As well as our Large Black pigs, we have a flock of nine laying hens here at Berllan, who provide us with the most wonderful and beautifully coloured free-range eggs. Overseeing the flock and keeping them safe is Spike, our cream legbar cock (a cockerel is under one year old, and a cock over). Although hens will happily lay without a cock present, having one allows the flock to develop a much more natural dynamic as no hen is forced to take the position of "top bird". Since Spike arrived our birds have been much more settled and the one that used to be a bit of a bully is a reformed character.
Sadly we lost some birds to foxes when they were free-ranging during the day, so they now have a large, secure pen and come out to free-range under supervision. They love looking for worms on the muck-heap and having dust baths in the haybarn, not to mention scrounging corn off us. All our hens are named and have very individual characters, from Lucy the leghorn cross who will happily sit anywhere for corn, including on my head, to Bambi the amber who loves fuss, and Mara the legbar cross, the reformed bully, who wants to lay her beautiful blue eggs anywhere other than in the nestboxes provided.
We have now hatched eleven eggs in an attempt to breed green and olive egg-layers. The young birds are friendly and very entertaining.
Our surplus eggs are available to buy at the farm for £1.50 per half dozen - just let us know you are coming so we will be here.