Well the hens are definitely slowing down for winter – most are in a moult, and we are only getting three eggs a day. The good girls still laying are the two hybrids we bought last year – a Columbian blacktail and a blue maran, and one of the girls we raised in the spring – Lucky Too. My son’s pet hen whitey occasionally lays a very small egg.
So, it is time to decide who stays and who goes. I know some people keep their hens as pets, and even I am inclined to keep an old girl who gave us lots of eggs, but there are some who are wasting my time, and never paid their way, and they form a queue (in my mind) out of the hen run and into the pot.
The first to go was the cream legbar. She always was a useless layer, but made up for it by having nice blue eggs. But when she stopped bothering altogether back in the height of summer, her card was marked. The only thing stopping us was the lack of freezer space.
So she has been despatched. It might seem mean to some, but we have to be more practical – if we end up with a hen run full of non laying geriatrics, we shall have to buy our eggs from someone less soft. And we have up and coming youngsters to take her place who need a space on the perch.
Spent laying hens are small and fatty, so soup was the order of the day. After simmering on the rayburn for hours with onion and herbs, the fat skimmed off, the meat carefully removed from the bones, the lot seasoned and blended, and we have cream of legbar soup!