Chickens: What are they?

The truth is, I have no idea!!dsc_0034Two of the eggs that hatched came from Bowie and his little gang. At the time, he was kept with the ‘new’ chickens and Ava (Light Sussex), so of those two chicks (both the brown ones below) one is a Gold Laced Orpington bantam (Bowie) crossed with a Cream Crested Legbar (chick-with-no-name) and the other is crossed between Bowie and the new black Polish, Priscilla.dsc_0039The other two eggs came from Silver (also an Orpington bantam) and his little gang of Pekin girls, plus Puffles, Charlie’s little black Silkie. We’ve had a big mix up around here with the chickens as my neighbour was kind enough to take Silver for me. He kept fighting with Bowie and even though I went to great lengths to keep them apart, they kept jumping fences etc and it was a bit of a blood bath. I’m rather soft on Bowie, even though he has respiratory problems and I don’t think will have a long life, so it broke my heart to see him repeatedly bloodied and having the chicken version of a major asthma attack.  Silver was the aggressive one, Bowie used to peg it in my direction to hide whenever Silver jumped the fence. Anyhow, Silver now lives with some new girls and we can go visit if we wish. We are so lucky, we have great neighbours.DSC_0013DSC_0008So, here is one of the dark chicks (Bowie’s)…and I’m thinking (hoping) she’s a girl.DSC_0021DSC_0015And chicken two….boy, I fear.DSC_0019DSC_0003One of the Pekin/Silver chicks….girl, I think.DSC_0024And the last little one, who was the final egg to hatch…also a girl, I think. DSC_0028Let’s face it, I was totally wrong with the last chickens, but time will tell. We’re in a good position to keep one boy as I have three smaller runs, each with its own Eglu (they would be better in one run, with a Cube, but there is no way I can afford that), as long as they can all get along when they are free ranging which is why I let them all out together daily. I’m lucky that Bowie and Sargent Bilko get along quite well (SB lives with the big brown hybrid girls).DSC_0056Indoors we are drowning in eggs at the moment as Charlie has given up his daily breakfast of egg sandwich in favour of avocado on toast. I’m frantically making quiches and creme caramels. I think it might be time for some ice cream too!DSC_0055I’m also obsessed with finding new, simple supper ideas as it’s all been getting a bit same, same around here. This stack is proving its worth, especially ‘Simple’ by Diana Henry.

Right, off to get some carrot muffins out of the oven before moving onto a batch of biscuits for the boys (holiday treat). Just waiting for the rain to come now, and save me from watering the vegetable patch!

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Chickens: Oops, I did it again!

IMG_20170504_133059After ending up with three cockerels and one hen last year, when we first hatched chicks, I said I wouldn’t do it again. But I have. Pretty stupid move, really.IMG_20170504_133348Ava got broody and was being very mean to the other chickens when they wanted to lay eggs in the nest. I ignored her for ages, kicking her off regularly but in the end, I moved her into the guinea pig hutch, (still in the run), so she’d stop attacking the other chickens.DSC_0023 2I removed the eggs daily. but then got soft and let her sit on four…thinking there would be a 50% survival rate. Sadly, by that point, she’d laid her ‘clutch’ and so all the eggs under her came from other chickens laying in the same nest…what I didn’t realise was they kept laying in there so actually, at day 9, when I first went to candle the eggs there were seven!DSC_0018Some weren’t fertile and on day 23, three of the chicks hatched. DSC_0021 2Sadly, Ava abandoned the last two eggs a day or so later, as she’s clearly decided they weren’t going to happen. Luckily Audrey was now also broody, so I just stuck the last two eggs under her. One hatched (actually I ‘assisted’ it as it pipped but didn’t get any further for days, and it survived – hurrah!) and the other, sadly, didn’t make it out of the egg.DSC_0001Audrey abandoned her chick as clearly she was a bit confused about it hatching only a few days after she’d started sitting!DSC_0007So I gave it back to Ava who didn’t seem to mind and she is now happy with her little clutch of four chicks.DSC_0016They are out and about most days (as I want them well-integrated with the other chickens, so any boys have a chance of not fighting) and it’s a joy to watch them learn the ropes from ‘Mum’. I’m a little sad none are Ava’s as I’d have liked a Light Sussex cross, but we’re definitely done with chicks….for now, anyway 🙂