Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Chicken Portions

I seem to have no end of rear photos just recently! In chicken world everything is fine at the moment, she says, touching her head (wood) quickly. The new girls have settled in well, too well, one of them has decided she doesn't like being followed by a Jack Russell and mercilessly chases Rosy whenever she sees her to get the upper hand straight away. Feed times are a manic free for all, for the first five minutes at least then peace resumes and they all go around hoovering the grass for missed tasty morsels. In the hot afternoon sun the birds all take to the lilttle wooded area at the back of the house, and settle down for a siesta, little blobs of white, black and brown fluffed up against any breeze, eyes closed, relaxed. At piggy feeding time some of the lovely ladies follow me to the orchard and spend a happy hour helping the pigs tidy up. They pop in and out of the pig arks looking for bugs and insects and do a very good job of keeping the pigs bug free. There are lots of shady little avenues for them to forage up and down around the farm. All the birds range far and wide now, having the confidence to wander, worrying I know, but I'd rather they had freedom with a hint of danger than be caged and frustrated. The only exception to the caged rule is my lovely Lavender Pekin Bantams. They are tiny, only nine weeks old, but just starting to fill out and get lots of lovely new fluffy feathers. # The picture above is Caldwell, the Cockerel, with his favourite girl Isabel. The other three little ladies are called Prudence, Lucy and Alice, they are getting used to being held and chirp incessently. # They most likely will never be allowed to free range because even at full size they will be small, small enough to be carried away by the Buzzards and Red Kites that we have circling the farm. Once they are bigger we are going to adapt the old chicken enclosure for them, lower the perches and re-install comfortable nesting boxes. Safe behind bars they keep together. They are getting used to Sophie the dog running round and round the Eglu. Once again she is obsessed, remember the Welsummers when they arrived, she could not leave them alone. Again she has made a bare track of earth around the Eglu which she pounds incessently with a far away gleam in her eye. # So we have happy hens here on the farm. Thirty five in all. A nice mix of colours and sizes, and by and large they are getting on fine, they have quickly established their own pecking order, which was unusual to watch. The White Stars and Welsummers seem to know their place at the top of the order and were content to be aloof when the new girls arrived, it was the Speckledys who were quick to defend their postitions with much pecking and pulling of feathers. # Now peace reigns and they queue up in the morning to use the nesting boxes, sometimes happy to sit two in a box, laying us a glorious mixture of brown shaded and speckled eggs, we are averaging about 19 a day at the moment, with some of the new girls at point of lay. # Chicken Facts and Figures 5 White Star Hybrids - 3 years old (Little Lovely, Milly, Jemima, Molly and Capachino) 3 Welsummers - 1 year old (Bourneville, Coco and Fudge) 10 Speckledys - 30 weeks old (one named RoadRunner) 12 Rhode Island Red Hybrids - 22 weeks old (one named Gorgeous) 5 Lavender Pekin Bantams - 9 weeks old (Caldwell, Isabel, Prudence, Alice and Lucy) So 30 layers and 5 (eventual) breeding birds. # Happy hens (and cockerel, sorry Caldwell keep forgetting you're a boy!!) on a happy farm and now the sun has come out and melted all the frost I will go and give them their breakfast. # Sue xx

7 comments:

  1. Lovely !! chickens living as they should...very lucky girls oh and boy of course :)

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  2. I have to say Sue, your blog is one of my favourites. You live a life I'd love!! I used to have an Eglu for my chucks, a cute pink one that suited them just fine. However, you're wooden ones are gorgeous, really quaint with the cut out hole! K xxx

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  3. I don't know how you guys do all this AND keep things so orderly and tidy.

    It's very impressive.

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  4. A wonderful blog, a wonderful farm and great hens.. :-)

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  5. I've just bought some lavender/buff pekin bantam eggs on ebay. One of the bantams has gone broody so I'm going to let her sit on them. can't wait! :-)

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  6. They do look a happy crew. Great to have an update - I love how they sit on the pigs !

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  7. Lovely chicken photos- Lavender and buff pekins are my absolute all time favourites- yours look lovely. I have been promised I can have bantams again when we move to the cottage in the mean time my lovely layers at the stables keep me company
    Have a good weekend xx

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