Pullets are young hens which have just begun to lay eggs. The Center had ordered 10 Hybrid Pullets which are a cross between White Leggins and Rhode Island Reds. White Leggins are probably the most prolific egg-laying chickens but are high strung and nervous. Rhode Island Reds are good layers – although not as good as White Leggins – but are more even-tempered birds. The young hens are rust color with some white feathers, and the same hybrid breed as the newly-hatched chicks that the Center purchased 3 weeks ago.
The Center’s Chicken Project has been a wonderful example of the Centers “Together Action.” John Violette of Fairhaven, MA, somewhat reluctantly, drove 50 miles in mostly bumper to bumper holiday weekend traffic with 10 chickens and a 25# bag of chicken feed in the back seat of his car to deliver the hens to the Center. Our Abbot, George Hazelbauer. had built what has to be a state-of-the-art chicken coop, dubbed “The Chicken Palace”. The Chicken Palace is three stories high, with a ramp leading from the second story to the top floor. All three floors have a dome-shaped door with the top door opening to a perch with a panoramic view of the surrounding orchard. The Palace will be painted Chinese Red with gold-colored doors and gold paint on the underside of the roof. Darlene Demers, our Artist in Residence, is in charge of the painting project and the dragon graphic she will design for the back. Our Kitchen Master, Chong Yew, will paint “Chicken House” in Chinese Calligraphy in black paint on the front. Our Abbot added sturdy locks to protect the hens from night-time predators and a five-foot high wire fence surrounding the Chicken Palace to allow the hens a safe area in which to forage.
Theresa Murphy, newly arrived resident from Nebraska, will sharpen the scythe that will be used to cut hay for the chicken’s bedding. Theresa, along with Darlene and Kimball Amram will feed the hens, monitor their safety and collect the eggs. David Baristis, our Garden Master, will be planting corn to feed the hens in the winter. Garden clippings and weeds from the Zen Garden will be fed to the hens to vary their diet and help reduce the cost of chicken feed. Photos of the completed Chicken Project to follow later. Stop by and visit our “girls” in their new Digs.
-Diana Starr Daniels, PZC Resident