In the fall I get my laying hens from a farm that raises 13,000 chicks for 20 weeks or so, to pullet stage. My four or dozen hens each year, as you may realize, are a drop in the bucket to them, but they treat me like I am their best customer. Usually I take a nice ride to Myersdale in October, get to see the fall leaves still changing a bit south of us, and get my few new hens.
I made my call a few days ago to arrange a time to stop and - what? They were sold OUT!
You have to understand that just last year, there were thousands still unsold, and it took till before Christmas to unload them all. They even muttered about giving up the business for a minute. Today they have nine roosters left. Good luck with them giving eggs!
So what changed? Its all about the salmonella scare. Farms can't keep up with their egg sales and are increasing their flocks. Oh My Goodness! People are willing to pay more for safe eggs. Hurray!I told the woman I talked to that I was happy for them, and I think at first she thought I was kidding, but as we talked, she realized I meant it. We talked about slow sales the last couple of years, and that this year they are trying to get hens from another flock to fill their orders, but can only get a few hundred more. She took my name, even for a few measly hens, and said if they get some hens from Virginia in November to fill their wait list, and a few aren't taken, I might get them. No promises.
Well, my girls are still laying, but I expect them to slow down fast. My refrigerator is not as stocked anymore, but that's okay. We will appreciate what we get till spring arrives and the eggs pick up again.
And then this story in the New York Times today:
New Way to Help Chickens Cross to Other Side By WILLIAM NEUMAN
“People don’t want to know too much,” said Marc Cooper, a senior scientific manager in the farm animals department of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, in London. “It’s hard to sell humane killing as a concept.”
I think that's the story in a nutshell. Read it and see what you think.