Thursday, 17 July 2008

Guess what's at the top of my Santa List this year?

I am probably deliciously naive in my thinking at this stage It’s the taking responsibility for it that’s firing me. I have just finished reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver which has been a real challenge for me to review my life style choices. Although I do have an allotment and buy my free range eggs from "Ron the Chicken Man" down the allotment road from me - I have always hankered to have chickens of my own. My Dad had them when I was a child - for eggs and table - mostly bantams and some silkies.

I have done some homework and have found a supplier close by who supplies live chicks and poulets @ £8 each (two weeks old). I would therefore not have to have the poor things posted to me. I shudder to think of the state they would arrive in even knowing that they can survive for three days without food.

I would like to have some heirloom breeds (to keep the breeds alive) - and this is where I would like some input from you all. I have chosen the breeds that I think I will be interested in are but any input of experiences would be appreciated:

Chickens for Eggs :

Large :
Sussex / New Hampshire Red / Cochin / Orpington / Scots Grey and Boven Marans (x breed which I believe lay well in the winter months - from the same supplier).

Bantams :
Orpington, Scots Grey, Plymouth Rock
I also like the Faverolles (which originate from France) and are also a good dual bird e.g. table and eggs. I am looking at dual as when the chickens start slowing down on the laying I would possibly look at harvesting them for the table. Sorry if I offend anyone in this thinking but I am trying to be practical. However, the jury is out on that one and I do not know if I would have the guts to actually kill them.

Turkey for Christmas :

The only kind he provides is Norfolk Bronze Turkey - anyone got any other breeds that are heirloom that they have tried and found better? I have already checked with my council and they say I could easily have chickens at home. The one problem I might have is a rooster. I want to get three females and a rooster so that I can start making my own little chickens. I am not sure if I will get large or bantam - can any one advise me on the size of the eggs which is the better option - as I do want the eggs mainly.

My allotment does allows us to keep chickens - but I only have 5 rods with three fruit trees so not much space there. Oh, decisions, decisions!! I am so tempted to jump in with both feet but just know that it is a big responsibility. Ideally I would like to attend a course but the only one I can find around these parts is Hugh Fernley W and he's expensive and a bit far away! Anyone know of something closer to Dorset/Hampshire that run decent courses?

I have seen a wonderful chicken house - see the picture above - (,43759.0.html) or see post at Allotments 4 All posted by IsleworthTW7 - returning to poultry) that I think is the kind that I would be prepared to put my chickens in. I wonder if I would be able to put chickens and a turkey in the same coop?

One guess what's on the top of my Christmas list to Santa this year!! Poor Santa - he almost definitely will not fit down the chimney this year.


Goosey said...

I've always fancied keeping chicken but haven't the space at the moment although my friend has some and has no slug or snail problems in her garden. I think I'm going to try and find that book you read and read it too, sounds good. Best wishes Goosey

Jitterbug said...


I have found a chicken keepers course in Hook for £45 which starts at 09:30 for three hours and includes a book and an eggy breakfast. I plan to go either the 31 August of 14 September - if you are interested let me know and maybe we can drive up together.