This week, I was reminded of the usefulness of Twitter. After last Friday’s blog, CL’s editorial assistant – and social media guru – Caroline consulted fellow users about miniature eggs on my behalf:
@countrylivinguk: Features editor @CLchick’s hens contend ‘World’s Smallest Egg’ title. Can anyone top their offering?
This was then kindly retweeted by @HenCorner’s Sara Ward, based in West London, through which I virtually met Shropshire-based writer and chicken breeder Andy Cathray (@chickenstreet) who advised that a miniature egg is called a witch or cock egg. My favourite name for such tiddlers, however, is a fairy egg, which came from Lancashire’s @homefarmer who’d had two delivered that very week. It was great to connect with hen enthusiasts across the country and it made me realise how neglectful of Twitter I’ve been.
From Tweets to the clucks of happy hens; over the past few balmy days, it’s been a pleasure to watch the hybrid flock scratching about in the scrubby bit of land by their run, while Audrey and Mabel have enjoyed free-ranging among the daffodils, obliging to pose for the occasional picture.
I’m still to settle on what breed of hen their future companions will be – we’d like another pair to share their run – but in the meantime we’ve been in touch with a Somerset-based farmer of rare-breed Ixworth chickens who can send us some fertile eggs around June time. The beauty of these ‘utility’ birds (meaning good for laying and eating) is that if the chicks all turn out to be cockerels, James will simply rear them for meat – any pullets will be a bonus and will be kept for eggs. We look forward to receiving a clutch in the post!
PS The campaign group 38 degrees has set up a petition calling for an immediate ban of neonicotinoids and a reduction in the use of pesticides on bee-pollinated crops, to be sent to Secretary of State for Environment Owen Paterson. To sign it, click here