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, 17 March 2013

Phoebe's special day

Six year's ago today we bought four young hens.

We named them Ruby, Sylvie, Dawn and Phoebe.

Phoebe was the first to lay an egg; but she was the bottom of the pecking order.

Then the Spice Girls arrived . . . three young hens with outragious hair-dos, Phoebe pecked them!!!

Sadly Dawn, Ruby and Sylvie have died and are under the primroses in the orchard; I worried for Phoebe, how would she cope with being the oldest member of the flock?

So, last autumn when I decided to get three new pullets, I got Coucou Marans just like Phoebe . . . because I really believe that "birds of a feather stick together" and Phoebe would like to have the company of hens that looked like her (and her dear best friend Sylvie).

And . . . it worked! Phoebe has a new bounce in her step :-) she has young hens to aim a peck at and give a stare to that says "age before beauty!" . . . Phoebe is now a Dowager Duchess of Grantham among hens!

Over six years Phoebe has probably layed more than 1200 eggs, she layed this one yesterday. As always she took her time . . . about 2 hours! An hour to get comfy, then another to cuddle the egg and go all dreamy.

Today, we had a little celebration in the garden for Phoebe; I made a 'cake' (cooked rice, porridge, bread, seeds and yogurt, flavoured with Poultry Spice)

 I made sure Phoebe took the first slice . . . she grabbed it and ran!

She took it far enough away so that she could eat it in peace and none of the others would get it!

 And then Phoebe carefully wiped her beak on the grass :-)

It was quite a party!

We hope that we share many more days with Phoebe in our garden, she is the most amiable of hens and we love her lots!



  1. Aww bless! Strange how some hens just keep on going and other die at the drop of a hat. Her cake looked pretty good to me - I did notice there was no jelly though.

  2. She looks VERY proud of her achievements! :) x

  3. How lovely. My lone hen seems very content at being able to rule the roost at last (she was always bottom of the pecking order) but she is not laying. Thinking of introducing a couple of companions soon.

  4. Happy birthday to Phoebe, she is a very beautiful bird and I am glad that she got first dibs on the cake, bless her. I always enjoy news about your flock.

  5. What a lovely story! Congratulations to Phoebe and you for being such good friends for so long. You have obviously given her a very happy home and she has repaid you with delicious eggs. It sounds a perfect friendship. : )

  6. The Dowager Phoebe has quite an elegant profile! & smart with herself, as well :)

  7. Lovely story! I hope my little pullets, due Tuesday, bring me as much joy as Phoebe has brought you. x

  8. Heart-warming story, Phoebe deserves her day of celebration. A lovely read too - thank you.

  9. oh how lovely - she is a very pretty hen, she looks like my hen Unity (also a Cuckoo Maran) who sadly died last year.

  10. Ahhh, what a happy day for Phobe. I must try that cake recipe for our girls.

    Intrigued that you still have lovely grass! The hens have eaten the top from our lawn and its looked like Glastonbury since Christmas. Is there a special trick?

    Have a smashing week
    Steph x

  11. Celia, I so enjoyed reading about Phoebe, and definitely thinks she can be Dowager Duchess...Dame Phoebe, for sure.


  12. Oh, such a lovely post! I do enjoy reading about your ladies - our garden is too small and soggy to be any fun for hens. Never mind!

  13. ah, how lovely. lucky girlies x

  14. Oj wow what a exciting day for Phoebe. Such a lovely looking grand Hen. Hugs Judy

  15. Love the pictures of Phoebe! Sounds to me like "A good time was had by all"! Best wishes for Phoebe's continued good health and happy laying.

    Diane in North Carolina

  16. Oh such a lovely story! Lucky Phoebe receiving a special cake - how fancy!

  17. Oh now I've just been mooching through your blog (can't quite remember how I got here!) and I saw the picture of your lovely Phoebe. We used to have some Marans and there was a definite 'Duchess' among them - we called her Ma! I also remember that, although they didn't lay quite as many as the few Rhode Islands that we had, their eggs had the most beautiful rich yellow yolks - delicious! Love the fact that you made them a special cake - they must be very happy hens x Jane

  18. I absolutely love that you made Phoebe a 'cake'. She looks like the happiest of hens, I had no idae laying an egg could take so long! It takes longer to lay an egg than to eat an egg! I'm sue you eat her every egg with gratitude and that no egg will go off in your house.

    x Regula


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