I raised the subject of the 5 dinner girls. Time was getting on, and it won't be long before we need to have their paddock empty so it can rest and be re-seeded before the 2015 hatch go in there.
We talked about options. The mother of 2 of the 5 girls is unrelated to Henry - and a different breed - so potentially we could keep them for breeding. The mothers of the other 3 are related to Henry, so we don't want to breed from them.
We could dispatch all 5, which is - after all - what they were bred for.
We could dispatch the 3 and keep the 2.
We could rehome them
Keeping 2 was an attractive option. We had planned to breed and keep some girls from her this year. The mother is getting on a bit, so we need to carry the line on while we can. We don't even know if she'll lay this year.
However, introducing 2 hens to a flock of 10 isn't a particularly kind thing to do.
Rehomoming them was definitely possible.... except we know that the 3 of them (a) are likely to be very broody (their mothers are), and (b) shouldn't really be bred from. (a) is a nuisance for hobby keepers with small flocks, and both (a) and (b) are a problem for more serious keepers.
DH talked it over with OC (other chap), and in the end they decided to keep all 5. We have a few hens who are getting on a bit and are likely to stop laying soon, and we have the space to accomodate them all. We'd ring the 3, so we can easily identify them, and we can then make sure that we don't breed from them moving forward.
So, today we put rings on them. We'll give them today and tomorrow to get used to their rings, and then on Tuesday, we'll open up their paddock so that all the hens can mingle freely. . They will still have access to their coop (although, of course, the older girls will have access to it as well).
There is plenty of space, there are places for cover. Having Henry should, in theory, mean that the older girls are kept in line.
There is 1 older girl who has a marked card already, so we will keep an eye on her. If she is unnecessarily aggresive, we'll remove her.
Let's see how it goes.