best layer of the month # May

Yesterday it was time to tot up the egg tally for the month of May.  The gals are all enjoying life in the orchard, in the shade of several apple trees.  The ‘on-loan’ bee hive isn’t far (top right in photo) but bees and hens appear to be living in harmony.

It looks like Miss Moneypenny might be starting to get broody again (always seems to happen to her when weather stays warm) because she’s begun leaving a few fluffy feathers in the nesting box, but, she has also been laying really well.  Total eggs count for May was:  Mauricette – 20;  Ruby – 26;  Miss Moneypenny – 27; and this month’s winner is Florence with 28.  Which makes a grand total of 101 eggs this month.

A few more photos, of future apples and pears.

Apples should be in abundance this year but we’re not counting our pears just yet.

best layer of the month # April

I’m using a photo taken last month, of Ruby & Florence (both centre) . . . as today it’s raining and hens are all huddled together under a wooden shelter in their grassy orchard enclosure.  Ruby & Florence are the best layers this month, with 28 eggs each.  While Miss Moneypenny (just sneaking her beak in on left of photo here) laid 20 and Mauricette 17.

That makes a grand total of 93 eggs.  Not as many as last month, but still plenty to go around!

best layer of the month # March

Above is one of the little joys in life these days . . . the daily visit to the hen coop, and that magical moment, when I lift up the lid of the nest box, to collect fresh eggs of the day.   Above photo has been a frequent event:  four hens, and four eggs.

Our hens don’t know what’s going on in the world these days.  They wake up, go about their business, and have been laying so well.  Total number of eggs collected for March is 104.  Yep, that’s right: one hundred and four eggs.  Which means, what with confinement, and shops not necessarily having everything in stock, we and neighbours aren’t having to buy eggs.  Thanks to our four gals, there are more than enough to go around.

Florence, our black Medicis hen, wins the best layer award for March with a staggering 31 eggs.  Ruby (the red hen) was just behind with 30.  Here they are in centre of photo.

And then Miss Moneypenny (with speckled collar) laid 23 and Mauricette (on right in second photo) laid 20.

best layer of the month # February

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Hens have been very productive as usual, much to the joy of neighbours.  We collected 88 eggs in February, and since there’s only the husband and me at home, there’s no way we could eat our way through that lot! 

Best layer of February is Ruby, our red hen, who laid a total of 28 eggs, only taking one day off.  Florence wasn’t far behind, with 27, while Mauricette and Miss Moneypenny laid 17 and 16 respectively.

what the husband made

I recently showed you a photo of the hens on their plot of land in veggie patch with their new coop.

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Not sure if I explained but that’s actually our THIRD coop!  almost as many coops as hens lol.  We move our hens about on different plots of land throughout the year, and the moving about, plus being outside in all weathers (including occasionally being blown over by gale force winds) means that coops constantly need maintenance or more serious repair. 

When we first started our hen-keeping adventure  we splashed out and bought quite a posh affair with a removeable shelter.  This is what it looked like when brand new in March 2015

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We very quickly decided that the little shelter part wasn’t terribly practical as it was.  Too small to make a decent run for the hens, and too low for me to crawl about trying to put the food dispenser in & out.  So . . . a few years later, both parts were separated, and we moved the shelter part out to the orchard, to join the second coop.

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Its purpose there – to protect the food dispenser from the elements and to offer extra shade if the hens need it.  Sadly, all the moving about of coop parts, plus strong winds, meant that this shelter was almost falling to pieces and not fit to serve another year.  So we brought it into the veranda and the husband did some serious maintenance work, reinforcing here, water-proofing there . . . and then making something to make life easier for me.  I’ll let the photos speak for themselves before I explain.

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So . . . husband made a sliding system, whereby we can hang the food dispenser under the roof of shelter and then simply push the hook (therefore the food dispenser) back to the centre of the shelter where it will be protected from the elements.  Thus saving my back, and meaning I no longer have to fold myself in two to crawl inside  while holding a (very heavy when full) food dispenser. 

best layer of the month # January

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We’ve been and bought a brand new hen coop because the one we bought in 2015 needs a complete overhaul and maintenance . . . and in this weather, hens need somewhere to keep them warm & dry at night.  We’ve just moved them to a new patch of grass

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which they’ll probably soon peck & scratch to mud, but for the moment, they’ve got plenty of fresh greenery to keep them amused.  January has seen all hens laying (even Miss Moneypenny) although total egg count was actually down on previous months.  For January we collected a total of 74 eggs.  10 from Miss Moneypenny; 15 from Mauricette;  22 from Florence, and it’s Ruby (our red hen) who is this months best layer with 27 eggs.

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best layer of the month # December

This is my last post for 2019 . . . the monthly egg-count post . . . something I’ve been doing regularly every month, without fail, for several years now simply because it makes me happy. My hens make me happy every day, always so pleased to see me, as they come running and clucking to discover what treats are on the menu for the day.

Since we began keeping laying hens, in 2015, it’s been my daily pleasure to scoop up poop, lay down fresh straw, make sure food & water supplies are all topped up, and enjoy opening the roof of the nesting box to collect fresh eggs.

For December . . . Miss Moneypenny, who is the only one of our original hens to still be alive, has most definitely now retired.  She hasn’t laid a single egg since October but, considering she’s been with us so long, we feel she deserves a happy retirement.  The other gals were all productive, despite the wet (and now cold) weather.  Mauricette laid 19 eggs, the two younger gals: Ruby and Florence laid 30 each.  Which makes for a grand total of 79. 

No recent photos of the hens today . . . just one, which some of my followers may recognise, of the annual “seasons greetings” decorations I made & sent this year.  Nothing fancy.  Just a stylised xmas tree with a gold star on top.

xmas decors 2019

I wish you all the best as we move into the new year.  May 2020 bring you laughter, good health, and many hours of crafting joy.