Imogen

In Brief

Galline Overlord Imogen, 5 July 2013

last updated 1.7.13

Hatched: 11th November 2011

Weight: 2.6 kg

Breed: Dorking

Current Status: in lay

Total number of eggs: 180
Biggest egg: 67 g
Smallest egg: 24 g
Average weight: ? g

egg DK4The Arrival

Imogen was the only pullet from Poppy’s ill-fated 2011 Quartet. And she nearly didn’t make it – we had to help her hatch. But help her we (very circumspectly) did, out of egg DK4. So cute!

The Name

Imogen at three days old, 14 Nov 2011Imogen was actually named by her siblings. Strange, but true. From a shortlist of eight vaguely Shakespearean possibilities, all three of her siblings selected the same name. What can I say? It suits her!

Laying

Imogen laid her first egg on March 30th – a lovely teeny-weeny little 24 g shell-pink egg. She does, unfortunately, make as much noise as the other Dorking girls do. Oh well. So far she’s proved to be a steady but not spectacular layer – 165 eggs in her first twelve months of laying, with the best monthly tally being 22 eggs in October 2012. Her usual pattern is to lay for two days, then take a day off. So fairly typical Dorking, without being at the top end of the Dorking productivity range. But plenty good enough for us.

And

Imogen at three weeks, 28th November 2011Being the only girl in a flock of four wasn’t easy for her. After being separated from Ben and Robin, Imogen and Davy lived together for quite a while – up until his decapitation, as it happens. And so became quite accustomed to the … attentions … of a rooster. That was the downside. The upside was that she was introduced to the main flock in the company of said rooster, and so managed to leap straight to the top of the (female) pecking order. The only hen who bossed her was Poppy (when she finally returned to the flock after raising the autumn clutch).Imogen, winsome at four weeks

She stayed at number one for quite a while, right up until she made the fatal mistake of going broody. Claire, opportunist toad that she is, took advantage straight away. And so did Ella. So these days she’s more or less top-ish, with Claire, Ella and Poppy the only ones routinely above her in the pecking order.

Imogen at 13 weeksAs a pullet, she was enormously sooky. Adored cuddles, and would often hurl herself into my arms, or leap onto my back. (Or bum. She didn’t really mind which.) After she joined the main flock, she became a lot more self-contained, and stopped wanting to snuggle. She’d still come and sit on my knee for a little while if I sat down in the run, but was happy being a Chicken Among Chickens. But gradually she’s relaxed more into her status, and is back to being a People Chicken – now pretty much guaranteed to leap onto my knee or shoulder at least once per visit to the run. She is a darling.Imogen, 15 April 2012

Unfortunately she’s a poor example of her breed. Lovely as she is, she isn’t a good Dorking. Her colouring has gotten worse as she’s gotten older – instead of silver grey pencilling on her wings and back, she has a sort of beige tint – what is known as ‘cinnamon’ markings by budgerigah breeders. Imogen in the Orchard, 15 April 2012There’s heaps of foxing in her wings, she’s small (Dorkings are a large breed), her shape is too upright, and her comb just not quite the right shape. Plus her eggs, lovely as they are, are even more tinted than those of the barred rock girls! So she won’t be the foundation of a bloodstock empire, and despite her lovely nature, probably won’t be used to breed from. But then that’s not our main reason for keeping chooks – the joy of our interactions with them is. And she gives us plenty of that.

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