My new little hens are all settling in very well. I have introduced new hens to the flock many times, and know that it is normally a loud and quite vicious process, but for some reason this time, the eglu and run have been very harmonious. No shouting or bullying or pecking at all. I am not sure why; perhaps because my older two are now very elderly - nearly 8 years old - so they are not as bothered about the arrival of three young upstarts as they would have been a few years ago.
The older ones have not been laying properly for a few years now - Maud not at all, and Queenie only intermittently. However, with the arrival of the new ones, Queenie has rediscovered her egg-laying powers and is currently giving me an egg a day. Ethel, the young, black, maran-cross hen is also now laying every day. Bertha and Adelaide look ready to lay, but haven't produced anything yet.
So most days, this is what is waiting for me in the nest box.
An enormous pale egg from Queenie, and a little dark one from Ethel.
On Saturday I used one of Ethel's little eggs to make digestive biscuits. The recipe (from the wonderful Peyton & Byrne baking book) called for "1 small egg", so I knew immediately which one to use. I cut the biscuits out with my chicken cookie cutter, and had a whole flock of buff-coloured chickens, cooling on my kitchen table. I decided I wanted chocolate digestives, so I painted the chickens with melted Green & Blacks milk chocolate (thereby making them more Ethel-coloured, which was fitting).
I'd not made digestive biscuits at home before, and was delighted to find out that they are very quick and easy, and satisfyingly authentic. It's a good job Ethel's laying regularly, because the biscuits only hung around for a couple of days. Yum!