best layer of the month # February

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This is what I like to see, when I check in the nesting boxes!  Three pretty eggs, all different, proof  that all hens have laid.

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The gorgeous weather this month means that all gals have been laying consistently well, even old Miss Moneypenny!  Total egg count for February was 62 and hens really have been neck & neck with no clear winner.

Miss Moneypenny laid 20 while Miss Plumpton and Mauricette laid 21 eggs each.  For a month with only 28 days, that’s not bad at all.

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best layer of the month # January 2019

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First month of the year has simply flown past!  Can’t believe it’s already 31st January (and incidentally, also the 31st birthday of Eldest Son).  Hens have had to put up with very cold temperatures, what with snow, and drinking water freezing over. With the cold plus lack of daylight (although days are growing longer), egg count was more modest than during the warmer months.

It’s Mauricette, our French Blue, who takes the prize once again though, with 26 eggs this month.  Miss Plumpton laid 16 and old Miss Moneypenny 11.  That makes a total of 53 fresh eggs for January, so still enough to distribute amongst the neighbours.

best layer of the month # December

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Ooops, I almost forgot to tot up the egg count for December!

Total egg count was slightly down in December because Miss Moneypenny decided to have a massive moult.  There were feathers everywhere, for several weeks, and she was walking around looking somewhat naked until the new feathers grew.  With the cold spell we had, I was slightly worried she would catch cold, so have been giving extra treats and vitamins to help.  Miss Moneypenny is fully-feathered again, but all her energy went into growing feathers, so she only laid 4 eggs this month.  Miss Plumpton and Mauricette (above) did very well though.  Miss Plumpton (the Sussex) laid 22 eggs and Mauricette (our French blue) laid a grand total of 30.  Which means 56 eggs were collected in December.

And just because I like statistics . . . I  went back over archives for 2018.  Miss Mauricette may have been our best layer for the past few months, but Miss Plumpton wins the crown for Best Layer of 2018.  Miss Moneypenny laid a total of 194 eggs in the past year: Mauricette 316 and . . . drumroll . . . Miss Plumpton laid 333.

best layer of the month # October

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After an incredibly long, hot summer, autumn really is upon us.  With October, we had a few nice weeks, but also a fair bit of rain, and even some early snow.  I thought the damp and cold would put the hens off their laying  yet nothing seems to put them off.   This month we collected  a total of 84 eggs.  24 from Miss Moneypenny, and 30 each from Miss Plumpton and Mauricette. 

best layer of the month # Miss September

After being Queen of the coop since January . . . Miss Plumpton has finally had to hand over the crown!  Because for September, Mauricette is best layer of the month!

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With a total of 30 eggs – yay!  Miss Plumpton came in a close second, with 27 and Miss Moneypenny a respectable third place with 23 . . . so a total of 80 eggs this month. 

We were away for a few days in September so I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get correct figures for this month , but egg count was easy to tot up.  Claude, the neighbour who looked after hens while we were away, collected 3 fresh eggs every day.  Hens, being very friendly gals, didn’t mind having someone else look after them, especially as Claude brought lots of treats and had a little chat with them every day.  

best layer of the month # August

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Miss Plumpton did it again!  She didn’t take a single day’s rest this month and produced an amazing 31 eggs!  What a clever Sussex hen she is, eh?

Other gals did very well too though . . . Mauricette with 28 and Miss Moneypenny, despite her age, laid 27.  Total egg count this month: 86.  That made quite a few omelettes for us, plus a couple of baking sessions . . . but I also gave fresh eggs to neighbours since there’s no point in stock-piling.

We seem to have something of a barter system going on with neighbours lol.  I’m happy to just give eggs away rather than see them go to waste, but this month we were given a couple of litres of milk in exchange AND

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some fresh crayfish!  Now, I have to add here . . . we’ve got a new neighbour in the Close, and as well as holding down a paid job as a teacher, he also works for the Fishing & Forestry commission on a volunteer basis.  In this role, one of his occupations over the summer holidays was to set traps to catch a foreign variety of crayfish, an American variety, I believe.  These were introduced (no idea when or why) into local waters and have been breeding like rabbits to the detriment of the European crayfish.  The American cousins are considered as pests so people on the fishing commission have been busy trapping them all summer.  

You can’t see exactly how many of the little blighters there really are in this photo, as they’re in an ice-box and are all piled on top of each other.  I’ll spare details for the squeamish, but we spent several hours prepping these for the freezer, and then received another bucket-load the following day which we had for dinner.  They’re fresh water creatures so taste nothing like prawns.  However, they were very tasty cooked up with fresh tomatoes from the garden and served on a bed of rice.