The hens have started laying again – a sure sign the days are getting longer. Our flock is a heritage breed, Barnevelders, with copper and black plumage. The eggs are brown and some are distinctively spotty. Each hen lays a signature egg: big spots or tiny, dark or light brown, even pink from one of the girls.
The hens are not pets and we have named only a few, the ones that need special care. One chick, Patsy, had a curled foot. Despite our efforts to straighten it, sequestering her and trying a splint, the bum leg was hers for life. Watching her soldier on, despite all the difficulty she faced, giving us eggs to boot, was a daily lesson in perseverance. She passed away one evening last summer, nestled in the dense bed of perennial phlox that is a favorite flock hangout and shelter from hawks. Who would have ever guessed we could so miss a chicken.