A few months back we bought two chickens, Marx and Eggels in the hope that they would provide us with a near endless supply of fresh, delicious free range eggs. Sure enough by the end of November, just as we were giving up hope that either would ever provide us with anything other than vague entertainment, Marx started to lay and we have had an egg every day since then.
The excitement of opening the hatch every morning and finding a perfectly formed egg sitting atop a pile of straw hasn’t dulled. Nor has the novelty of eating them freshly poached, happy in the knowledge that they have travelled no furter than ten metres in their journey from chicken to plate.
But it soon became obvious that Eggels was something of a late developer. Her comb hadn’t grown, she didn’t seem to be putting on any weight and she spent a long time seemingly imitating John Cleese doing a Ministry of Silly Walks sketch. We contacted Cambridge Poultry, where we bought our two revolutionary chicks, and the conclusion was that we had invested in an ‘odd-bod hen’ who didn’t seem destined to lay anything other than epic amounts of chicken poop.
As such, we were offered a replacement, free of charge. Perhaps replacement is the wrong word because there was never any question that Eggels would be returned to sender or end up in the pot. She’d become a pet quite rapidly and we couldn’t even consider the possibility of turning her into food. We’d just let her peck her way around the garden, enjoy our hospitality and generally live the good life.
Just after Christmas we finally got round to picking up chicken number three, Poulet, or Pou, for short. She’s a feisty little chick with a revolutionary zeal stronger even than the other two. So much so that I’ve nicknamed her Henin (in order to keep up the Communist theme).
But then something odd happened. I noticed this:
An egg sitting merrily in our recycling box. I had no idea how long it had been there - whether it was freshly laid or if it had survived three or four frosts but either Marx was laying more than her fair share or Eggels, spurred into action by the threat of a new arrival, had finally started to fulfil her destiny.
And I wasn’t sure which until yesterday when I looked out of the office window and saw Eggels sitting in her newspaper nest looking very pleased with herself, something distinctly egg-shaped underneath her feathery bottom. After she’d got bored and flown off to try and find some bugs to eat I went out to confirm my suspicions and there it was. An Eggels egg.
It may have taken a while, but it was definitely worth the wait.
With Pou due to start laying in the next few weeks I dare say that we will have more than enough to keep us in delicious breakfasts with plenty left over to make sweet tasty items like crème brulee and cinnamon meringues (more on those to follow). I might just have to start baking…