We started with 45 layers. (These are chickens who lay eggs! We call them "layers.") We just added 38 new ones to the batch. These gals aren't laying yet, but they should start anytime now. We get about 35 eggs a day right now, and we are imagining we will come close to doubling that soon. We keep track of how old our layers are by what breed they are. The first 45 were certain "kinds" and the second 38 were different "kinds."
Here is a video of how we raise our layers:
Each evening, right at dusk, the hens climb into their egg mobile and we shut the door, and they are safe for the night. Each morning around 7:30am we let them out. But during the day, they are at risk of predators.
While our entire guinea population was decimated, and three ducks were taken down by what we surmise was an air predator (i.e. red tail hawk) we have yet to lose a single layer. We have lost sheep. We lost two pigs. But these layers have been faithful.
And then yesterday Grampa watched a hawk nearly get a chicken. He ran and scared it away. At dinner that night we determined we had to move them to a new place. But the question was: had we already lost some? There is no way to count them unless they are coming out of their little door in the morning.
So this morning at 8am, everyone came together to help move the Egg Mobile. And then, moment of truth, we opened the door and all of us did a count.
79-80-81-82 .... 83!!!!
We haven't lost a layer.
It is a small victory, but it is a victory nonetheless. Hawks will take awhile to find their new area, and hopefully we will continue to stay ahead of the game with our chickens!
Take that you stinky predators! Bauernhof beat you on that one!