This weekend, however I became the proud owner of a small flock of brown hybrid layers. I had considered long and hard before making the decision to buy in pol hens, as for the past few years I have maintained a closed flock. Not only were they to be brought in but they were also vaccinated, but with my list of regular customers for fresh eggs growing and my own birds going off lay during their moult it made commerical / financial sense.
Before ordering the birds, I researched into different breeders, bought a lovely new shed and fenced an area of the paddock, away from my established flock.
On Saturday they arrived bright eyed, healthy, alert and in super feather condition. They had been litter reared but will now free range. On arrival we left them in the shed with food and water. After a couple of hours we opened the pop hole and one by one over the afternoon they ventured out but stayed close to the shelter / safety of the hedge. At first they were reluctant to step onto the grass, it wasn't long however before they started to peck at it and decided it was good to eat. They were nervous of anything flying overhead and on each occassion darted back to the safety of their house. At dusk natural instinct kicked in and many of the birds flew into the trees to roost, as impressed as I am on how strong natural instinct is, getting birds down from trees in the dark and wet is losing it's appeal. However by the end of the week they will, hopefully see the shed as their home and roost there at night instead and possibly within the next few weeks start to lay.
I do have a few of these birds for sale - see my 'Sale' page for further details