Four new young hens in the coop

Since we started eating LCHF, we’ve eaten enormous amounts of cheese (full fat), cottage cheese, cream cheese, cream, butter, olive oil, coconut oil and eggs.

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Some of all the eggs we eat come from our trusty 4 white Italians, which my daughter saved from getting destroyed (the farmers actually just throw the living animals into a meat grinder) after they had done their duty as battery hens.

Those four ladies have laid 4 eggs a day since spring, but we expect them to take a brake sometime soon when it’s getting colder and darker outside.

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We’ve discussed whether or not to give the hens and chicken artificial light during winter, but decided not to. The hens channel a lot of the nutrition they get during a day into those eggs, and even so we give them extra grain and sunflower seeds, we find that they are very thin and probably could use a rest.

When the egg season starts again in spring we could use more eggs though, because right now we eat about 3 or 4 times as many eggs as we get from our animals, and so we went out and asked people if they had some hens we could buy from them, and at the organic farm where we get lamb and beef we were lucky and they were willing to sell us some of their Danish country hens.

WP_20141023_09_48_03_Pro Except for the shirt this is just like finding Waldo

Danish country hens are the only breed that originated from Denmark, and they stem from the first hens that came to Denmark more than 2,500 years ago in the migration time. This is one of the only pure country breeds in Europe.

The hens are lively and require a lot of space. They are good egg layers and the eggs are white and weigh 55-60 g. The animals are resistant to diseases and the hens are good at looking after their chicken. The hens are found in different colors and in a normal size as well as in a dwarf size.

 

Having not a lot of experience with chicken and hens we were a little nervous about how to introduce the 4 new hens to the others, but it just went so well.

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We picked them up in the early afternoon yesterday and brought them home in a box with some straw in the trunk of the car, and we left them there until it was time to put them together with the white Italians, the 1 Sussex chicken (which we now believe is a rooster) and the faverolles chicken which all are roosters as well.

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We decided that it was best to wait until all the others had entered the coop and had gone to sleep, so we sneaked in there all four of us with the box and set the four country hens free one by one.

The white Italians were already sitting on their perches and the young roosters on nest boxes, and there were more free perches and also nest boxes, but the country hens just took a quick look around in the dark before some of them decided to sleep with the other hens and some wanted to sleep with the roosters. They just jumped up and declared that this was where they belonged, and after only the slightest amount of turmoil they all went to sleep.

This morning I was the lucky one to let the hens out again. They still were the best of friends all of them, and when I opened the ledge, the hen I think is the oldest of the new four went out with the other hens and the roosters as if she had done that all her life.

The other three hens where not quite as brave, but I helped them find their way.

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Normally our hens and chicken run where they want to, but to make sure the new ones would stay where they belong, I had closed the chicken run and spread lots of small snacks for all of them all over the place, so they had a kind of treasure hunt.

During the day I went out there several times to see if all was well, and now I really appreciate how well the new hens fit into the Danish landscape, especially in autumn. Compared to the white Italians and the faverolles the Danish country hen is almost invisible, which means the fox will have a hard time to find it.

Dansk landrace høns  Not my picture

I’m glad it wasn’t me who had to let the birds into the coop again tonight, because one of the new hens had opted for a branch 15 meters up in a tree, and my son in law had to climb up there to get her down.

We still have room for many more hens in the coop, and who knows, maybe we are going to get our own baby chicken in spring.

 

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