Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

An oeuf is an oeuf

Oh no it's not! Each egg is different, eggs from the same hen are similar enough to be identifiable as hers; but another hens eggs have their own characteristics. After a winter/moulting break from egg-laying for the hens (and lack of lovely fresh eggs for us) on 4th January Saffron Spice laid her first egg of 2011. Since then (with the odd day off) she's laid an egg every day.

Saffron Spice's eggs are a perfect eggy shape and a subtle shade of pastel teal blue. Then yesterday evening there was a very very special moment . . . we'd been on a long train journey to Liverpool and back and when we returned I went out to secure the hen-house and check the nest-boxes – there were TWO EGGS! Both were pastel blue-green so they had been laid by the Spice Girls, one was obviously Saffron's but which hen had laid the slightly wobbly elongated pale sage-green egg?


The pale sage green egg (bottom of the photo above) couldn't have been laid by Nutmeg Spice, I'd checked her pelvic bones last week and they were close together. That left Ginger Spice – she had laid an egg!!!!! Why am I so eggcited by this? It's worth a silly pun because last summer Ginger wasn't a well hen, her tail drooped, she'd stopped laying and she was obviously pretending to look OK (hens do this!). In July I exchanged emails with Terry of The Hen Cam, and mentioned my worry about Ginger:

" Ginger isn't herself, we noticed when we got home she was withdrawn and today she's off her food - the heat doesn't help. I've been concerned about her for some time as I realised her egg laying is sporadic. There's nothing obviously wrong, except for her tail being at a slightly lower angle and she's not the bright spark she was."

I bought Epsom Salts to dissolve in a little water to give to Ginger; I made sure she was wormed and gave her yogurt and Poultry Spice with her food. Then one day I found a 'lash' under the perches, a 'lash' is the shed lining of the egg-laying tract and looks . . . er well . . . if you don't know what a lash looks like you probably don't want to know! I guessed it was Ginger's and the reason she'd looked so droopy. I tried to find out if hens can lay eggs again after passing a 'lash', there's not much information available – afterall hens that stop laying are usually disposed of. Terry has written an interesting piece about the lack of knowledge about the health of older hens on her blog here.

But, after that Ginger began to look perkier and gradually she's regained her sparkle. She moulted and grew shiny golden new feathers but she hadn't laid an egg since June 2010.

Now she has! And I wanted to celebrate that very special egg. So, here is Ginger Spice's first egg of 2011 on the left with one of Saffron Spice's , poached and served on toast for my breakfast this morning.


Oh my goodness they were so delicious . . .


Right to the last mouthful . . . mmmmmmm!


Celia
x

27 comments:

  1. Ooh yum, I think it's poached eggs for lunch although they won't be a patch on these! So glad Ginger's back on form, those eggs are so pretty it seems a shame to break them!

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  2. Oh, how I would love to have a few hens! It's a long held ambition of mine.

    Lovely looking eggs!

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  3. how lovely that ginger is feeling better! lovely photos, even though eating sushi-chicken is not my first choice. ;)

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  4. There's nothing better than eggs from your own chickens. I'm thinking of getting a few again next month if our old hen house is still useable.

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  5. Happy New Year to Ginger, and everyone else round your place.

    Those delicately colored egg shells are beautiful little sculptures! We never see their like at the local markets...even the farmers markets seem to offer only brown eggs as an alternative to "eggshell white."

    I also admire your egg poaching technique!

    xo

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  6. I'm happy to hear she's "back in business" & and your breakfast looks delicious! The more I read and hear about chickens, the more I want some! Have a wonderful Sunday!

    Mary

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  7. That's so good that she's recovered that much. The eggs look yummy.

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  8. What a geat post and so pleased that Ginger is obviously well. So envious as my girls are not laying yet, I keep telling them that they are welcome to get on with it! My oldest hen is 8 yrs old and survived a stoat attack so never give up on them xx

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  9. Those eggs look good! There is obviously I lot I could learn about hen keeping from you. I'm never entirely sure which of mine are laying or not... but they all seem fairly happy and healthy which is the main thing. We have had some very odd shaped eggs from one of them though!

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  10. I'm missing my hens lovely golden eggs. They still haven't started laying after there winter moult but hopefully it won't be long now...

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  11. Your hens are so lovingly looked after Celia. Ginger Spice's recovery back to egg-laying is tribute to that!

    And those eggs do look yummy!

    Jeanne
    x

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  12. good old Ginger!... i wants hens!!!!... we been busy negotiating with our neighbours for some of their land and the moment they buckle we'll be getting some hens... although The Viking still insists he couldn't eat one of our actuals hens eggs... the fool...

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  13. How lovely to get blue eggs! My girls lay brown ones but don't ever really stop laying, so I shouldn't complain!
    I fancy a poached egg now!

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  14. Oh what a story! Congratulations on your new lease of life, Ginger and to you, Celia for a blommin' delicious-looking breakfast. You've made me hungry!

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  15. Must be catching! We had our first blue egg on Saturday.
    Big Girl the six year-old Dotte lays a lash every year during the moult and it's never seemed to bother her. It's easily confused with a long thick shed of gut lining, which can be an indicator of E.coli infection, which very much bothers them - I wonder if this was Ginger's problem?
    Best thing for this is a five day course of Baytril - I find a 15mg tablet (which is practically microscopic) fits nicely into a sultana and is a good dose for a nice fat hen!
    Good to hear she's on the mend. A bit of sunshine always helps too.

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  16. Oh Celia, my mouth is watering, i loooooove poached eggs. I know what's on the menu for lunch.
    Funny how moments like this can be so eggciting,(it was worth using again).
    So glad Ginger Spice is better and laying again.
    Keeping hens/chooks is such a rewarding experience.

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  17. Oh, how utterly delicious. I buy farm eggs all the time, but hope to have hens in the spring.

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  18. Just a thimbleful...

    Oh come on, examining her pelvic bones? Poor old thing, what indignity!

    We had a boiled egg this morning, but ours came from Dirty Dora.

    Don't ask.

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  19. I am so pleased to hear that Ginger not only rallied, but is not laying eggs! In the winter, when eggs are precious, I too eat them poached - its eggs at their eggiest.

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  20. Three cheers for Ginger! (and the poached-egg cook) Our silly hens decided to moult as soon as the snow arrived, just when they could do with the feathers. Our post-moult eggs are miles bigger than previously. I think we have the occasional 'lash' without any ill-effects.

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  21. Hoorah for the Spice girls especially Ginger!!! What a beauty her first egg was, good for her!!
    Wrote about your seed giving tonight - mwagh and hugs
    I do not want to know more about 'lash' thank you ;)

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  22. You are SO right...eggs from happy chooks taste so much better. I have vowed never to eat eggs when i am out now (unless they are in things of course). I was wondering what sort of hens yours are. I have three coloured or barred leghorns and a couple of yours look the same. I also have a Cochin rooster and he is a devine character. There are a couple of Isa Browns in the flock and I have just added 6 cross breeds.

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  23. Woooh lots of comments!

    Thank you everyone - I'll try to answer some of your questions...

    Petoskystone - ? sushi-chicken? do you mean runny egg?

    Frances - egg poaching is a doddle with really fresh eggs, they stay in a neat little orb in the boiling water - no tricks or gadgets required ;-)

    Dom - if you get hens and the Viking refuses to eat their eggs but still eats bought ones, he's a fool! Get him to read Hazel's comment.

    Wendy - really interesting, thank you.

    Mavis - I knew someone would mention the pelvic bones! If you gently hold a hen you can feel the bones through her feathers - no indignity involved, promise!

    Thank you Terry :-)

    Hazel - welcome to PPPs :-) I never enjoyed poached eggs until we started keeping our own hens - you are bang on there! The Spice Girls are hybrids - Araucana x Crested Cream Legbar (possibly the same as barred leghorns?). Cochin cockerels are lovely big placid boys - lucky you! Our cockerel is a Lavender Araucana and he's definitely not cuddly!!!


    Celia
    x

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  24. yes. while the colour is wonderful, i just can't get past the texture of a runny egg.

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  25. Ooh, good for her! Something to celebrate for sure!!

    We have somewhere around 100+ banty chickens (I try not to count too often..... haha!) of which probably a good 1/4 are roosters. What always amazes me with this number of chickens is we go through Feast or Famine with them. Either no one is laying, and we have 0 eggs coming in, or they all decide to go for it and we are getting 20+ eggs a day (which still is not tons for how many chickens we have......). So now we are on a feast period, and have no chance of keeping up with 20+ eggs a day! Its like zucchini, everyone we know doesn't have a chance of getting anywhere near us without getting at least a dozen eggs.

    I am so glad Ginger is feeling better!

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  26. Good to hear Ginger is back on form again. Your own hens' eggs are so special. You have a sort of symbiotic relationship with them. You feed them, they feed you.

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  27. i know this was posted a while ago now. however this really made me smile.

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