Ed understood my position but held to his economic principles. His charity did not extend to freeloading birds. But if I agreed to take them away and care for them he was willing to spare their lives. I willingly agreed. He had extra crates that chickens could be confined in while I transported them home. He even let me salvage lumber from a collapsed building so I could build a coop at my house. We had a deal and he agreed to sell me some feed.
I next went to work constructing a shelter for a chicken rehabilitation center. The few birds I got were lame, sick or runts. Besides getting over the infirmities that sentenced them to death and reprieve, my birds also had to adjust to being taken off medications and hormones that had been provided in their drinking water. Though a goodly portion did not survive, by patient nursing, a small but healthy flock of hens emerged. They had been weaned off their old diet and now were free range birds that had many acres over which to roam and hardly needed any commercial feed. By then Ed’s gigantic flock had been culled and no more made their way to my chicken house. He also hardly needed my help since his operation was running maintenance free at the moment.
By the time Ed’s hens were getting ready to be hauled off to a processing plant mine were beginning to lay. Apparently they came from a line off birds that were breed to be prolific breeders. A goodly portion of eggs we received had double yokes. We got almost a egg a day from each bird and were able to provide our community with large double yoke eggs from range fed birds who were rescued from the Cornish Hen mill. Ed now required my help to get ready for a new batch of birds. If I was going to stay in this business, I would need to find adoptive homes for my rehabilitated chickens.