Broody, moody and Tattoo much attitude

Ally's Col

Ally's Col

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Chick, chick, chick, chick, chick-en! Lay a li’l egg for me – so I can earn a little ‘pin money’ as my late mum used to call it.

That’s one – and the only one, should you ask my husband his opinion – of the benefits of keeping chooks.

Farm gate sales. Tax free. I have your attention. It helps pay for the feed and offsets the costs (a wee bit) of my main obsession.

I take the selling of eggs very seriously. I have my regular customers, I buy in the egg boxes, and The Young Master designs the labels which are carefully stuck on with PVA glue (child-friendly, ye ken). And they are very ... original.

The latest label, just coming through features a rainbow-tailed cockerel (yes, a cockerel, not a hen) and the words ‘Award-winning Eggs’.

And they are. At the annual Peebles Poultry Show, no less. As they were last year, and the year before. Ahem.

I know Easter was the other week, but eggs are very much on my mind just now. I now believe – despite the fact the clocks have changed and the nights are much, much lighter – that Spring may actually be on its way at loooooong last.

I can confidently say this because I have ... a broody hen. Correction, a very broody hen. And as of this afternoon, she is sitting on seven eggs. Hardened hennies and proper smallholders will be scoffing over their 200-egg incubators at this tiny number.

But I am in possession of the World’s Smallest Goldtop (Light Sussex 
X Silkie) Hen with the 
biggest personality, the poultry 
equivalent of Tattoo from Fantasy Island (all together now: ‘Boss, Boss! De plane, de plane!’).

Titchy, feisty and a great bouffant hairdo. She bought a one-way ticket to Broodytown a few days ago and started hogging a nest box, repelling all attempts by other – much larger – hens to evict her to use it.

So now she’s in a big, comfy nest in a coop all of her very own. Sitting tight on seven mixed eggs like those below.

Try and move her and you’ll get a nasty nip. Leave her and she’ll happily sit, growling. Yes, growling.

Bet Tattoo never growled at Ricardo Montalban.