For some reason I never blogged it but back in April I'd gotten 5 new chicks to add to my flock of aging hens. I've only been getting 3-4 eggs a day so thought it was time to add in some new ones. In the past three months I've also lost some from the old flock, Boots the rooster was killed by some critter or maybe Chip (the original rooster) back in March. Then in July, the friendliest hen of the bunch, Waffle, died suddenly. In mid-August another hen died. All the others have been fairly healthy as far as I can tell. I sure hate to see them die.
Today, I decided to go ahead and let the new chicks mingle in with the older flock and so far it's been smooth sailing. I expect a bit of conflict but at 5 months the new girls are every bit as big as the older hens and should be able to take care of themselves. They'll figure out their new pecking order before too long.
Oh, they are Columbian Wyandotte, a very pretty breed, mostly white feathers but with a bit of black around the neck and tail that date back to 1893. Here's a shot from May with my niece Emma holding one in my cabin. I'd raised the Guineas back in the summer of 2009 but this is my first batch of chickens to raise. All the others had been raised by Kerry, Greg and the kids.
Based on my experience thus far it looks like I'll be adding 3-5 new hens each year to replace hens that have stopped laying and/or hens that have died. I think though that I'm pretty happy with this sized flock, which is 15 chickens and 2 guineas. Seems about perfect.