Sunday 26 August, 2012
It’s been a wee while since I made any diary entries – the last one was made just before the last poultry sale at Forfar market. That’s because, since then, I’ve been tending my new poultry.
We have about 80 hybrids and odd and sods in the two laying flocks, but I thought it would be nice to have some pure breeds. So, birthday money clutched in my hot little hand, off I went to the sale.
We have had Cream Crested Legbars before and rather liked them. It is an attractive breed that lays blue eggs. I’d also been given a pair of CCLs (Columbus and Clara) for my birthday, and a cockerel really needs more than one hen, so they were on my list.
A while back, for reasons too tedious to write about here, I bought a lovely Black Orpington hen (Ruby). I really like her – she’s pretty, very docile and a good broody. So Black Orpingtons were on my list.
Finally, we hatched some Welsummers – a Dutch breed that lays dark brown eggs – this summer, getting (naturally) four cockerels and two hens. So a few additional Welsummer hens were on the list.
Oh, and we had a three broody hens, so some eggs were on the list too.
My first bargain was a trio of Black Orpingtons for £12. They’re healthy enough but one of the hens, on closer examination, isn’t an Orpington. She may be a cross but she’s going out with the layers sometime soon. Ruby went broody a couple of weeks after the sale, so she’s sitting on Black Orpington eggs. They’re due to hatch next week but they’re off ebay, so I’m not expecting much. The Black Orpington cockerel has been named Calvin.
There were a few CCL pullets at the sale, so I managed to secure six – three for me and three for my chum, Carol. Like the Orpingtons, they’ve been wormed and kept separate until now, but the plan is to put them with Columbus and Clara this weekend.
There were no Welsummer pullets, so I bought a dozen hatching eggs plus a dozen CCL ones for the three broodies.
The broodies didn’t quite go as planned. One had been trying to sit for ages – two days after I put eight eggs under her, she decided she’d had enough. Of the other two, one sat beautifully but the other took a day or two to decide whether to continue sitting or not. Due to a shortage of accommodation, the two broodies were in the same box so when, in the end, five Welsummers hatched, they had two mommies. Modern family. :-) None of the CCL eggs hatched. :-(
So, the position today is that we have a Black Orpington cockerel and two hens, but one’s currently sitting on Black Orpington eggs. The pretend BO is still with the cockerel meantime. We have four CCL hens and a cockerel – they’re due to become a group this weekend. And we have two Welsummer pullets that we’ll keep with the biggest cockerel (Hovis) – the other three will be fattened for the table along with any cockerels in the new batch of five chicks. Hens from this batch will go with Hovis.
Accommodation is a little stressed at the moment. One of our neighbours was less than impressed by the cockerels, so all the pure breeds are in temporary pens on what passes for our front lawn. Their houses are also of a temporary nature and won’t do in the longer term but they’re coping. :-)
Sorting them out on a longer term basis is another thing for the “To Do” list.