There’s nothing nicer than a home produced bright yellow egg for breakfast, and my ‘girls’ do a wonderful job in providing Layhead guests with delicious fresh eggs. Sadly, hens don’t last forever and I am now down to ten hens, so I think I shall have to plan a trip to the ‘hen man’ to replenish the stocks. Last time I went I selected a wide variety of breeds.
Generally people just think all hens are the same, but actually they’re not – their different personalities and characteristics are fun to watch. There is the brown Leghorn which lays white eggs! It is a very flighty character. I have two Rhode Island Reds which are very feisty and will peck anything that gets in their way. Then there is the Light Sussex, a white hen that lays brown eggs! She is a very gentle creature and when she had a bad leg I started feeding her out of my hand and so she has become very friendly. Many of them also seem to know when it is feeding time in the afternoon, and stand outside the back door until I come out with food.
I used to have a Bantam called Billy who at some point in her life decided that she didn’t wish to live in the hen house with the common hens and roosted every night under a bush in the garden. When winter came I had a special hut made for her, and she slept in it in the barn opposite the house for the rest of her life, and became great friends with Pepper the dog.
Over the years I have many funny stories to tell involving the hens. There was one hen we called Lightening because as soon as she was let out in the morning she would zoom across the field so that she could lay her egg behind one particular tree on the side of the lane. She give would have given Mo Farah a run for his money!
So, when I go to choose the flock, as well as selecting different breeds, I must try and pick out some more quirky characters.