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Malay hen is on her game

Malay hen is on her game

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A hen from a much-maligned breed is proving a great surrogate mum, SIMON WEBSTER reports.

I have heard the Malay game chicken breed spoke of disparagingly. They are called Malay because they “may lay”, some people say, in a sly dig at their less-than-prodigious egg-laying skills.

“Best place for them is in a casserole,” others have said, while admiring their muscular thighs and criticising their alleged tendency to peck at eggs in the nest.

However, I have nothing for praise for my Malay game, who not only looks like a real chicken that just stepped out of a prehistoric rainforest (chickens are, after all the closest living things to T-Rex), but has proved that she still has what it takes: she has just spent 28 days sitting on eight duck eggs, and all eight have hatched. 

I put the duck eggs under Malay when she went broody (something ducks rarely seem to do; it’s a wonder the species has survived this long) and she did the job admirably.

Now she is the proud mother of octuplets, albeit very strange octuplets who don’t seem to want to scratch but would rather splash about in a paint tray full of water.