22. October 2012 · 1 comment · Categories: Farm, Food · Tags: ,

I have a confession to make.  Do you see this delicious looking casserole in my crockpot?

Looks good doesn’t it?  It tasted good too.  Can you guess my confession?

Yes.  This casserole is the final resting place of our three White Leghorn hens.  A friend helped us to kill and prepare them last week, and then joined us on Friday night for a chicken dinner.

The decision to cull our hens was a long time coming.  But the reasons were piling up:

  • The Leghorns are not really hardy enough for our climate.  Sure they will get by, and you can hang a lightbulb in the coop over winter if you want them to keep laying.  But we have always intended to replace them with a flock of another breed, probably one of the “old Swedish” breeds that were bred to cope with the cold.
  • Their house was leaking.  I attempted to fix the roof in the summer, which improved it slightly in that it was no longer rotting apart, but it remained leaky.  There was a constant damp patch in the laying box.  I could not let them live through the winter in those conditions – at best they’d be miserable, at worst they’d be sick or dead.
  • I don’t really like the fact that Leghorns are bred purely to be a laying bird, to lay an egg every single day for 2 years and then be totally worn out.  It seems icky.
  • Building on the last point, our hens would have turned 2 early next spring so their laying would most likely have slowed considerably.

We have plans for a new, bigger house in part of our wood shed, but we need to remove some of the firewood first (wintertime should help with that).  Then in the spring we will start looking for a new flock.  Here are the top contenders in terms of breeds.  Aren’t they pretty?

Skånsk Blommehöns

Bohuslän – Dals Svarthöna



Today’s harvest: eggs, broad beans, and french beans.