harmony in the hen coop

hens oct 01

It’s taken a few weeks for the old gals to accept the new gals . . . but I’m pleased to say, we now have harmony (most of the time) in the hen coop – yay!

hens oct 02

Hens do still try and pair off, with Mauricette and Miss Moneypenny keeping together and chasing Florence & Ruby away when there’s anything interesting to peck & scratch but on the whole, they all seem to be getting on quite well.

hens oct 03

In this third photo, you can see Ruby (red) and Florence in the foreground, with Miss Moneypenny & Mauricette just behind.

hens oct 04

They have plenty of grass to strut about on, so there really is no need for them to be fighting.

hens oct 05

I noticed that Florence’s comb is starting to mature a little and turn more red than pink

hens oct 06

so she might actually start laying sooner than expected.

And last photo for Mary, who was curious to know how I could tell with certainty which hen had laid . . .

hens oct 07

This is what my little egg basket looks like at the moment:  9 eggs (collected over 5 days). I know for certain that the 5 light shells were laid by Mauricette while the 4 darker shells were laid by Miss Moneypenny.  Certain breeds of hens lay certain colours of egg shell . . . for example the Leghorn (a pure white hen) will lay eggs with a pure white shell but feather colouring actually has nothing to do with shell colour.  Our old Miss Moneypenny is a hybrid Marans-Cuckoo and the Marans breed is renowned for laying very dark, almost chocolate brown, shells.  Miss Moneypenny, being a hybrid, doesn’t lay really dark shells, but they are always much darker than eggs from my other hens.  Mauricette, despite being a charcoal grey in colour lays a very light flesh shell . . . only time will tell what our two new gals produce.  Shell colour has no impact on the quality of the egg inside although some farm hens can lay very large double yolkers from time to time.  One of our first hens, Miranda, a red hen, frequently laid very large eggs and quite often double–yolkers . . . so it’ll be interesting to see if Ruby does the same once she starts laying.