Having established that chickens, with the exceptions of cats, are the best pets EVER and you get the eggs (bonus!) I wasn’t content with my three hybrid girls, lovely though they are, and I longed for some purely fun chucks.
I pretty much scoured the internet for weeks, trying to decide what to get and where from. It was very early in the season, so little was around and if there’s one thing I have noticed, there is a total lack of local, decent, chicken ‘selling’ websites. I do like a good website, I like photos, descriptions and an accurate showing of availability (or a good guesstimate) etc. I am not very good with sites that just have lists of chickens, with no images and no indication of what is currently in stock.Luckily, I found a place in Kent that updates its site weekly and shows well what they have, so we pottered over one weekend (after calling ahead) to pick up some Bantams.My plan was to get four, and I really wanted it to include a Light Sussex and a Lavender Pekin, I didn’t want Silkies and the others would be down to what was there when we visited.
The boys had other plans.First to be chosen was a Frizzle Poland now named ‘Elvis(seena)’. Felix fell in love and I was swayed, despite her costing more than any of the other chickens and looking rather daft. Daft in a kind of fab way, I should add.Charlie then sulked because he wanted to choose so we ended up with a little black Silkie called ‘Puffles’ (I should know better than to let my kids name animals).I did get to choose the last two, so I did get my Light Sussex Bantam ‘Ava’ (Gardner) (top photo) and a very pretty Silver Birchen Pekin, called ‘Greta’ (Garbo).I, basically, was sad not to have got my Lavender Pekin, so I went back the next day….and came back with a Porcelain Pekin, ‘Audrey’ (Hepburn…I am so much better at naming things than my kids 😉 )…because she was soooo pretty and friendly and I got swayed, as you do.Poor Audrey got a respiratory sickness shortly after she arrived 😦 She was absolutely 100% healthy when we got her, as where all the other chickens the was penned with, I assume the move had simply stressed her out and brought out mycoplasma but she was a sick little thing, breathing like Darth Vader and sneezing. I separated her out (lucky I kept the old guinea pig cage) and she spent two weeks indoors getting well on antibiotics. Oh yes, sick chicken on table whilst children eat, bet that’s freaking a few people out!She recovered just in time for Elvis to get sick. I was pretty convinced that Elvis wouldn’t make it, actually. One thing that worked amazingly well was steaming the chickens. I had boiling water creating steam, that was directed into the cage and each time, afterwards, the chickens really perked up and then ate, which they clearly struggled to do when they were all bunged up. With Elvis, I had to syringe water into her (which contained the antibiotics) as she refused to eat, drink or move. Again, each time, after she’d had water, she perked up and then went on to eat a little. I know most people would have just culled her, but I had the time to nurse her and just couldn’t bring myself to do it and we did win in the end.The big bonus of her having been indoors for a couple of weeks, is that Elvis became even more tame then she originally was. She loves sitting in knees and being petted.She also loves to ride on shoulders, like some kind of crazy hen parrot.Prompting a Face Book post of one boy and his chicken….which weirdly, I posted on the day it was later announced that Barry Hines had died. Sad 😦The Bantams are just the very best. They are all very, very tame and the little Silkie, Elvis and Audrey, especially, like to be handled. I love how all the chickens follow us around the garden when we’re outside or try to come indoors for a nose around. I can totally understand why they are recommended as pets for people with young children, and as the Pekin Bantams have feathered feet they really don’t do much damage to the garden.There is, of course, the egg bonus. All of my Bantams lay daily too, which is just fab. They must be happy 🙂The Light Sussex lays bigger eggs, as you’d imagine (bottom, right) but I do have a soft spot for the little white eggs we get from the others. The boys have a regular 5 egg fry up from them which always makes me laugh!But the boys are away at the moment (and have been for over a week) and I’m struggling to keep up on my own. I’ve already made two batches of ice cream, various omelettes and a big Quiche in the last week and it’s not making much of a dent…that’s the down side of all my neighbours also having chickens, there is no-one directly around to give the eggs to 🙂