Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Chicken Gang

So here's an introduction to my chooks. I name all my birds. It's only right that I do since they all have such individual characters and personalities. Since keeping chickens myself I now have a healthy respect for poultry and a genuine concern for how they are kept and their general welfare. So much so that when my partner came home with an Asda chicken for Sunday lunch last week I refused to eat it on the grounds that it wasn't free range or corn fed. I just had the veg. I don't think I missed having a few slices of chicken on my plate. I'd have no pleasure in eating a bird that had no quality of life not now I know how poorly broilers and battery hens are kept. I must point out that my birds are egg layers only, not for the table, no way. That would be like eating a pet or a small child.

Anyway here they are. I'll post one at a time over the next few weeks.

This is Claudia. She is one of the original four birds I bought from a breeder up the road. She's a Maran Hybrid and the largest of the original four. I got four hens to start with (I designed the coop to hold up to ten) to see how we got on. Two Maran Hybrids and two Baker Browns which are your typical red hen. All were POL (point of lay) so were fairly mature and started laying within two days of arriving which was fantastic. Cracking open that first egg and seeing the difference in colour, BRIGHT orange, and the white making a perfect circle in the frying pan. Amazing.

Claudia is the one hen who has managed to actually lay two eggs in one day! She is also the only one of my hens so far to lay a 'double yolker'.

I went for hybrids mainly because they were supposed to have had things like broodyness bred out of them. Claudia was the exception here though as she used to constantly get broody and just sit for days, even weeks on end in the nest box in a catatonic trance.

I eventually gave in to her and managed to get some fertilised Copper Blue and Copper Black Maran eggs from a guy on the plot opposite for her to 'sit on' and satisfy her maternal instincts. I even built her a 'maternity unit' dubbed MASH, where she could raise her brood.

More of that to follow...

1 comment:

John Gray said...

marans are friendly and tame birds
is the above hutch for chicks?
if so... they will find it incredibly difficult to climb into it!
some of my worst broody hens are hyrids
I have to sin bin at least two every year!