The Dharma Chicks have begun to lay. PZC recently purchased 10 hybrid pullets. Pullets are young hens ready to begin laying. Our pullets are a cross between Rhode Island Reds and the high-strung White Leggins; both breeds are excellent layers. We had found one egg yesterday and another this morning. This has generated a great deal of excitement at the Center. Each find has been followed by “Whoop! Whoop! Whoop!” by delighted Sangha members.
What determines the size of the egg is the chicken’s age. The older the hen, the larger the eggs. Pullet eggs are small but will increase in size as the chickens get older. The chicks that were purchased two months ago, also of the same hybrid breed, are doing well. They have been integrated into the flock and the chicks and their big sisters peacefully share the same coop.
Our Garden Master, David Barstis, has been collecting grubs from the Zen Garden for the chickens. In turn we have been cleaning out the coop at regular intervals and putting the spent hay in the big compost pile outside the garden. This will breakdown into soil that will fertilize our organic garden. Scott Beck, another Sangha member, has been mowing the lawn and depositing the grass clippings which are then dried and used for bedding for the chicks. Chong Yew, our Kitchen Master, has been saving vegetable scraps and stale bread for the hens.
The chicken gate is opened in the afternoon to give the chickens the opportunity to free range. This saves some on purchased food, makes healthier and better tasting eggs and the chickens love the freedom. One chickens was cheerfully standing on a rock and picking leaves from a bush. Others were neck-high in the tall weeds near the fence. As the sun gets low in the sky, the chickens begin to move closer and closer to the chicken yard. Once the sun is down, the chickens will walk into the yard, climb the ramp and enter the coop. The chickens have returned home to roost.
-Diana Starr Daniels, PZC Resident