I bear in mind the day I walked into my native feed retailer to select up Taylor, my Delaware chick. The woman at the store requested if I wished to select my chick, and I eagerly accepted. About 10 Delaware chicks had been consuming, consuming and napping, aside from one. She was standing there gazing up at me, trying into my eyes. I seemed down at her and immediately knew she was the one I wished.
9 years have handed since that day, and every single day once I exit to see my chickens, Taylor is there on the lookout for me, identical to she did the day we met. She hasn’t laid an egg in years and strikes a little bit slower, however she remains to be as pleased to see me as when she was youthful.
Whereas many individuals imagine when a hen stops laying, there isn’t a extra use for her. They don’t know, nonetheless, that older hens may be of nice worth to the yard flock proprietor. From instructing youthful layers the ropes to brooding chicks and searching for hazard, our golden hens provide us as a lot pleasure right now as they did of their youthful years.
With the bonus of being the right companion for the flock proprietor, aged hens are really a pleasure to personal. So earlier than you butcher or rehome your getting old hens, take a second to contemplate a few of the perks of proudly owning these pleasant birds.
Do you know that older hens have a greater success fee at brooding and elevating chicks than youthful hens? Whereas nobody is aware of why that is, there are a number of theories for this conduct.
As hens age, so do their hormones. These hormones signify to a hen that her physique is slowing in egg manufacturing, which can be sufficient change to trigger a hen to go broody.
These similar low hormone ranges may also trigger hens to go broody within the fall shortly earlier than a molt.
Older hens would not have the stamina present in pullets and youthful hens, so being content material to set on a nest of eggs isn’t any massive deal. Additionally, if the hen has had prior sitting expertise, she is extra prone to brood chicks efficiently.
The Greatest Trainer
Younger chickens have quite a bit to be taught, and aged hens are distinctive at instructing them the ropes. Even when a hen doesn’t brood the children, she’s going to normally be the one to show the newly launched pullets every little thing they should know.
One important factor teenage chickens be taught from older hens is tips on how to behave round chickens increased within the pecking order and turn into a revered flock member. Older hens typically hang around with new pullets and shield them from different flock members, making certain the children get entry to the feeders and waterers with out being severely bullied.
With Expertise Comes Knowledge
Older hens have a bonus with all their years of expertise. They know tips on how to reply higher to conditions than youthful birds.
Taylor is the primary of my hens to note that it’s getting darkish and it’s time to move into the barn for the night time. If my hens have some supervised free-ranging time, Taylor will spherical them up and begin “herding” them to the barn. She can be the primary to note hawks or a neighbor’s cat. She then alerts the opposite hens to the hazard or, if mandatory, will even stand over the youthful women to guard them.
Growing old hens are glorious at pest control. Having no eggs to put means they spend all day consuming pests and are a better option for gardeners, as they are typically much less vigorous of their scratching. This trait permits them to assist work your soil even after your backyard has been planted and crops are established.
Essential word: Older hens nonetheless love treats and different goodies, so make sure that they don’t eat all of the fruit and veggies in your backyard.
A Lifelong Buddy
Nothing can examine to the bond you share together with your older hen. These women understand that almost all of their life is behind them and are content material to take pleasure in life at a slower tempo. Older hens (like older canine) are likely to show a extra devoted affection than youthful chickens and can gladly spend all day beside you if given the chance.
Whereas youthful hens are very affectionate to their homeowners, nothing can examine to the bond you share with an aged hen. Taylor and I’ve buried flock members and welcomed new chickens into the flock collectively. Truthfully, I can’t think about my life with out her.
I do know Taylor will now not be with me at some point, however I’ll always remember the teachings I’ve realized from her. Till that day comes, I’ll smile each time I hear the sound of Taylor working after me as we do our night chores collectively.
Subsequent time your laying hens decelerate egg laying, think about letting them stay the remainder of their years with you. You may expertise for your self the enjoyment of older hens.