Our Hens

On IG, I frequently post pictures of the wonderful eggs we’ve been getting here. We got our first 2 hens almost exactly 1 year ago, and have expanded to a flock of five. On the one year anniversary, I figure it’s time to meet the cast of characters.

This Cochin is our flock favorite. She has feathery feet, the most beautiful plumage, a really gentle nature and generally accepts all hens equally. We haven’t seen her be mean ever. Of our hens, she was among the orignal 2, but was the last to start laying. Quite the late bloomer, but we love her pink speckled eggs.

This is our Salmon Favorelle, who is also from our original two and also has feathery feet. She is bossy and the leader of the flock, making it very clear who’s who in the pecking order. She produces the most delicious small cream colored eggs – the yolks are the creamist of our flock, and we love them soft boiled or over-easy. Unfortunately, she is also the most vocal and hates being cooped up, so we frequently joke (or not) about turning her into chicken phở.

To these original two, we added to the flock a trusty Red Star, specifically chosen for her reliability in laying brown eggs. Many conventional farms use the red star breed to mass produce consistent brown eggs – it’s what the breed was bred to do. Our specific Red Star has tried to usurp the Salmon Favorelle, and the both of them are very vocal with each other. Now I think they co-exist in relative harmony. Red Star is also the most courageous of our flock – never shy to try the new foods we provide them, and almost always the first to eat grubs, larvae and other treats from our hands.

With the Red Star, we also added this lovely Ameraucana, and she is famous for her green eggs. Unlike the others, she is skittish and very fowl-like. She is independent, seems indifferent to our presence and stoically tolerates but does not reinforce the pecking order.

The last to be added to our flock is this little girl Blue Wheaten Ameraucana, who produces small blue eggs. It’s generally not a good idea to introduce a single, young pullet to a flock, as she’ll likely be bullied, but we protected her from the pecking and torment of the Favorelle and Red Star until she was big enough to fend for herself. As a little girl, she would often fly up onto David’s shoulder as it was the safest perch away from the others. Even now, she’s still the runt and at the bottom of the pecking order, but is a little bit smarter and faster, and able to secure her portion of her snacks and treats before the others get to it.

We are currently getting 4-5 eggs per day, depending on the weather. In the very near future, we’ll be adding a black copper maran (for those dark chocolate eggs) and likely bantam cochin for their gentle behavior and lovely features. In a future post, I’ll share other hen-tending tips and tricks for those of you who may be interested in starting your own brood. In the meantime, the Backyard Chicken community is a great place to start.

Chocolate Pudding
Source: Tyler Florence
Every so often, I get a bad case of chocolate cravings and I can’t ignore it or wish it to go away. Instead, I feed it… I feed it this chocolate pudding recipe, and it’s perfect. Quick and easy and oh-so satisfying. Be sure to use good cocoa powder (now is the time to pull out the Valrhona), the best eggs you can find (from our yard!), and good milk (Straus Family Creamery). I’m not usually an ingredient snob, but for something so simple, it’s important to use quality ingredients.

2 c whole milk
1/2 c sugar
1/3 c cocoa powder
4 tsp cornstarch
3 large egg yolks
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp fine salt
freshly whipped cream

Put 1-1/2 cups of the milk and sugar into a nonreactive saucepan, and bring to a very low simmer over medium-high heat, without scalding the milk. Remove from the heat, but keep warm.

Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 1/2 cup of the milk, egg yolks, and vanilla in a bowl. Sift the cocoa powder and cornstarch right into the bowl to prevent any lumps and stir to combine. Pour 1 cup of the hot milk into the egg mixture to help temper the custard, so that it does not scramble. Continue to whisk and add the remaining hot milk. Return the chocolate custard to the saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until the liquid boils, constantly whisking to prevent burns. Once boiling, reduce heat to maintain a small simmer, and continue to whisk until thick and resembles the consistency of pudding, up to about 5 minutes.

Pour the warm pudding into individual cups. I used little tea cups. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before consuming. To serve, remove cups from fridge and top with a dollop of freshly whipped cream. Enjoy.

Like I said, this recipe is really simple. Prep/cook time takes about 20 minutes, and there’s that bit of waiting for the pudding to cool and set. I checked the pudding cups at the 2 hour mark and was impatient and just ate a whole cup then – they were fine. Not quite cold, but cool enough to be pudding and not liquid custard. This recipe is really chocolatey and velvety and not too sweet – infinitely better than the processed cups you find at the grocery store. This is totally worth the (small) effort, so go treat yourself, and make this chocolate pudding.

Thanks for reading!

This entry was posted in Recipes. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Our Hens

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s