Chickens: The Bantams

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.

DSC_0010I 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.chickens rowLuckily, 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.DSC_0015My 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.DSC_0007 (1)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.DSC_0008 (1)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).DSC_0003I 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).DSC_0007I, 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.DSC_0002Poor 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!Elvis SickShe 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.IMG_20160317_115805The 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.Elvis ShoulderShe also loves to ride on shoulders, like some kind of crazy hen parrot.DSC_0008article-2310437-1959E822000005DC-279_634x450Prompting 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 😦DSC_0004The 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.DSC_0003 (1)DSC_0005There is, of course, the egg bonus.  All of my Bantams lay daily too, which is just fab. They must be happy 🙂bantam eggsThe 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!DSC_0001But 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 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Chickens: The Bantams

  1. Hey dear Beth, I’ve loved reading your posts about your chickens! I love Elvis, the hair is amazing! You take great care of them and it sounds like their wonderful pets to have around, all those eggs too! Hope your having a lovely week and time to relax at home, love safxxx

    • Elvis rocks! She really is so sweet, a bit of a nutter but she follows me around the garden whenever she’s out, demanding attention and cuddles. The pesky big ones always come into the house, and make themselves at home when we have the doors open, which is also quite funny, as long as they aren’t leaving any ‘little presents’ on the floor! Can’t wait to meet the new chicks, looks like 8 are likely to hatch, I’m a bit worried that the weather looks like it’s turning cold over the weekend, I’d kind of settled into it being a bit warmer so I might have to look at bringing the broodies indoors, although they should do a good job of keeping the chicks warm and happy anyway. We’ll see, all lots of fun! Hope you are well, Saffa, I need to get onto Instagram properly as I think that’s where you hang out these days. Bethxx

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