Ode to the White Star

Two of the White Stars fresh from the breeder and ready to be introduced to the flock

As all henkeepers know, the number of eggs you can expect from your flock drops at this time of year, correlating with the diminishing daylight. Some birds simply shut up shop – and who can blame them, no doubt reserving energy to help get them through the winter ahead, while others lay less frequently. Yet, there are those hardcore hens who keep calm and carry on through thick and thin. The principal exponent of this approach in our flock is the White Star. This wonderful creature is remarkably slight, with beautifully snowy feathers and an outrageously out-sized comb that flops about atop her tiny head. She’s a flighty breed with little interest in affection – or so we’ve found – but what is indisputable is her prolific laying ability.

One of the White Stars (right) with the Black Rock (left) and Bluebelle (centre)

We’ve three of this hybrid breed in the rabble down the end of the garden and boy do they lay! Out of the offerings we have each day – currently, roughly eight from 15 birds – there are always three perfectly white eggs.

Those white-egg layers really are star performers

Curiously, the only complaint I’d make about these – and it’s extremely ungrateful of me to do so at all, I know – is that the yolks are distinctly yellow rather than the beautiful rich orange that the others are, resulting from greens and corn. I don’t know why they stubbornly remain the standard-issue colour, but criticism is rather churlish of me considering they make up the shortfall in yield from the other hybrids (many of whom are now also probably past laying years being four or five) meaning this morning I have enough to fill the half-dozen box for Chris the Art Editor at Country Living, my most loyal customer, and that this lovely pastime is paying for itself – happy henkeeping indeed.

The hybrids at breakfast time

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