop has been built (ok, ‘assembled’ is probably a more accurate description – we put together a flatpack we bought online), the drinker is filled with water and the feeder with grain. There are even two wooden laying boxes for the girls to use once they come into lay. I almost feel like I should start chopping the herbs for the omelette – but I’ll try not to get too far ahead of myself. No counting your eggs before they’re laid!
Like the cows, finding the chickens has been…entertaining. Being the end of winter, there are plenty of chicks for sale but hardly any older ‘point-of-lay’ hens (‘point-of-lay’ just meaning chickens that are about to start laying eggs for the first time). One poultry breeder patiently explained to me that to be ‘point-of-lay’ now, the chickens would’ve had to have hatched in summer (when the weather was too hot for chicks).
We really do have the worst timing. Try and buy a couple of cows – beef prices are at an all time high and no one wants to sell their animals. Try and buy laying hens – it’s the middle of winter and nobody has anything but eggs and chicks.
After much ringing around, I managed to find a poultry breeder who had one point-of-lay chicken for sale. That was it – one chicken. One lonely little hen.
Talking via text, I sent the breeder a message asking if he didn’t possibly have another chicken, any chicken, he could sell me to keep her company. The message came back: “…I do have one chicken I was keeping for my sister. But if you don’t have any others, I’ll sell her to you.”
Great. So now I was stealing his sister’s chicken?! Surely that broke some sort of unwritten poultry-buying code of ethics? I weakly attempted to talk him out of it, but to be honest, I kinda wanted the chicken (surely it must be a good chicken if he was holding it for his sister??)
Anyway, onto the chickens themselves…
The first hen is a Gold-Laced Wyandotte; a very pretty deep amber bird with lacy black patterning. The second hen? Well, I guess it’ll be a mystery chicken. I have no idea what breed it is – beggars can’t be choosers and all that! But I figure as long it eventually lays an egg, and the breeder’s sister doesn’t turn up demanding it back, that’s probably all that matters.