My email inbox has been buzzing with links to yesterday’s NYT Straight From the Home Coop story. It’s a great article and includes recipes as well as anecdotes from urban and rural flock keepers. While reading it, I was reminded yet again of the mysterious and soothing effect a flock of hens has on the soul.
Those wise little feathered ladies know how to mark the rhythms of the day: rouse with the first light of dawn, preen and peck, then forage in the yard for morning bugs. After that, it’s time to get to work – there are eggs to be laid and egg songs to be sung. Loudly! More bug searches ensue and then, perhaps it’s time to find a sun-lit spot for a relaxing dirt bath. Late afternoon walkabouts to work off all the treats that have been begged that day and finally, time to cluck softly about the day’s events and meander back to the coop as the light fades into the western sky. Good work if you can get it!
Much of what I read in the article was already familiar to me – I’ve seen first hand the uptick in egg-laying as winter passes to spring and daylight hours lengthen – we’ve been spoiled with eggs of late! And I knew that the chocolate-brown eggs from Black Copper Marans like our Tulip were designated by Ian Fleming as James Bond’s favorites.
But I hadn’t heard about the Cream Legbar; a breed that sounds like a yummy confection and lays a pretty blue egg.
The venerable Greenfire Farms, which claims to be the only U.S. source of the breed, provides an informative description of the Cream Legbar’s history on their web site. Developed in England from a cross of the brown leghorn, the barred Plymouth Rock, and the South American Araucana, the Cream Leghorn combines the prolific laying ability of a Leghorn with the colorful egg of the Araucana and makes for a lovely little lady of a hen. I’m guessing the inclusion of Barred Rock makes for a more settled temperament since Leghorns are known to be flighty.
For flock keepers, in addition to the lovely eggs, a major benefit of the Cream Legbar is that they are what is known as an auto-sexing breed, meaning that the pattern and coloring of the newly-hatched chick is different in the male than the female so that the birds can be easily sexed.
I thought I had every chicken breed I wanted, and now along comes the Cream Legbar. Little Luna had better watch out – if she doesn’t decide to lay an egg pretty soon, she could find herself swapped out for better model!