Monday, 5 October 2009

Back in business



(What are these?????)

Hello, I'm back normal service is kind of resumed. I'm much happier than my last post. Thanks for all your kind words.
Well a lot has happened since my laptop died, on the chicken and garden front.
Here's the head count...

Well to start with we have the garden girls Then Holly Golightly who I'm pleased to say has coped well with the loss of her buddy (better than I did)
Then we have the two Welsummers who have both turned out to be cockerels, and Boo the little Buff Sussex who fingers crossed its very much a girl.
4 Indian Game birds, these are destined for the table in a few weeks time. Hubby was after some Hubberds or Cobbs at the auction but got chatting to an old farmer who recommended these as birds he'd kept before, being slower growers and bigger . breasted. They are living it up in the field along with the Welsummer boys and Boo
Next up another impulsive auction purchase was a box of 5 farmyard chicks?? which consisted of a older larger black chicken (who I really hope is a girl as its a bit of a wimp but follows me round the paddock and has the most gorgeous purple green sheen to its feathers) I'm not sure of its breed I'm thinking maybe a black rock? This one was put in with the wels and boo, and was terrified of the wels who didn't pick on it as such but weren't exactly nice to it, luckily boo was nicer. This one is in the field with the wels and the dynamic is much improved. And 4 little white birds again I have no idea at all of the breed, they all look a bit different one has a crest and a fan shaped tail a bit Dutch bantamy and the others look a bit Sussex x amberlines. As these are tiny they are in the nursery run in the paddock.
The same day we bought them I also got a box of 3 Cuckoo Maran chicks, obviously I knew very little about link/auto sexing and its turned out that 2 of them are 100% boys and the other one I'm not sure yet,. They were 2/3 weeks old when we got them and are now about 6/7 and massive.
Then 2 weeks ago my husband bought 8 Game x chicks at the auction, these are adorable. Hubby thought they were Indian game but they're Old English Game which is a totally different bird. there are two sets of chicks in this group, 5 of them are crossed with silkies, (I've got a fuffy one, one with 5 toes, one with a rose comb and 2 with feathery feet) the other 3 are tiny wee little thing, so pretty and if I didn't know any better I'd say were part quail. I had a chat with the seller after hubbys purchase (50p a head)and quite frankly I don't think she had clue what they are. These are living in the converted hutch and run with Holly golighty except for the fluffy silkie x and a very pretty grey one who hate Holly and she hates them. I tried putting those three together first but the fighting was really nasty and blood was drawn, which is a shame because the fluffy one was my hopeful as a broody to go with Holly (obviously I have no idea about the sex of any of these yet and If I'm honest still not 100% about Holly although I've heard her cluck, please be a girl, please be a girl.)They are co-habiting with the 3 marans.
Then lastly Saturday was a rare and minority breed auction and hubby was at work so I was flying solo. Unbelievably I bought nothing there was tons of birds there. I was tempted by some quail and Indian runner ducks, but sensibly didn't even bid as practically we not set up for either yet. Also some Buff Orpington bantams but again sensibly knew as lovely as they are aren't a practical buy. I was after some welsummer pullets but I was hugely outbid, they weren't massively expensive but for that price I'd rather buy them from a breeder face to face.
In a way I was quite pleased I came home empty handed as I've spent the last week moving chickens around the garden and paddock, building and securing proper (make shift) houses and runs and got my garden back ready for some care and attention. So it was quite nice to come home and not have to run around with chicken wire rigging up a temporary home in the garden.
Off course that didn't last... An hour after I got home I was googling local breeders and came up with one that had some Welsummer pullets, hooray. So yesterday me and hubby drove out to South Yeo farm east rare and traditional breeds and got some 6 week old girls, now these look very different to the orignal welsummers I bought. Much more salmony coloured. The lady there was lovely, she showed me around her breeding pens and gave me lots of advice. I've fallen in love with some new breeds and plan to go back in the spring and maybe get some Ixworths, Vorwecks and Legbars. I found this place really inspiring. Oh and I also bough a baby Cuckoo Maran girl too.

So in total if my maths is correct that give a grand total of 31 chickens. Wow

I've learnt a heck of a lot in the last month or so, mainly the hard way. Auctions are a great place to buy inexpensive birds as long as they look healthy but most young chicks will most likely be unwanted males (if its a breed that can be identified young)I plan on defiantly keeping one welsummer and one Maran. Buying from breeders is better as you get to look around and chat and some more comeback if things go wrong. I've learnt how to (try) and deal with sour crop and have a much better understanding of a chickens digestive system. Even though I know I did all I could, I just wish I known about sour crop sooner and how to deal with it, maybe I could have prevented Eliza losing so much weight and saved her, although being so young her chances were so slim.

Unfortunatly I haven't got photos of everyone yet but theres an old photo of the black one and one of the little white bantamy things at the top of the post. If anyone has an idea what they might be please please let me now.



3 comments:

Sara said...

Lovely to hear your news & WOW that you have 31 now! The black hen looks like my Hattie who is a Rhode Rock, I have no idea on the white one but it looks really sweet. Good luck with all your new charges Mother Hen xx

John Gray jgsheffield@hotmail.com said...

the litttle black looks like a black rock...and the leghorn white is lovely!!!!

nice to have you backxxxx

Jess said...

Thanks lovely Sara and John,

The general consenus is saying a black rock, but I thought they had a bit of brown on the chests (unless thats just the girls, in which case mines a boy Doh!). Hmmm Leghorn, I need to get a photo with all the whites together as they all look different. They're all related but seem to each show different bits of whatever parentage mix they have.

xxx

 

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