We'll keep five of the layers for ourselves and have found willing pet chicken homes for the rest. They will live out a free-range retirement with our horse vet, a local biker, and Mike's former home help nurse (we owe her a lot more than a few chickens, believe me.)
The brown hens show chicken behaviours after only a few hours, preening, scratching and sunning themselves; they're robust and adaptable. And they still have a couple years' worth of eggs to lay. Homes are easy to come by when we hear of farms exchanging their stock for fresh, commercially-viable birds.
The meat chicks came from our friend the KFC supplier. He dropped them off for us at our local gun shop / clay shooting ground. Where else can you get ammo and livestock all in the same place?
The meat chicks are physically stout, but emotionally and constitutionally feeble. They need coddling and delicate handling. They're the Laura Fairlies of the poultry world (apologies - I just finished listening to The Woman in White)
Yet, while I stood watching them, one or two have laid out in the sun, pecked the grass and half-heartedly scratched up some soil. Perhaps I'm too disparaging.
We're pushed for space, chicken-wise. I was going to use the sheep trailer as a mobile chicken house until I realised that the vent at the top was more than wide enough to let a fox in. The quail have downsized for a few days into a small pen, and the meat chickens have their ample aviary.
And we'll have chicken in the freezer again!