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February 29, 2008

Leap Year & Mating Wear on Hens

Spring is happening here in California. It seems to me that our winters are getting shorter and shorter, the flowers on our orchard seem to come sooner than ever each year, its a trick to get the orchard pruned and sprayed with lime/sulfur before the peaches and nectarines burst into bloom.

floweriing orchard

My tomatoes are doing well, the old henhouse/new studio (isn't that always the way that goes?) works well as a potting shed and the seedlings are six inches high now and ready to plant.

tomato seedlings

Today also I got a great's about my top ten reasons ...

What a hoot! Love the commentary. but how lucky that guy was to only have to listen to the neighbor's rooster @ 12 hour intervals. Mine crow when-ever, where-ever and for how-ever long they please! The only thing I don't like about them is how hard they are on my girls back feathers because of mating. The poor things look all disheveled.

Jason & Angel Fruit

Jason and Angel have a great website. Their family farm in Kansas looks like a wonderful place, they raise lots of produce, animals and their happy spirit shows.

If your hens are getting beat up from mating, you may have too many roosters. I recommend 12 hens per rooster, though with the larger breeds eight to one may give better fertility.

Of course, you can eat eggs that are not fertile. Unless you want to raise chicks I don't recommend keeping roosters.

For Jason and Angel, they need fertile eggs for their breeding stock, so they may want to try a fix that one of my other readers suggested.

To reduce the mating wear on a hen's back, buy a roll of brand name duct tape (the cheap stuff does not work as well, you need that expensive adhesive) and make a bandage for her. Assuming there are no serious cuts or breaks in the skin, make a protective patch with that duct tape.

Take three or four six inch strips and stick them right to the bare area. Feathers will grow back in under the tape and it will protect her back from the rooster's feet when he climbs up on her.

Often it will only be one or two hens who have the bare backs, bandaging them is a kindness that makes them happier. The tape will eventually come off after the feathers grow back in.

Happy hens make tastier eggs!