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.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Three cheers for Phoebe!


My senior under-gardeners are 5 years old, they came to live in our garden in March 2007 and at the beginning of April Phoebe was the first of our flock to lay an egg.

Phoebe is a Coucou Marans hybrid (Marans x Rhode Island Red) and she has the most perfect tail shape – she can manoeuvre it like a rudder. Her feathers are luxuriously smooth like an expensive silk twill scarf, and she has thick downy underwear – most practical on a day like today!

I estimate that Phoebe has laid about 200 eggs each year, so that means she has produced 1000 eggs! I didn't mind at all when late last October she stopped laying because she was moulting – she does this dramatically . . . one day one or two feathers fall out, the next day she shakes herself and stands there almost naked!!! I wouldn't have minded it she never laid another egg, we will care for her for as long as she wants to enjoy life fossicking around our garden. We've got to know her funny little ways – she spends ages laying her eggs, really taking her time and she hates any food that is sticky like plums or porridge or boiled potatoes.


 Today Phoebe laid her first egg in 2012 . . .


. . .  a beautiful brown egg just like her first one in 2007.


Celia
x

22 comments:

  1. That egg is a testament to the good care your girls get. (And hybrid vigor. Love them!) BTW, perfect use of the word "fossicking." I must start using it. Quite appropriate for so much of my life.

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  2. Give Phoebe a kiss, clever girl. She looks to be ignoring the husband you have for her there - handsome maybe, but hopeless!

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  3. Hoorah for Phoebe, and for thick downy underwear on an day like today!

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  4. We had a chicken called Mildred some years ago and she lived to be about 17 years old before she was run over crossing the road! I won't say the obvious joke - too sad. So long may Phoebe live.

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  5. Hi Terry - yes fossicking is a great word!

    Hi Jennifer - as a dignified mature hen, Phoebe finds attention seeking young cockerels to be very tiresome; as for ones made of cast iron...

    Hi Annie - indeed! ankle length downy knickers have been very useful today.

    Celia
    x

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  6. Hi Fiona - 17, wow that's a good age for a hen! I had no idea they could live that long.

    C x

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  7. What a beauty! I've found that they lay fewer but larger eggs as they get older. My Auntie's chicken lived to be 8 years old and still layed regularly.

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  8. I've always wanted to keep chickens and this summer i'm finally moving into my own house, so hopefully I can convince my partner to let me rescue a few from a battery farm -Phoebe is gorgeous however! -Do you find you can taste the difference between the different breeds of chickens, or just the different lifestyles they have? (by lifestyles i mean living conditions haha).

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  9. Well done, Phoebe! Surely is an impressive tail.

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  10. I so wish that I had been wearing thick downy underwear today.

    Phoebe is such a beautiful creature.

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  11. She's lovely. Only our light Sussex are laying just now. Looking forward to some welsummers eggs soon!

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  12. Phoebe is beautiful :) Hens have such great personalities don't they?

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  13. sad but true that I know this, but fossicking originated as the term to describe looking for bits of opal in surface mine rubble in Australia!

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  14. I am amazed that our two hens have started laying again already this year. The brown hen was first, and now our Maran (I only know the name as you have said it). Yesterday gave us one normal and one double-yolked egg.

    I suppose it is a symptom of the mild weather we are experiencing this winter. Usually mins stop when the last of the leaves have fallen and do not start again until March! (I do wonder then why I keep hens AND buy supermarket eggs).

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  15. What a gorgeous girl she is. Well done Phoebe!

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  16. Mmmm! Nothing like a fresh-laid egg! Speaking of birds - enjoyed looking through the process of producing the bird print in your last post.

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  17. Oh, Phoebe! She is gorgeous. xxx

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  18. She is a beautiful and useful hen, you're obviously looking after her very well!

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  19. She's a beauty Celia and I feel EXACTLY the same about my girls. Fluffy really has never laid many eggs so it is quite an auspicious event these days! Here's to their doterage!

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  20. Hurrah for Phoebe! There's plenty of fabulousness in her still, she's an absolutely splendid lady, what a BEAUTIFUL egg! Vanessa xxx

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