A salute to these celebrated feathered ladies of our property. This is how they wait each afternoon for Robert to take them their top-up of grain before bedtime, to keep them warm during the cold winter nights.
Some might consider them demanding as they wait and pace under my study window, but I am happy to say that I have only had to buy one dozen eggs from the supermarket this whole year past. I think that’s pretty good going considering how many eggs get used in cooking here.
They are especially fond of their breakfast, with vegetable scraps cooked up into a mash overnight on the old wood stove, then mixed with dripping or leftover vegetable or olive oil plus bran and wheat next boring. Served warm of course.
They are cunning too – quite intelligent it seems. Two of the mother hens know that we collect eggs of course, so they lay their eggs just over the fence. When the resulting chicks are hatched and still just small enough to fit through the holes in the chicken wire boundary fence, they bring them back home, occasionally more than a dozen at a time.
They must sense that their babies are too cute to cull.
Is it worth all the feed and effort? Well, that one dozen commercial free range eggs I bought were partially used in the cakes Charly and I baked last weekend.
The top layer of the Victoria Sponge, as I hope can be seen in the photo, was much lighter, made as it was from the commercial eggs. The vibrant yellow bottom section was made with our own chooks’ eggs.
So this is why these lovely feathered girls are so pampered – for the colour, flavour and quality of the eggs they unfailingly provide us with each day.