As a farmer, I have to treat my hens without sentiment; when they pass their peak laying year, they have to go. This week I took the oldest hens, the beautiful Black Australorps, and gave them to my Ethiopian friend, who eats them. I’ve made one exception so far, the Hamburg hen we call Houdini for her ability to find a way out of the chicken run. She’s a small hen, and although she’s almost three years old, she still lays well. She doesn’t eat much, being petite, and she seems the smartest of all the hens so she has earned her spot.
A friend told me of a farmer on the Hudson who feeds his hens paprika peppers to turn the yolks red. I am going to give this a try if I can grow some paprika peppers. In the meantime, I bought a pound of ground paprika and added it to the laying mash. We’ll see. Even though the yolks are just orange at the moment, they are still delicious. This one cooked with fresh turmeric, onions, and spinach from the garden.
I haven’t planted much this spring because of the drought, but the spinach self-seeded, and I have more than I can use. Sure makes a terrific breakfast!