Friday, 3 February 2012


I met Henny about 7 years ago when I first moved into the village where I still live.
I remember it well it was 10th February 2005 a cold but quite sunny day, funny really because we don't really get much sun here even in summer! Henny, who lives just over the road with her husband Dave was kind enough to bring over a tray of tea and biscuits a lovely gesture and one that was very welcome as the farm house we were moving into was built in 1774 and had been unoccupied for about 3 years, needless to say it was freezing!
Getting settled into country life has been very interesting, I am now the proud owner of one black Labrador called Nellie or Nellie-Noo to her friends (she came on holiday for 2 weeks and never left) one cat called Chester a Scottish Fold and Ragdoll cross (he was bought to catch mice but never leaves the house and is also the BOSS of us all), 11 apricot Call ducks (some with names but not all), 2 Aylesbury ducks called George and Mildred and finally 5 hens, Lucy a Bluebell, 2 Buff Sussex called Winnie and Girlfriend and then 2 Buff Orpingtons with no names as they look like push-me-pull-me's from Dr Dolittle and you simply can't tell the difference between them!

So where do you go when you have problems with hens around here... simple...Henny Harris!
We hope you will like these postings, over the next few months Henny will enlighten you on all you need to know about our feathery friends we will fill you with information on eggy products, there will be a hen pin up of the month and we will give you ideas on how to do a vintage hen hut make-over!

And now I'll hand you over to the very lady herself...

New Hampshire Red

This lovely breed originated in the New England area of the USA, during the early 1900’s.  Farmers in Massachusetts and New Hampshire selectively bred the local Rhode Island Red chickens, in order to improve their vigour. They ended up going a little further than just producing an improved Rhodey, because in 1935 the New Hampshire Red was registered as a separate and distinct breed.  

Many breeds with the Rhodey in their genes have a classic ‘Little Red Hen’ look to them, and the New Hampshire Red is no exception.  She has orange-brown plumage, which can vary from a light sandy colour, to glossy auburn. The tips of her tail feathers are often black. She is a neat hen, with a nice rounded breast and a narrow tail end - none of that big-bottomed look that some of her sister chickens have. Her comb is described as ‘single’, and is usually quite big. In fact, some hens have the comb flopping to one side, which gives them a slightly comical look.  They are pretty good layers, and lay well during the winter months, which not all varieties will do. The eggs are nice and large, and their colour is described as brown. Brown usually means a rather uninteresting buff colour, although some strains can produce a dark brown egg.  

New Hampshire Reds go broody very easily. This is nice if you have a cockerel and want chicks. If not, make sure not to leave too many eggs in the nest, as, in warm weather, the sight will trigger broodiness. My New Hampshire Red, Nicole, is a naughty one for making secret nests in the bushes during the summer.  I have to find them before she has laid twelve eggs, because at that point she will ‘sit’ and stay out all night, completely unprotected from foxes. 

The New Hampshire Red was bred for hardiness, making it very suitable for a life as a free-range chicken, even in quite cold areas. In addition, they have a bravery that borders on cheekiness. This means that they make great pets for children, as they will eat gently from your hand, and don’t mind being picked up.  It also means that they are quite likely to be the chicken that finds its way into the house when the kitchen door has been left open, and you will never again eat your lunch in the garden in peace.

Henny Harris x

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