Tag Archives: bantams

A yolk about eggs

We collected the eggs today, not that there were many, as we’ve sent most of the hens to market and it’s the wrong time of year. (Of course, from a chicken’s point of view, it’s always the wrong time of year to go to market).

In fact there were two eggs, and being from bantams, they were both small. One was much smaller than the other. On Monday I weighed three of these eggs and they weighed just over 90 grams, which isn’t much more than one decent egg. In fact I used all three of them in place of the one required for the Grantham Gingerbread.

 

This put me in mind of a limerick, (which I altered to match the circumstances).

 

There was a young hen from Devizes,

Whose eggs were two different sizes.

One was so small,

it was no use at all,

But the other won several prizes.

 

 


What we did on our holidays

You can tell it’s holiday time because the roads are clear, the travelling is easier and there are groups of teachers wandering about dressed as ramblers.

So what did we do on our holiday?

Well, we started by looking at the new bantams and chicks to ensure they were OK.

Sadly there was a dead lamb in the barn. It had been found last night by a group of ramblers, having stuck its head through the sheep netting and then threaded it back through an adjacent square. You couldn’t do it if you tried. In the subsequent panic it strangled itself.

No you couldn’t make it up if you tried. The Farmer had been forced to cut the fence to remove it. That was how tight it had managed to wedge itself in.

Now, I don’t like losing animals at the best of times, and I certainly don’t like losing them to accidents, but this was so random that it is hard to see what we could have done differently.

My first job was to check the incubator and then to look up what a flashing “P” meant. Twenty minutes later I established it was a warning that it had lost power at some point. To be more precise, it had lost power when I unplugged it and moved it. So that was 20 minutes well spent.

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It stands for “Power”

Once everyone had arrived we had a good handling session with the new bantams and altered the housing arrangements for the chicks.

We collected eggs, fed the chickens, did a census of the (heat stress has seen a few of the old ladies off recently) and harvested cabbages. We planted Brussels Sprouts (or nobby greens as they are known in Nottingham), made lavender decorations, twisted corn dollies, showed two groups of visitors around (I keep hoping one of them will be an eccentric and generous millionaire). Julia brought what I thought was a small and tender beetroot in from the garden (I say tender but I have no intention of ever eating beetroot). It turned out to be a radish the size of a golf ball and I suspect it will be both woody and fiery to eat.

We also added more photos to the individual pages and did quite a bit of butterfly counting. (You may already have noticed that.)

And we brought the sun-dried peppers out of the polytunnel.

I think that’s all.

Now all we need to do is get the shopping list ready for tomorrow, get set up for yoga, prepare the kitchen.

Number Two son had a broken tooth extracted this afternoon. I wouldn’t normally bring domestic trivia to the blog, but I had to after asking him what time his appointment was.

Yes, it was two-thirty (tooth hurty – the classic joke time!). I tried not to laugh when he told  me.

It’s going to be a bundle of laughs tonight, me trying to suppress my mirth, Julia being motherly and him drinking his evening meal through a straw.

Confession

You may remember me telling you about the rescue of 11 guinea fowl keets a few months back.

They were scruffy-looking things in various shades of grey., we found them where the guinea fowl roost and they were hatched from small white eggs. Bound to be guinea fowl keets weren’t they?

Only one person disagreed, and suggested they were actually chicks.

Well, as time progressed they started to look a little more like chicks, but it didn’t really register as I was convinced they were keets, and because I really wanted more guinea fowl.

A couple of them started growing feathers on their legs, a trait of one of our farmyard cockerels.

“Well,” I thought, “it looks like we have a mixed batch of chicks and keets.”

It took another few weeks, and a move to an outdoor coop, before I had a good look at them in good light.

They are all chicks.

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The chicks that used to be keets

I’m embarrassed. I remember handling chicks before my sister was born – so I was 2 or 3 years old. In those days my dad worked for Thornbers Hatchery. I really should have known…

The mother, we think, is the black Polish bantam pullet that escaped last year and has continued living in the yard. One of the fathers is the black cockerel with feathers on its legs. He might be the father of all of them, but let’s face it, chickens aren’t too fussy about that sort of thing. When you look at the research, neither are most birds. If this is the case, she’s working hard, and she’s going against the trend as Polish are well known for being poor sitters.

Meanwhile, we’ve just been given a selection of bantams, including Pekins,  Minorcas and some alleged Barnevelders. All six weeks plus and all looking bright and healthy.

Though, as we’ve seen, my ID skills aren’t great. They could be ducks for all I know…