Category Archives: Allotments

Further integration – and a bantam egg!

We took down bowls of warm mash (porridge, cornmeal, and sweetcorn kernels) yesterday evening, since it promised to be a freezing night.

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The new Wyandotte clustered round the bowl with the others, so she seemed to have established herself as part of the flock.
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Frosty start for the new bantams

We went down to the allotment nice and early, because the drinkers clearly weren’t going to thaw without intervention. Much antifreeze was needed simply to unlock the gate!

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The new bantams were fine, although they still form a little group of three, and haven’t fully integrated. But, thank goodness, there was no sign of bullying.
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A few bantams more

We saw a post on the Practical Poultry Forum which told a sad story. A predator had wiped out a flock of bantams, leaving only three survivors. The young lady who kept them wanted to find a new home for them. They sounded lovely, so today we picked them up and introduced them to our existing flock.

So we have another Wyandotte, a silver pencilled one this time. She’s being given the once-over by our senior hens, the chocolate Wyandotte and the white Silkie:

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December Chickens

It’s not the happiest month for chickens. The plentiful windfalls and surpluses of autumn have gone, and cold winds have started to blow through the run, in spite of the sheltering straw bales. But we’re keeping their spirits up (and, we hope, their health) with cabbages and broccoli to peck at.

The Light Sussex garden hens are still quite shy, although not as scared of the squirrels and local cats as they once were.

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Poached eggs. Oh dear.

A short post, this one.

We had poached eggs on toast for brunch. The hens have now completely stopped laying for the season, so we’ve reverted to commercial eggs. Nice premium grade free range ones, of course.

But oh dear, what a difference. Nothing like the treat that we’ve got used to over the spring and summer. It’s not as if it’s the first time that it’s ever happened, but it still comes as a bit of a shock.

Blackmoor Apple Tasting – apples, chickens, morris, and fun for all the family

One of the high points of early autumn is a visit to the Blackmoor Apple Tasting Day, so much so that we drive 60 miles to get there! We’ve been regulars for quite a few years now. Last year it wasn’t held, and we feared the worst, so we’re delighted to see it back for 2014. Blackmoor Apple Tasting Day

The weather was kind. Calm, a bit chill, and with an early mist. Perfect for a wander round, tasting apples, buying a few raffle tickets (we didn’t win), and admiring the displays.

Here’s our visit in pictures.

We made straight for the apple tasting.  We've bought several trees on the strength of this tasting in previous years ...

We made straight for the apple tasting. We’ve bought several trees on the strength of this tasting in previous years …


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The bantams go to the church fete

Our local church decided to expand their normal harvest festival with the addition of a rather grandly-titled “Autumn Food Fayre and Farmers Market”. It sounded like a good cause, so we (well, I, actually) volunteered to do a display of rare-breed chickens, and to bake some bread for their cake’n’bread stall.

The stated objective was to raise money for charity. I don’t know exactly how much they raised, but if it was a couple of hundred quid*, I’d be surprised. So that’s a fail, then. But everyone concerned seems to be delighted. It was, apparently, a “great community event”. So I too will accentuate the positive, and agree that there were plenty of visitors, and that a good time was had by all.

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An afternoon with the chickens

We’re still very taken with our new bantams, but just to show that we haven’t lost our affection for the Ixworths, here we are handing out the last of the blackberries to them. Blackberries are one of the very few treats that the cockerel won’t share. They’re just too good …

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More about bantams

After they’d got accustomed to their run for a couple of days, we thought we’d let the bantams out onto the grass for the first time. The cockerel was the boldest.

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The bantams have arrived

We’ve been planning to add to our flock for a little while. Much though we love our Ixworths, they’re handsome rather than pretty, and we fancied some, well, fancy fowl. And we thought that a small flock of bantams would have some grandchild appeal. But maybe that was just an excuse.

Anyway, we paid a visit to the very excellent and highly recommended Orchard Poultry. There we asked for advice and picked out a selection of beautiful and healthy bantams.

It’s always great fun to watch to see which one will emerge from the travel crate first …

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