I feel sorry for the hens when I rustle underneath them to feel for their next eggs. Not quite so sorry when they each peck my hand! But they’re not fierce — they just don’t want to be disturbed in their hormonal delirium.
The Barnies are the best layers we’ve had; their eggs are large and among the three, we usually get a couple eggs a day, in season. Now that we’ve got them netted off from the wild birds, their feeders are not so quickly emptied, so the price per egg has dropped for us rather dramatically. But laying is also constrained lately because the broody hens are persistent in their occupation of the nest box, so the third hen has nowhere to deposit her offering. By contrast, the white Cochins are less prolific and Amelia, our solitary Buff Orpington, is somewhere in between. Chickens of the early days of lockdown, when we brought in eggs to hatch, our little flock is a constant source of delight.
It will be nice if we can accommodate a broody hen or two, and maybe we can pass on some new chicks to another family. Doubtless they’d be mixed sex, as we don’t have the skill to differentiate day-old cockerels from hens. But still, they’d be ever so cute, and probably free to a good home.
The trick, however, will be to sort a good place and time for the eventual incubation. And our own logistics are all over the place. But I’m reminded that we decided to bring up our own little brood here in the East Allen valley, a generation ago, and it proved to be a wonderful place to raise a family.
Today, we can look back on those early family times, as children grew up and as life went on, and we can sigh with the memories. What we can remember, of course! As I’ve mentioned before, the good times seem to blur together, while the challenges are like salient spelks in a smooth piece of fine wood.
Although we didn’t do very well at maintaining family scrap books, we did accumulate a treasure trove of what I called ‘memorabilia’ that’s full of theatre programmes, tickets, newsletters, brochures, and a variety of things I couldn’t bear to throw out. If I can, I must try to identify the boxes of these treasures, as we move to sort out the loft, and see what further memories I can reveal.
Though we’re well beyond broodiness, of course, we can enchant ourselves again with the reminiscence, while we continue to pursue our new adventures.