The star of the flock our Mille Fleur Cockerel - Caldwell II
(Still a bit bedraggled from his bravely defending the flock but getting back on form.)
See HERE for more information on this.
I decided to change the header photograph yesterday as I realised that one of the Hylines that was pictured was no longer with us. It made me look at Chicken World with fresh eyes when I went over, and see just who we still had.
Going over to clean out the hen houses, give the birds some corn or veggies as a treat or just to top up the drinkers or feeders is a natural thing and I talk to the girls and boys as I go about the jobs in hand, although I am sad whenever we lose a bird, it has become a way of life to lose the odd one every now and then, it does when you have so many, I usually document it on here when we do but just recently we have had a few deaths and numbers have gone down.
Some of them through the terrible weather, which is always harder for the more elderly birds, and some with the fox strikes that we have had recently, this is also caused by the bad weather, when a fox has to eat and feed it's young it will be extra wily in trying to sneak in when our backs are turned.
We lost our little Bantam White Hen last week while I was away, she had an unfortunate habit of hopping over the electric fence to roam around and was taken by an opportunist fox, the sad little pile of feathers near the fence shows she was trying to get back to safety when it happened.
So yesterday armed with my camera and a good memory I went over to snap just who we do have left. (I couldn't quite get all the birds in shot so some are representing their sisters.)
3 Black Marans - no names I don't know why, they are just known as 'the gang'
Our eldest Hyline - Gorgeous Girl
(the only one left of our rescue girls, she's a real character)
1 Amber White - Amber
3 Bluebelles - Belle, Beauty and Brandy
3 Lavender Pekin Bantams - Newbie, Poppy and Daisy
2 Black Maran Bantams - Titch and Tiny
1 Light Sussex Cockerel - Harold
His number one wife - 1 Light Sussex Hen - Harriet
Another Hyline - Mother Goose
(she hatched and raised the geese and as you can see is still busy playing Mother she is nearly always to be found sat on eggs!!)
Her children - 3 Chinese Grey Geese - Harry, Larry and Mo
(all girls....phew how lucky was that!)
They are usually to be found together as a group, but if I'm in Chicken World Larry and Mo hang out together ...
.. and Harry is to be found at my feet, or following close behind me.
So the Birdie Stocktake has revealed we have 20 birds.
10 full sized Hens
5 Bantam Hens
So Chicken World is a slightly emptier place than it used to be but they are all getting on well at the moment. Harold doesn't like Caldwell near his 'girls' but with 5 bantam hens to choose from Caldwell has been able to gather together his own little harem with some sneaky moves when Harold wasn't looking now that he is almost back to normal.
We are currently getting about six hens eggs, one or two bantam eggs and at least one goose egg every day, so we have enough for our own use and we can sell between two or three dozen a week, which means this pays for the feed and supplies for all the birds. At the moment we charge £1.30 for half a dozen hens eggs (we eat all the bantam eggs so the eggs we sell are similar to 'large' supermarket eggs) and £1 for two goose eggs.
It's lovely having our own chickens and although we have a lot less than we used to when we sold at Farmers Markets, our top ever figure was 50, it's nice to be still 'in the business' of supplying others with good free-range eggs.
I don't think I will ever be without chickens in the future, even in a tiny garden I would keep two or three. If you have a bit of time for them they make lovely pets, you simply can't beat cuddling a chicken, and the taste of a freshly laid hens egg for breakfast makes it all worthwhile.