Regular readers will know that we sadly had to say goodbye to our beloved Bunty a few weeks ago, I knew that I would miss her pottering around the garden, so I set about trying to track down a similar replacement. As last year’s chicks had all turned out to be boys, I decided that we’d have a break from hatching eggs this year and would replenish the flock with guaranteed girls that would lay lovely eggs and not wake us up with crowing each morning.
Not only is this a bit early in the year to be buying ‘Point of Lay’ hens (just about to start laying their first eggs), but I couldn’t find a breeder that had Chocolate Bantam Orpingtons…
We are in a couple of Poultry/Smallholding Facebook Groups and I posted a picture of our lovely Bunty asking if anyone had any for sale. Initially, we found Hilary who is already hatching Bantam Orpingtons, but as they are newly hatched we don’t know what sex they are and the baby chicks are too little to go outside. Then Henry commented on Bunty’s photo saying that he had some Chocolate Bantam Wyandottes available… Just a quick peek at his photos and we arranged to visit the following weekend.
It was a delight to meet Henry and his son Josh, they have a wonderful selection of chickens, both Large Fowl and Bantam, and the most noisy resplendent cockerels. We had decided to buy three hens to keep each other company, so after choosing a couple of Chococlate Wyandottes (as per the Facebook photos) we fell in love with this little sweetie in the video below, she is a Bantam Buff Sussex and while quite petite is also very determined. We haven’t decided on a name for her yet, so do leave a comment with your suggestions.
Why Couldn’t The Chicken Find Her Eggs?
Because She Mislaid Them.
We let the three new chickens out of their run for a bit of free ranging after a week of lock in (so they knew that this was definitely their new home) and the very first time this little one found her freedom, she hid behind the big chicken coop to build a nest. Do watch as she gathers twigs and leaves to line the nest, she must have been desperate as she’d laid the egg and wandered off within about 15 minutes!
We since discovered that the three new bantams are completely refusing to lay their eggs in the correct place – their nest box. Yesterday found me climbing into their run on my elbows to reach that day’s eggs from the furthest corner of the run, eventually with my arm fully stretched out holding a litter picker I was able to retrieve them. Fortunately, the big girls in the Omlet Cube know where their nest box is, even with big blousey broody Caramel sitting on the eggs day and night.
This time of year, with most of them laying, this is a daily bounty of eggs, so beautiful.
Spring time in the garden is so exciting; the hens are laying well, the bees are making honey and the fruit trees are in full blossom bringing the promise of harvest and a cheerful sense of celebration. Last weekend we opened our doors to local families to join us for Easter at Hen Corner, this is a great opportunity to celebrate Easter with real eggs, as well as chocolate ones, whilst making some hot cross buns to take home and cuddle a chicken whilst they are baking. This year, the event was so popular, we had to run it twice with both morning and afternoon sessions…
‘Amazing afternoon at Hen Corner… Home made hot cross buns were so good I had to eat two but hug a hen was the best bit!! Thanks Sara Ward – fantastic value x’
- The poly sheet covering our peaches seems to have worked well, there are a few curly leaves which I pick off, but when you stand under the cover in the sunshine and inspect the swelling fruit the smell of peaches is amazing
- We spent a long day today making a large fruit cage for our almond tree to protect the nuts from the thieving squirrels. I had to trim the tree quite a bit to fit the cage, so probably no nuts this year, but next year *should* bring a bountiful harvest
- The bees in our National Hive, under the almond tree, are already making their second layer of honey. The first ‘super’ box has frames to collect runny honey and the second box on top is for rounds of honey comb, very exciting
Jobs for the Week:
- Bake a loaf of bread to take to the Bread Angel reunion, it’s always good to get together and share ideas
- Choose which chickens we are taking to the Country Living Spring Fair and give them a wash and blow dry (you think I’m joking?)
- Pack our bags for a series of talks at the Country Living Spring Fair at Alexandra Palace, 27-30th April, if you are visiting, do come and say hello!
So that little sweet chicken in the video, any ideas for a name?
Have a great week,