Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Chickens 8 - Ducks 1

No, I have not taught the poultry to play football!
I am talking eggs.

These three girls have laid well all winter thus far.
They were, however, rather confused when their water turned solid!
For the last couple of months we have been extremely grateful to the white ducks. For, thus far, they have somehow conspired to lay throughout the winter. I am rather perplexed by this, for I thought that ducks were much more seasonal layers than hens. Maybe it's because they are three girls. I don't know.

The black ducks, the Cayugas, stopped laying way back, but they will be earning their money very soon when some of them become meat birds!

As for the hens, they have mostly been having a rest of late. There have even been days with no eggs at all from them, though they have been averaging out at two or three a day.

But we have started seeing two blue eggs a day now, so our pair of Cream Legbar hens are doing the business. We have also been seeing some tiny brown eggs, presumably the younger hens coming into lay for the first time.

The weather, it has to be said, has been foul of late, but it seems that the days drawing out a little has been enough to kickstart the hens into laying again. For the last two days, we have collected eight eggs each day, which is plenty for us and a couple of regular customers.

Plenty of eggs.
Plenty of cakes!

Let's hope we don't get too many of these though!

Meanwhile, as the young hens come into lay, the young cockerels are coming into their own too. They have begun to crow and to make advances toward the hens. But these direct challenges to the chief cockerel are not tolerated for too long.
One of the young cockerels looks disturbingly similar to Cocky, our old cockerel who passed away at the end of 2013. It's very tempting to keep him (don't tell the other cockerels I said that) but that would give us all sorts of issues with interbreeding. Some would say there's enough of that on The Fens already! Tongue firmly in cheek of course.

Clearly the offspring of Cocky.

Meet Spike
So we'll probably plump for the Crested Cream Legbar cockerel to do the job. He has developed his skills with the ladies, finding them tasty morsels and warding off danger in return for certain favours.Once we finally take the decision, I suppose we had better give him a name.
In fact, might as well do it now. Spike. That suits him. Yes, Spike it is.

As soon as Blogger allows me, I'll post a picture of him. It's playing up again!

The cockerel situation was slightly relieved this week when I managed to sell one of our Poland cockerels. (Photo at Blogger's whim) They are a very pretty breed, a very old, traditional breed, but pretty useless apart from that. A chicken fancier's bird rather than a producer of decent size eggs or meat birds. The woman who bought him from me was after a black cockerel to breed with her white hens, in pursuit of chocolate coloured Polands.

This Poland cockerel is on his way to pastures new

  I'm sure he'll enjoy meeting some new girls anyway.

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