best layer of the month # April

We’ve had a few weird eggs in the nesting boxes this month.  All laid by Miss Moneypenny:  several funny shapes, a couple with soft shells, and then this

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This isn’t an optical illusion due to perspective . . . it’s teeny tiny, hardly bigger than a quail’s egg, and only containing egg white.

Miss Moneypenny seems to be in fine fettle, but I reckon the odd egg-laying must be because she’s starting to get on in years.  Total egg count this month (not counting the soft shells, which were a flattened mess in the nest) was 77 eggs.  Miss Moneypenny’s contribution was 24, or I suppose only 23 and a half, as we can hardly call the above an egg!  Miss Plumpton also laid 24 – all normal sized.  And Mauricette was the winner this month, with 29 eggs.

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best layer of the month # March (Houdini Hens)

Our hens have been a right handful this month!  They’ve taken to escaping from their enclosure on a daily basis and causing havoc in the veggie garden, where the husband is trying to prepare plots for plantations.  We appreciate that they’re currently living on bare soil, with a covering of straw, and that the grass must look so much greener on the other side.  They did have grass on this plot in February, but soon pecked & scratched it clean, and it’s a bit early in the season for us to move them to their summer residence in the orchard.

Try as we might, we were unable to see exactly how they were getting out, but get out they did.  Every single day, this month, I’d pop out to take them their treats, only to find they’d been having fun: digging in the strawberry patches, and burying the poor plants;  having sand baths in the beautifully banked mounds where the husband is trying to grow asparagus;  having a good old rummage in the compost heaps;  and generally running riot!  We checked there were no gaps at ground level, where they could be sneaking out under the net fencing.  Hung extra netting higher up along 2 sides of the enclosure . . . and I did some more feather clipping on left wings.  In a final attempt to keep them inside their park . . . I ended up re-purposing  some of old net curtains because we’d run out of proper fowl netting, and I didn’t want to have to go and buy some more.

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The result looks rather strange, to say the least.  But we’re hoping it’ll do the job of stopping hens from doing more of their Houdini act.

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Anyway . . . not only have they been escaping on a daily basis, they’ve also all been laying on an almost daily basis.  This month saw us with a total egg count of 86.  28 from both Miss Plumpton and Miss Moneypenny, while Mauricette laid a massive 30 eggs.

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.

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.