Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Should I get more chicks?

Oh, I'm really on the fence and can't decide.  I really miss my fresh eggs.

We are not eating the eggs from the four hens because they have been treated w/ Baytril.  The FDA pulled Bayer's approval for use in poultry in 2005, 7 years after granting approval, when they started to see a trend with people getting a bacteria resistant to Cipro.  I'm not a big risk taker when it comes to my food so I've decided not to eat their eggs.  It's just not worth the risk.

But that said, there's nothing wrong with adding to the flock and eating the eggs from the new hens.  And if I got hens who laid green, blue, white or dark brown eggs, it would be super easy to tell them apart from my brown egg layers.

Honey has been broody for two and a half weeks.  Saturday would be 21 days.  And I've read that you can buy day old chicks and give them to a broody after 21 days and that she'll almost always take them and raise them as hers.  So I'm really tempted.

My hesitation is around Ginger.  Ginger is a traumatized little hen.  She hates change and I had a devil of a time integrating Honey, Sugar and Spice with her earlier this year.  Coco is much more mellow.  She'll deliver one good peck to show she's boss and that's that.

But I can see Ginger going after babies.  And I'm not sure that Honey would stand up to Ginger and defend them.  But who knows.  Maybe that mama hen instinct would kick in hard if she had babies to defend.  I suppose I could put up a barricade and keep them separate for a period of time.  But I'm still going to have to deal with integration at some point.

I'd love to give Ginger a Valium laced treat every morning to ease her anxiety.  I feel awful for her.  Alternatively, if I can get Honey to give Ginger one good peck to put her in her place, that would do the trick too.

Oh, what to do?

I have till Saturday to think through this.  At which point I need to either go for it or just forget about fresh eggs and enjoy my four pet hens.


  1. So you can NEVER eat their eggs again? I don't know anything about Baytril.

  2. What a dilemma! I feel for you. I think hens that don't lay are much easier to accept than eggs you can't eat. Its so sad to have to waste them and I know how difficult it was integrating newbies last time.
    I feel after my early difficulties, I have been lucky to have such a happy outcome. I think you were right, everything happens for a reason.
    I know you will make the right decision.

  3. @Joan: Yes, Bayer has said to never eat the eggs again. After extensive research, I did find people who eat their eggs. Some say to just cook them all the way through. But I'm just not a big risk taker so I've decided not to eat them.

  4. @Carol: Thank you for your support. I think I'll probably waffle on my decision all the way up till Saturday morning when I see if Honey is still broody and what chicks the feed store currently has. I'm really leaning towards doing it. I was SOOOOO afraid of losing a hen when I started this. But after losing Sugar, I've come to accept that as part of this process. What's the worst that can happen? Ginger could peck them to death. I'll do what I can to prevent that. But it wouldn't be the end of the world.

  5. I vote for getting some chicks. It's worth a try.

  6. Thanks Patty. I'm seriously leaning towards doing it. But I will need to come up with some sort of barricade to keep Ginger away. She's just a pill. A pinless peeper would do the job but they just seem so cruel to me. I can't bring myself to do it to her.

  7. My money is on you having chicks by the weekend! I know you will overcome any problems and you never know, it may the making of Honey. The mothering instinct is a powerful thing.