March started out more like April this year, with warmer temps and a nice snow melt. We wondered if that was why our flock went through a mild molt. We’ve experienced the fall molt, which is why it’s nice to brood chicks in early May since they pick up the slack in egg production while the older girls regrow their feathers. Having pullets start laying in the fall is why we were debating adding more chicks this year.
Mother Nature stepped in twice to help increase the number of RindyBerry layers. The first was the most interesting . . . a freak snow storm on the 22nd of March that left us with 11.6″ of snow!! YEAH just short of a foot when areas 20 miles north of us got a couple of inches!! You’re probably wondering what this has to do with increasing our flock. Well I need to go back a bit to when we first started with our seven laying hens.
The neighbor also had seven hens about the same age ours and both flocks would periodically range together. Because they had lost some of their old girls (predators and age) they added eight new chicks to their flock last year too. By this spring they were down to just one of the old girls and sure enough once the winter snow had melted there she was each morning waiting at the gate for our little bantam wyandottes to be released. And so it was every morning she came over to hang with her little flock of three “dottes” and at the end of the day went home to her new young flock.
All this changed with the March 22nd snow storm. The morning started out with a light snow fall which didn’t stop “Miss Kimball” from her daily visit. When the snow started to come down heavy she joined our “dottes” under their coop for cover.
As the snow continued on in earnest it became apparent she was here for the night. The neighbor tried to collect her the next day and twice after – she DID NOT want to go and pecked at him! Perhaps she just didn’t want to hang with the “young-uns” over in her old coop any longer and decided to retire next door with the “dottes”.
Mother Nature’s second assist in increasing our flock came by way of a broody hen, which was one of last year’s spring chicks. We set a dozen eggs under her and she hatched out seven, but one didn’t make it. Out of the six remaining we are hopeful that four are hens. It’s too early to tell the sex of the chicks. We’ll just have to wait for the crow!