Lee doesn't know it yet, but it's time for more chickens.
My hens (pictured below when they were chicks), are now five years old. The last two years, egg laying has tapered off significantly.
If I were a real farmer, my hens would have been a part of chicken and dumplings, long before now. The trouble with that is, they have names. They're pets with benefits---they lay eggs.
The real road block with getting new chickens, is the old chickens.
A couple summers ago, I 'chicken-sat' for a friend of a friend.
I knew better than to just plunk the temporary hens in with mine. They'd get killed--literally. Chickens are not good at accepting new neighbors.
I did what all chicken owners and chicken books said to do. I set up a temporary area where the two sets of chickens could see each other, and live along side one another (see pic below), all while keeping them apart.
The notion is, that they'll get used to each other and eventually the old flock will think of the new chickens as part of their flock. It has worked with everyone I've ever known who has chickens.
Mine must not have gotten the memo.
When I finally released the visiting chickens (a month) in with my flock, it did not go well.
The next day--same thing. Day after day, the visiting chickens were getting chased, pecked and generally terrified. Even my rooster was in on it, and I thought he would have appreciated a couple new girls to the group.
For the safety of chickens that didn't even belong to me, I separated them for the rest of the summer.
I really want some more laying chickens. I'm perfectly happy with the ones I have, but I miss farm-fresh eggs. The grocery store eggs are good for baking, but not eating over-easy. I refuse to buy the $3, organic, cage-free eggs from the store. I won't even go into the reality of that situation.
If you own and have successfully integrated your flocks, please tell me what you did that was different than what I've done.
Time's a wastin'.
I need to get some chicks soon if I have any hope of having eggs this summer.