This week we had our first egg from our hens. We have had them since Easter – 8th April – and our “point of lay” hybrids have been enjoying life at our expense for three weeks since then. And not one egg has appeared. Waiting for that first egg is like waiting for your baby’s first footsteps – you want to see it, but perhaps would like to share it with your partner more. But life does not happen like that and Claire found the small but beautifully formed product of our Gold Star’s efforts on Thursday morning when I was at school.
In the past we have not messed around too much with breeds of hen – just the solid dependable Warrens. This played well with the old man as, in the old days, when he was between a place in the Navy and a career in avionics, he briefly sold day-old Warren chicks to keep the family afloat. So – as we were told – you need look no further than a good Warren hen. After our first hens had passed on (Mr Fox had his wicked way) we flirted with ex-battery hens that came to us with the look of concentration camp survivors, traumatised and featherless, but they were not great layers and we have returned to pullets for better production and more healthy birds.
But we have stepped away from family advice and got some hybrids from Jane Gibson from Dorset Cottage Arks near Stalbridge who sells on behalf of Chalk Hill Poultry. There was such demand for birds prior to Easter we took pretty much whatever they had – which sadly was not the Columbian Blacktail which we fancied, but instead we ended up with four fowl in various shades of monochrome. I am not altogether sure of their breed names – I think they are a Bluebelle, a Sussex Star, a White Star and a Speckledy. Line them up in the correct order and you have an artist’s palette of white through to grey / black flecks. I understand they will lay different coloured eggs, so we might be able to tell who is laying and who not. So the fact that our eggs this week were white (another was laid on Saturday when – you guessed it – I was at school) points to the White Star having laid it. This is does not take too much detective work, as she is the only one with a good-sized comb, but we will see what the others lay in due course.
So it looks like the White Star gets the merits this week and hopefully is setting an example the others might finally follow.
I poached the two eggs for lunch today . Both were double yokers and were eggy perfection on toasted muffins. Mmmmmm….