Limited edition hens and eggs

At last. I lifted up the nesting box on Sunday and discovered a stunning pale-blue egg. More than a fortnight later than usual – and is traditional for pure breeds like our lovely Araucanas who are meant to begin laying again around Valentine’s Day – it was even more keenly anticipated than in previous years.


A slightly rough shell suggested production was a tad rusty after the long autumn and winter period off and since then we’ve had some smoother offerings. But never mind the packaging – the beautifully orange, large yolk more than made up for this. As soon as I saw it I knew which of the girls had laid – a rounder shape and deeper blue told me straightaway that it was Audrey’s. Mabel still hasn’t followed suit sadly, but I’m hoping any day now that her diminutive, pointier, paler eggs will be waiting for collection in the nesting box.

It’s that time of year again when drafting in some new birds is most tempting. The flock of hybrids are doing great – I’ve another dozen eggs to sell today – but we’d like some more pet chickens like the Araucanas. I’ve had my eye on a pair of Silkies for a while now, but during my research for an article I’m writing on rare livestock breeds (see the June issue of Country Living, on sale 3 May!), that I realised I should be seeking out some of those endangered native kinds and helping their survival (see the list from the Rare Breeds Survival Trust by clicking here). The Marsh Daisy (pictured below), developed in Lancashire in the 19th century,  is one of those most under threat. Of course, the trouble is that obtaining hens of this kind is difficult due to their scarcity. I’ve emailed the Marsh Daisy Breed Society secretary and am hoping she can suggest a source. Anyone else keeping rare breed chickens?


6 thoughts on “Limited edition hens and eggs

  1. Super post! I keep Australorps and a Scots Dumpy. It’s definitely important to keep rare breeds going, and I do what I can to encourage anybody who will listen.
    Also, On your blogroll you have an inactive blog listed. They haven’t written anything new in over 6 months. Feel free to add my blog to your list if you are after a diary-like blog that is about beginners. 🙂

    1. Hi Nessa,

      Great to hear from you. How do you find the Scots Dumpy? It’s a stnnuning breed, isn’t it? Are they good layers and do they go broody easily? Will certainly list your blog – looks really interesting.

      All the best,


      1. Hi Ruth,
        Yes the Scots Dumpy does go broody. She’s such a busy hen and unfortunately doesn’t really like humans and always darts away when we go into the garden to avoid us. Mind you she will tentatively feed out of our hands in the evenings!

  2. Hi have amongst my hens 1 buff marsh daisy cockeral and 1 ixworth hen and would like to breed from the cockeral but stuggleing to source marsh daisy hens or eggs


    1. Hi Diane

      Hi Diane,

      Great that you want to help keep this rare poultry breed going. May I suggest you get in touch with Rare Breeds Survival Trust and enquire about posting an advertisement in their directory area? See

      Good luck with your mission.

      Best wishes,


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