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Today was a milestone in my little world of allotment chicken keeping. We’ve gone full circle, my girls and I – from egg to egg.

 

Regular readers of this blog may remember that when Itchy, the last of my ex-battery hens, started looking a bit peaky back in the spring, it coincided with a very determined spell of broodiness from Marian, my gorgeous Black Rock. So, doing the maths (one about to cark it, another offering free incubating services), I slipped some fertile eggs under her.

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Much to Marian’s annoyance I needed to check the eggs were fertile and developing properly – this is done by ‘candling’ which basically means shining a bright torch through the egg. Here you can see the chicks veins developing!
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So cute! These is one of my ‘experimental hens’ – a totally mad cross between an Old English Game and a Silkie – two very different breeds that live alongside each other at my local community garden, The Green Backyard. Silkies have soft, fluffy feathers and when they were first introduced to Europe they were sold as a cross between a chicken and a rabbit!

 

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After only a day or two the chicks were up and about. They’re tougher than they look – all my panicking about whether they would eat was completely unjustified.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three weeks later, during that wonderful period in May when tree blossom blows on the wind like confetti and everything is wonderfully fresh and green, four tiny balls of fluff emerged from under Marian. Oblivious that they weren’t hers, she went on to be a wonderful mum, bustling around the enclosure and going mental if I even so much as went near the chicks.

 

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I’m pleased as punch with my first egg from the babies (shown with one from the older hens for comparison)

It’s amazing how quickly those little balls of fluff grew into gawky, awkward teenagers (they really do look like tiny dinosaurs at this point) – and on into bright and lively young hens. Today, exactly five months after they hatched, I got my first egg – a tiny, pure white one which I think I’ll boil and eat like a quail’s egg, dipped in salt and cayenne pepper.

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My girls aren’t babies any more! You can see the influence of the Old English Game in their unusual gait and plumage – they look like little partridges. But the Silkie comes through too – they have cute little ‘top knots’ and an extra toe on each foot!
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Back in the kitchen, it’s a very autumnal harvest.

2 thoughts on “The Chickens and The Egg”

  1. It must have been very rewarding to get your first egg after taking care of those little creatures so long. I am so into gardening, but never thought of getting animals … and chicken are actually very good idea. Thank you for this post! Enjoy your sweet lovely farm! 🙂

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