Chicken Crazy

Martin ac­quires four new lit­tle birds. Ev­ery­one is in­trigued...

Your Chickens - - Contents -

With Martin Gur­don

Fi­nally, our flock has ex­panded, with the ar­rival of a quar­tet of new birds. It’s slightly ironic that af­ter years of go­ing for heavy breeds, and hop­ing that one day we’d have a sin­gle flock of big hens, our new ar­rivals are ban­tams, and join three ex­ist­ing Polish Crested ban­tams, which means our flock of lit­tle chick­ens is know big­ger than the ‘large’ flock, which cur­rently is down to a trio.

Our lat­est birds are a pi­geon-sized Ser­ena, a mys­tery cross breed that con­tains some Ser­ena in its DNA, an en­tirely non-spe­cific hen and pretty, choco­late brown Wyan­dotte. The last two are big­ger ban­tams, and we’re hop­ing to in­te­grate them into our large flock. The two smaller birds will end up with Wonky, the wid­owed Polish Crested cock­erel, whose been on his own since the sum­mer when his part­ner Hestletina ex­pired.

LO­CAL BREEDER

The ban­tam quar­tet came from a well es­tab­lished, lo­cal am­a­teur breeder. The hy­giene was good, the hous­ing ex­cel­lent, the ven­dor had clearly kept birds for years, and the an­i­mals them­selves were re­laxed and busy.

Our orig­i­nal plan had been to buy a pair of ban­tams for Wonky, but we liked the look of the other birds, and de­cided this would be a way of main­tain­ing our main flock. The quar­tet were all about a year old.

So far they have set­tled in well. We res­ur­rected the chicken house usu­ally re­served for broody hens, and pressed our rather tired ‘spare’ wire run into ser­vice as stamp­ing about space, plac­ing this en­sem­ble near to Wonky, who perked up hugely at the site of fresh avian totty.

DEP­U­TA­TION

All the other hens were sim­i­larly in­trigued, and there was soon a dep­u­ta­tion of big chick­ens, in­clud­ing Priscilla the Brahma, who has fi­nally shrugged off brood­i­ness. Much eye­balling and loom­ing en­sued, par­tic­u­larly from chief chicken Slasher, whose look of men­ace was some­what un­der­mined by a se­ri­ous moult, which has left her look­ing spiny, and semi plucked in places.

The plan is to keep our new birds sep­a­rate from the ex­ist­ing hens for about a month, then start in­tro­duc­ing them to their per­ma­nent flocks at bed times, re­mov­ing them in the morning to lessen any bul­ly­ing un­til we reckon ev­ery­one’s ready.

It’s too early to get a sense of the new an­i­mals’ char­ac­ters, but two names have sug­gested them­selves. I rather favour ‘Tyson’ for the small­est hen, although my wife is less en­am­oured with the idea. Her sug­ges­tion that we call the brown Wyan­dotte ‘Dot’ has met with univer­sal ap­proval. As for the other two, it’s only a mat­ter of time be­fore be­havioural quirks will make who they are en­tirely ob­vi­ous.

So far they have set­tled in well. The other birds were in­trigued...

ABOVE: Martin’s new chick­ens

Martin Gur­don

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.