The world’s oldest hen called Victoria has stunned her owners when she laid her first egg – in 13 YEARS.
Farmer Steve Cooper, 56, was shell-shocked when he found the perfectly-formed egg inside the coop of the elderly 17-year-old bird.
He had kept the black rock hen as a pet after she stopped producing eggs in late 2000 and never laid a single one since.
But after finding the first egg on April 24, Steve was stunned when he returned the next day to find Victoria had laid another one.
The cider producer and wife Christine suspected they may have been witch eggs – without yolks – but found they were perfectly normal.
Christine even cracked one egg open and fried it up, describing it as ‘delicious’.
Steve said he saved the old hen in 2002 when his mother wanted to take her to the slaughterhouse because she had stopped laying eggs in 2000.
Steve, who owns the farmhouse in Tutnall, Worcs., said: “We’ve had her since 2002 and she came from my mother who had three or four.
“They were all old girls and they weren’t laying so mother was going to kill them but I said don’t.
“We had them and they didn’t lay anymore but we kept them as pets because of their beautiful black feathers.
“Gradually all Victoria’s mates died and we were left with her.
“It was Wednesday last week when she laid an egg. I looked in and there was this small narrow egg in there.
“Hens can sometimes produce a witch egg to get the bad out of them but the following day she did another one.
“I’ve kept the second one in a box and my wife ate the first one. We opened it to check it wasn’t a witch egg, but it was lovely, my wife said it was delicious.”
Steve and Christine, an occupational therapist working for the NHS, currently have 40 hens in total – 17 of which still lay eggs.
Experts believe Victoria may have laid the two eggs because being taken out of a flock has increased her female hormones.
Steve said: “An expert told me it’s possible that she has been taken out of the flock so she doesn’t have to be dominant.
“Now she is on her own, she may have increased her female hormone levels.
“She’s got no conflict with anyone so is just relaxing which has kicked back the female hormones and released the last few eggs she had left.”
The couple, who have no children, named the 17-year-old hen after Queen Victoria because of her black feathers and bad mood swings.
They believe she could be the oldest hen in the world and say she won’t be put down even if she doesn’t lay another egg.
Steve added: “I’ve never heard of a hen older than 15 or 16-years-old. My mother has had hens for 50 years and we have some that are 10-years-old.
“She was named after Queen Victoria because she has got black plumage and has a very disapproving face.
“Victoria doesn’t like other hens much and is really an old misery guts. She is very violent, if anyone crosses her she will jump on top of them and peck them.
“We’ve only caught her about three times in the 11 years we have had her.
“But even if she doesn’t lay any more eggs, she won’t be put down, she can enjoy a long retirement.”