Autumn has come early this year. There is a nip in the air, the leaves are beginning to turn, hedgerow fruits are ripening and dawn breaks with a low mist and pink sky.
The poultry are winding down for a well deserved rest. Many of the older birds are already in moult and egg production has slowed a little. Although egg numbers remain the same, as this years pullets have started to come into lay.
I still have a pen of 9 -10 week old Welsummer chicks and a pen of 7-8 week old Exchequer Leghorn chicks. The mother hens will be removed tomorrow to join the small flock I keep as broody hens. This year they have done me proud, rearing many clutches between them. One Indian Game is still broody but it is too late in the year to rear any more chicks. So for now she sits on a bale of straw in the feed shed on imaginary eggs.
This years cockerels are growing fast, a couple have been sold, the rest are slowly being placed in the freezer.
It has been a good year, with fertility high and many healthy strong chicks hatching. Admittedly the first few hatches were mainly cockerels but subsequent hatches balanced it out.
We have avoided red mite and all illnesses. I'd like to think through careful management and not over stocking but I think luck also plays a part.
It is now time for houses to be treated to help withstand the winter weather and for fences to be repaired or replaced. Also for plans to be put into action for next years breeding season.