I first wrote about these unique hens in May 2013. My Aunt Shirley picked them out when they were little fuzzy chicks. The last time I saw them they were just a few months old. Timid and shy without names or personalities.
Now they’re six months old. Morticia Addams, Lily Munster, Aunt Bee, Harriet Nelson, Lucy Ricardo, Ginger, MaryAnn, and Joanie. Yes, because of my last post I have the honor of having an egg-laying namesake!
For the curious chicken aficionados, their names and breed:
Morticia Addams – Black Australorp
|All the Girls
Lily Munster – Light Brahma
Aunt Bee – Brown Leghorn
Harriet Nelson – Silver Laced Wyandotte
Lucy Ricardo – Buff Orpington
Ginger – Ameraucana
MaryAnn – Ameraucana
Joanie – Dominique
Six of them lay brown eggs, but the two Ameraucanas, also known as Easter Eggers, lay pastel eggs. Easter Eggers are known to lay blue, pink or green eggs, but no one knew what will happen until they were old enough.
As September approached, eager eyes watched for signs of maturity – eggs would be coming soon.
|Ginger and Her Blue Egg
First a few brown eggs. Then blue eggs appeared. As you can see in the picture, they are beautiful bright blue eggs. Just like they’d been dyed, hence the name Easter Eggers.
The first eggs were tiny, about the half the size of store-bought.
Some hens announced their achievement, while others were more on the passive side. Joanie, known as a ‘mother hen’ is a helper to her flock mates. She will cluck and encourage a hen in the process of laying. Then she’ll settle down and just wait. If the one layer is loud afterward, Joanie she will join in the cluck-fest, letting everyone know the egg has arrived. I’m so proud of my namesake for being such an encouraging hen.
They tend to lay in the morning, usually not past ten, although sometimes it will happen later in the day. Shirley’s two grandchildren, Wyatt and Sami, were at the nesting boxes during the ‘big event’ a few days ago and actually saw an egg being laid.
|MaryAnn (with egg) and Lucy
Shirley’s hens lay about every two days. She gathers about ten during that time – more than enough for her family. She gave me eight during a visit and I was lucky enough to find two double-yoked among the tiny eggs. Although I’d never tasted brown (or blue) eggs before, there was no difference in taste to me.
In May they were timid and ran from noises. Now the three – Ginger, Aunt Bee, and Joanie don’t mind being picked up and petted, but the others seem to only tolerate my aunt being around them.
Ginger in the garden
Her hens roam free, but only when Shirley is outside with them. She is concerned about the feral cats in the neighborhood. Her own cats, Josie and Allie, enjoy hanging out with their feathered friends and everybody gets along quite well. Plus, the cats are enticed by the hen’s water – maybe it tastes like chicken? Sorry, couldn’t resist.
Shirley told me she loves to sit and watch her hens. “They make me laugh,” she said. She encourages anyone in proper zoning to get some, noting ten eggs every few days is definitely a plus. She added, “I plan to get two more in the spring, something fancy with head feathers if I can find them.” She also mentioned her grandchildren might show them at next year’s fair.
Thanks again Aunt Shirley for your help with this post and for the great pictures.