Monday, December 26, 2011

Above and Beyond the Call of Duty


The little hen you see at the top/center of this picture is the only remaining hen from my first chickens. She was hatched on October 15th, 2004.
All her sisters have succumbed to age related deaths over the last two years. The most recent being about 3 weeks ago.
If you've done the math, this little Americauna hen is seven years old.
Her name is Penny and she wasn't even supposed to be a "she".

When you order chicks from a hatchery, they will often throw in "cockerals for warmth".
What that means is, they're trying to get rid of their male chicks without having to kill them/dispose of them themselves. Their problem becomes your problem.
What they will do, is put a blue mark on the heads of all these chicks so you can decide what to do with them as soon as you get them.
I decided to keep the one they threw in "for warmth".
He turned out to be a she.

She's extremely shy and skittish.
She's of the breed that is also known as Easter Eggers because they lay colored eggs--Pink, green or blue.
Hers turned out to be a very, very light pinkish/brown. They're virtually indistinguishable from the brown eggs I get from my other hens.

What does any of this have to do with my title?
Penny, right on schedule, has finished up her molt and has begun laying eggs again.
For all seven years of her life she has only taken a break from egg laying to molt and regrow her feathers.
This year is no different.
The three chickens from my new batch of chickens have not begun laying again.
Penny has broken a record, I just know it.
She's made it possible for me to begin eating eggs again.
Anyone who has ever had "real" chicken eggs knows how difficult it is to eat those pale eggs that come from the grocery store.

After seven years, Penny is finally at the head of the pecking order.
Despite the lovely color and flavor of her eggs, I wish she'd take a break from her egg laying to finally enjoy being Head Hen.
Maybe later.
Right now, she's out announcing the arrival of another egg.