Momma hen and her babies
Just recently, my husband and I have started accumulating some hens. I'm hoping to soon have enough layers that not only do we have enough eggs for ourselves but also to sell a few dozen to help with the cost of feeding the darlings. I got these hens quite cheap by today's local standards. Most folks are getting between 15 and 30 dollars for laying age hens. I bought 8 actively laying, one broody with 6 chicks and have the offer of more, for 5 bucks a piece (the hen with the chicks I paid slightly more for the whole bunch). Now I have to pay for some chicks my aunt and uncle raised up for us, and for our first batch of meat turkeys (sooo excited to get them). And on Sunday I get to pick up a lovely blue Cochin rooster to have as a breeding male for my girls.
Yesterday however resulted in a bit of a spat between the husband and myself. For the last 2 years when the hens were laying I've picked up layer mash from an Amish neighbor of his grandparents who has a small tidy feed store. The price is a few dollars less than the local Tractor Supply. While I believe the local feed mill gets less, I hesitate to purchase my feed there. The quality is okay but the employees leave much to be desired and I refuse to go alone.
Anyhow, said Amish-man is now also selling laying hens and chicks in addition to feeds, shavings and other various necessities. The hens are all red-sex links, a breed which I detest! There are very few red breed birds that I find worth the trouble. Currently I have one sex link left that I'm hoping to sell on Sunday. I swapped another to the husband's brother for a guinea hen. Sex-links are fantastic layers. Their temperament leaves much to be wanted. Aggressive to both humans and other flock members I have found that while the lovely large brown eggs they lay are desirable I personally would prefer to feed other gentler breeds longer to attain the same level of production as have their sorry feathered butts around.
The husband doesn't generally do the egg gathering or feeding.
He was all excited. Amish friend was selling his for 8 a piece. Cheap for a ready to lay hen around here. I flat out told him NO aint happening in my coop ever again. Not only do we have a bitty baby who I hope to have enjoying the birds right along with me in the future, but I don't need birds badly enough to put up with the cranky tempers of these layers. I'd rather either raise my own pullets or pay more for hens/layers that I will enjoy. Sometimes the economics of the situation isn't the most important...
On that note...anyone have some Ameracaunas or Araucaunas or Standard Cochins laying around extra? :)