Friday, 13 July 2007

The Chickens

There are four chickens altogether, 3 of which are Cochin's and one being a Leghorn. Cochin's are a very fluffy feathery breed with feathers covering their feet, so much so, that when they walk they look like they're on wheels! There are three girls and the lovely Basil who struts around his kingdom like an extravagant hat! He can be quite intimidating sometimes and his feathers get particularly ruffled at egg collecting time when he usually squares up to me with a lot of verbal abuse and pecking of the legs, ankles and feet ...flip flops are never a good option around Basil!

Although I love them all to bits I have to say that Betty (the little black one named after my Granny) is my favourite. She isn't scared or timid of me in the slightest and will help me dig in th
e vegetable patch for worms and yummy things such like. If I find a treat for her she'll come over to me with her tuneful warbling's and take it from my hand with a seemingly thankful set of clucks! The grey one is the lovely Lavender. She and Betty are the best of friends, although at times, have been known to rival each other for Basil's affection's. Then we have the amazing Constance. She is a Leghorn and an amazing little egg producer. She's the most timid of the lot but produces the most exquisite eggs that aren't far off that of a duck's egg. I had no intention of keeping a Leghorn but was recommended one as they don't stay in molt for long in the Winter (the period of time when the chicken stops laying due to the short days, lack of light and lower outside temperature's). Most chickens will molt for around 4-5 months but this little beaut will only stop for around 4-5 weeks and then she's off again popping them out! She'll look after us through the winter. The Cochin's will produce around 120 eggs per annum whereas a leghorn, being a more prolific layer, will give you around 200. If you are thinking of keeping hens then I strongly recommend you go for a Leghorn as they will never let you down on the egg front. I even had two from her in one day her a couple of months back! One of the best things about the chickens you keep and eggs you get is the smug sensation you have as you glide pass the egg aisle in the supermarket!

I got the Chicken's on 10th December 2006 after my brilliant birthday present being a beautiful chicken hutch and pen from Gary, the most wonderful chap in the world. I'd never even held a chicken before let alone housed, fed, watered, de-loused and wormed one! I have taken to it like a chicken to mixed corn and love to sit with them and watch their crazy antics, they really are funny. When I originally ordered the Cochin's I had wanted two Orpington's as well. To me, these are the typical large fluffy clucksome chickens you think of on a farm, really plumptious and clucky! I hadn't realised that they were so sought after and found myself joining the bottom of a very long waiting list to get a couple. Now seven months on and my chicken man in Windsor has recently advised me that he has two put by for me and is waiting to find out what sex they are. They are a little young to tell at the moment.

Funnily enough we went down a similar route when we got the Cochin's. When they were little and we first brought them home to the farm there was one Grey and two black Cochin's. As time went on one of the black Cochin's started to change colour here and there around her neck. Then called 'Babs', she began to grow a little faster than Betty and I really thought I had a prize chicken on my hands. Strolling up to the pen one morning the penny dropped, as well as my jaw, when I was cock-a-doodle-dooed at! Bab's was not Babs, but very much Basil!!! We had a few teething problems at first with a rampant male teenager, but the a routine is now set and everything has fallen into place ...let's see what happens when the other three arrive!

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