Old Faces

You can tell a lot by looking at a hen’s head. Young laying hens will have full red combs and shiny eyes with an inquisitive glint. Sick hens will have darker, muddier-colored, often deflated combs and glassy eyes. Old hens have their own look.

Edwina has always been a sturdy, no-nonsense hen. She has managed to reach the ancient age of eight, and although slower and no longer laying eggs, she remains as sturdy and no-nonsense as ever. Much to her chagrin, she is no longer the boss hen.  Her comb, though not bright red, is full and still has color to it. This is a hen who knows what’s what.



Twinkydink has also survived past her eighth hatchday. Most chickens don’t, but she has; perhaps this longevity is due to her steady temperament and naturally strong constitution. Lately, though, her comb has turned a dull, almost grey color and has shriveled up. I don’t see any other external signs of decline. Hens like Twinkydink don’t let on to weakness until the end is very near. However, I’m sure there must be major internal changes for her comb to look so pale. She’s lived beyond a normal lifespan, and so I’ll let her be to leave it on her own terms. It could be quite awhile. Or not. You never know with old hens.

Twinky head


The other day she spent an afternoon free-ranging with her flock. Twinkydink took a sun bath while the others ran hither and yon. Then she had a walk-around, foraging on grass. Steady as she goes. No wonder she’s survived so long. The younger hens like to graze near her. I think that Twinkydink, who used to be a bully, has taken on the role of the wise old hen. Which just goes to show that personal transformations can happen at any age, and it’s good to stay open to changes in your companions.

Twinky and Twiggy


  1. Hi! We’ve been watching the hencam on and off, and are trying to catch the moment when you open the door to let them out! We’d love to see the excitement of the new day out. What time of day do you usually do that? Enjoying your blog as I watch my first ever hen with her 8 chicks! :)

  2. Looks like Twinkydink’s companion in the photo just laid an egg! Have a great day Little Pond Farm!

  3. I watched Twiggy lay her egg also. Looks painful. Like us pushing to have a baby. Twiggy is a trooper.

    • PS- Edwina’s eyes look as sharp as ever. Barr Rocks don’t seem to miss a thing. It doesn’t surprise me these two hens have thrived for so long. First, in my little flock, my australorp and barr rock are head hens. They just seem to have all the answers. They also stand their ground. Also, because you and your helpers give such great care to the animals at Little Pond. Still great looking matriarchs…..

      • My broodys, I have had 3, definitely had a crazy look in their eyeswhile broody. And the strangest vocalizations.

  4. Edwina still looks good for an 8 year old!

    My eldest is about 5, she is still going strong, but yesterday I found a “Lash” in the nesting box. I couldn’t find much info on the web about them. I was wondering if you have had any experience with them, and if there is anything I should be doing to compensate (e.g. diet)?

  5. Edwina looks amazing! One wouldn’t guess she was eight years from hatching. The head shot of Twinkydink is lovely and endearing. Her years show, but she seems calm and wise. And the photo of her with Twiggy looks to me like the student tagging along beside the wise old sage. I love both of these pics.

    • x 2 … and Twinkydink’s friendship with Buffy is so special and endearing.