I kept the chux in this morning as several were still laying so Jon released them from the pen when he returned from walking the dogs. He noticed one of the Cuckoo Marans running in the opposite direction so followed her. She headed straight for a nest containing 15 eggs! Given that they havevn’t been allowed out every day due to the bad weather, we had to bin the lot as we didn’t know how old they were 😦
I only started writing this blog in October, so now is a good opportunity to review the flock over the past year. Apart from anything else, it’s a timely reminder that you can plan and plan and plan, but sometimes events take an unexpected turn.
January: Our beloved Snowy died. Snowy was a White Leghorn who we decided was a boy when he eventually gave crowing a try – a cock-a-doodle-doo with vibrato. He never discovered the joys of hens like the other boys, instead he preferred power tools and swinging in the hammock. However, his favourite thing was to ride round on your shoulder like a parrot. He may have been lousy at being a chicken but he was a great pet, apart from when he was taking lumps out of your finger.
April: After making sure we had enough eggs for breeding, I sold my original Cream Legbar trio of Bertie, Agnetha and Frida to a lovely lady in Anglesey. On the way home, we picked up two young White Star pullets. I’ve never got round to naming them as I’ve never been able to tell them apart but they’ve been laying ever since. A week later we hatched two Cream Legbar girls, Connie and Molly, on Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday. The week after, the local hotelier came down looking for a boy to look after his sixty hens. He took one look at Barolo, our Red-Mottled Leghorn, and was smitten. We still see him sometimes when we’re walking past.
May: Three weeks after Connie and Molly hatched they welcomed three new siblings, Huey, Dewey and Linda Looey. There was another girl chick, but she struggled to get out of her shell and never survived the night.
June: Not such a good month. Dani, One of last years’ Cream Legbar girls jumped over the wall and started laying there, unbeknown to us. Didn’t take the fox long to cotton on to that so she was the first to be taken. A fortnight later it hedged its bets and managed to snatch Bluebell, our oldest girl.
July: Tried hatching a batch of French Copper Black Marans eggs I bought off eBay. Total failure!
August: I found someone selling French Copper Black Marans out Wrexham way so off we trundled to buy a trio – Bilbo, Bella and Donna.
September: Queenie, one of my Cuckoo Marans hen, died unexpectedly. We never did figure out why as she had always been a fine, strong, healthy bird but she was one of our oldest. All the other birds were fine much to our relief.
November: Blondie, one of my Cream Legbar boys hatched last year, was bought for breeding show birds. I’m sure he’ll rise to the challenge!
December: First, Huey went off to look after four Legbar girls on a farm. Then his brother Dewey and the Buff Orpington pair were bought to help start a young lad’s poultry hobby.
In summary, we had ten chickens in (three boys, seven girls) and thirteen chickens out (seven boys, six girls).
We bought in five birds (one boy, four girls). We hatched five (two boys, three girls).
We lost two to natural causes (one boy, one girl).
We lost two to the fox (both girls).
We sold nine (six boys, three girls).
Wonder what 2015 will bring?
The best way to start is by introducing the Chux. Photos will be forthcoming over the next days, weeks, months.
Cream Legbars: I have hatched all of these from my original breeding trio. I currently have four boys – Chico, Blondie, Huey and Dewey – and four girls – Kylie, Connie, Molly and Linda Looey.
Cuckoo Marans: Three ladies – Marilyn, Thomasina and Georgina – that were hatched from eggs I bought over two years ago.
Orpingtons: Three Black ladies – Sally a.k.a. Sally, Mimi and Livia – which I hatched from eggs and two Buff – Fazio, most definitely a boy, and Ingrid – which I bought in, originally planning to breed from them.
Blue Leghorn: Bluey lays one egg a year 😦
French Copper Marans: Jude is a lovely hen that we hatched last year. Bilbo, Bella and Donna are a trio we bought earlier this year.
White Stars: We have four. We named the first two Bonnie and Tyler. However I struggle to tell the difference between them so I’ve been rather lax in naming the two we bought this year. I’m such a bad chicken owner!
Black Rocks: Lulu a.k.a.Houdini and Sonia.