Late last fall we received a phone call from the Peri-Urban Farm Project looking for a winter home for their laying hens. We happily said yes, and a few evenings later a couple of the Peri-Urban Farm staff showed up at our gate with a cage of ISA hybrid hens. They quickly proved themselves to be proficient layers, but their production breeding did not really prepare them for the reality of living with amorous roosters. Roosters latch on to their chosen hen by grabbing with their spurs and gripping the back of the hen’s heads with their beaks. This leads to rather large de-feathered patches on the hen’s back and head.
When the Peri-Urban folks called a few weeks ago to inquire about coming back to get their hens, we were pleased to know that they were going back to their original farm (and to a very nice coop), but we had to explain about the rather scruffy look that they have developed as a result of the constant male attention.
I was relieved to hear that the hens are settling in to rooster-less life and already laying well.
The Peri-Urban Farm Project is a 3 acre farm operating on future development land. Partners Backyard Bounty, the Salvation Army, Biltmore Homes and FutureWatch, along with University of Guelph students and staff are endeavoring to produce good clean food and keep this piece of land productive while waiting for development to happen. Check in on their blog and see what they are up to.