best layer of the month #April

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“Thirty days hath September, April, June and November . . . “ another month has flown by, and yesterday being the 30th April, I did the egg count for the month.

Mind you, before I give you the score, I have to show you this little egg.

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I got rather a surprise when I found that.  I know young hens can be prone to laying tiny eggs, when they begin laying, but my gals are all getting on for 3 years old, so I’m used to finding standard eggs, weighing between 55g – 80g (depending on the hen).  This little one was a pathetic excuse for an egg.  When I cracked it open it contained an egg white, with only a teeny tiny splodge of yolk.  Seeing the colour of shell, it was a Miss Moneypenny egg. I am happy to say, she hasn’t laid any more like it.  And in fact, Miss Moneypenny is the best layer of April! 

She laid a total of 25 eggs this month (if I count the above), while the other two gals lagged behind.  Miss Marple laid 19 and Miranda laid only 14 eggs.  Still, that’s a total of 58 eggs for April.  Plenty for us, but the neighbours aren’t getting any free eggs at the moment.

best layer of the month #March

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Our little apricot tree is in blossom . . . Spring is in the air . . . and hens have been having a leisurely time of it this month.  55 eggs for March, which is a far cry from what we were collecting this time last year.  But hens are one year older, so we can’t expect them to be such prolific layers now.  Miranda laid 14 eggs – she’s really having a rest this month.  Miss Marple laid 18 . . . and Miss Moneypenny put everyone to shame with 23 eggs.

best layer of the month # February

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We’ve moved the gals’ enclosure to a fresh plot . . . so lots of moss to dig up and sorry winter grass to rummage in.  They seem happy.  Total egg count this month was 62 which isn’t bad going when you consider February only has 28 days and our hens are two and a half years old.

It was neck and neck between Miss Marple and Miss Moneypenny this month

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But Miss Marple (black & tan) won, with 23 eggs.  Miss Moneypenny 22, and Miranda only 17. 

best layer of the month #January

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Time to tot up the total of eggs for January . . . 64 in total this month. A lower tally than average but I think it’s because of the really cold temperatures we had a few weeks ago.  Miranda laid the most, with 23 eggs, Miss Marple a close second with 22 and Miss Moneypenny laid 19. 

best layer of the month #December and best layer of 2016

Some people (namely a few family members) think I’ve got a screw loose where my hens are concerned.  Who’d have thought, a few years ago, that I would be getting so much joy out of hen-keeping? 

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We bought our 3 gals in May 2015, as 20 week old “on the point of lay” hens, which makes them just over 2 years old today.  They’re just your ordinary laying hens.  Miranda is a Red hen; Miss Marple a Black & Tan; Miss Moneypenny a hybrid Marans-Cuckoo.  I had read that a hen can be a prolific layer for the first year, with up to 300 eggs, and that production then dwindles.  This is part of the reason I keep tabs on who lays what.  I’m interested to know who is laying, and it’s become a daily routine to collect eggs, clean the coop, chat to the gals, and comment on their beautiful eggs.

Anyway . . . today being 31st, it was time to tot up eggs for December.  The best layer this month is Miranda with 25 eggs, while Miss Marple & Miss Moneypenny are in joint second with 23 each.  That’s  71 eggs which have come in very useful this month for pavlova, chocolate mousse, chocolate GF cake (twice) and soft-boiled eggs for breakfast, amongst other things.

While totting up figures, I was curious to see how my hens did over the full year.  Which is where my previous articles come in handy (quick scroll back in archives and some maths) . . . then drum roll . . .

In 2016, therefore 366 days, since it was a Leap Year . . . Miss Moneypenny (on right in first photo) laid 202 eggs.  Miranda (our red hen) laid 310 eggs . . . and (drum still rolling) . . . Miss Marple laid 320 eggs.

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(photos taken during better weather)

That, my friends, is a lot of eggs, and sounds even more impressive when I realise that between the 3 of them, they laid 832 eggs during the year. 

best layer of the month # November

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Goodness me, another month has flown by!  Hard to believe that tomorrow it’ll be December 1st.  Weather is starting to turn cold in our part of France, with below zero temperatures in the morning and frost on the ground. 

Hens don’t seem too bothered though, and have been laying well.  Total egg count this month was 73.  With gals laying (in reverse order): Miranda  – 21, Miss Marple – 25 and, best layer for the month of November . . . Miss Moneypenny (far right in photo) – 27.

best layer of the month # October

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Time to tot up the total of eggs laid this month . . .

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All three gals are laying extremely well at the moment.  Could be something to do with the fact that they’re back in our veggie garden (which is looking very bare after harvests) and therefore have more than 200m2 to roam around in during the day.

We had a total of 83 eggs this month.  Miranda = 29, Miss Marple = 28 and Miss Moneypenny = 26.

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So Miranda, our red hen was the winner. 

Meanwhile in our backgarden, meat fowl are growing

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Difficult to tell from the photo, but everyone is getting bigger and the Naked Neck chicken now has tail feathers.  Guinea fowl are 9 weeks old and Naked Neck is 8 weeks.  They still have a lot of growing to do before the festive season though.

And other news – Blackjack is doing a lot better.  His meds are kicking in, and we’ve been able to coax him back to eating.  So, looks like he’s on the road to recovery, yay!