Thursday, 24 February 2011


TBC - That Bloody Chicken!

Am I also now starting to think that we have had the worst that winter can throw at us and spring is truly on the way? It's somewhat wet and mild, today in London the grey clouds cleared and we had a beautiful sunny day.

It all sounds lovely and of course with all the girls in full egg production TBC Harriet aka Princess Ping Pong has decided upon broodiness.

NO, NO, NO, NO, NO.........we need eggs - those girls don't get pellets, corn, lettuce, sweetcorn, mealworms and treats galore just to sit on their backsides!

Harriet trying to look coy and cute but it won't work this time.
Harriet being broody then triggers Tallulah, which in turn means Ruby who has only just got over her long moult since her last broody spell. Saturday and we start an anti broodiness campaign. We can normally, with work, get the other girls out of it but Harriet? She is the queen of sitting on her hennish bum and sticking it out.

I know we are not going to win but watch this space...................

Monday, 21 February 2011

Eggs and junior chicken wranglers

Cyclamen coum
Such great promise this weekend with lots and lots of jobs planned but Saturday just rained, rained and rained - so you get the feeling we were somewhat damp. Sunday was somewhat better so managed to get lots of tidying up done, did some major repotting of our three Actinidia deliciosa okay, kiwi fruit (I was just trying to be flash) and got some celeriac seeds sown. I do feel that we need a major weekends work at the allotment but if it's wet all you do is get covered in clay and come home again without having done anything apart from make a paddy field. You do look a bit trendy with clay leg weights stuck to your wellies I guess.

Loads of lovely eggs
We have had quite a few comments on which cockerel to get - Reginald seems to be an outright winner at the moment. We have had two days this week when all 4 girls laid, they really are getting the idea that spring is on the way. Tallulah, despite all our efforts is still laying such thin shelled eggs that one occasionally breaks in the nest as they all decide to lay in the same nestbox. Indeed the eggs are so fragile that sometimes they can get a dent in just by gently picking them up. All the other girls lay incredibly stout shelled eggs and in truth the diet has all the correct elements, they wade through mountains of oystershell and the amount of snails they eat with accompanying shells should be more than enough so I think its just Tallulah.

Chicken handler of the year
A few other updates which might be of interest. To the left is a photo of our godson Ferdie having a "chicken" experience out in the Philippines. The good thing about having adventuring parents and a mother who is a world renown marine biologist is that you get to visit some very funky places, you know most aquatic species by the age of 2 and your godfathers and grandparents make sure you know all the domestic ones.  Our god-daughter JJ manages to do all this and wear glitter as well - we are so very proud of both of them.

I know that Christmas has now gone and I must say that due to events it really does seem to have been a blur however I have for a few weeks been meaning to mention a wonderful gift we received from our lovely neighbours and occasional chicken sitters, Rob and Isobel. We got a chicken, but not a chicken in SE23 but a chicken bought for an abandoned disabled child in Thailand. The chicken is for a brand new project called Eden Farm which will bring in finance for the abandoned children and also teach them vocational skills. It's a fantastic project so why not log onto and click on the Current Fundraising section. You can help the project by purchasing a range of items as simple as seeds, to of course chickens and even pig huts and you know your money is going to help some very disadvantaged kids and giving them an opportunity of a better life.

That's about it for this week. As ever, any feedback is always welcome.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Cock or not - that is the question

Spring has seemingly sprung. If you read this blog you will know I think this is a false spring, I'm expecting another arctic blast before winter is over - however miserable git old me, I hope I'm wrong. Still Mother Nature is enjoying these relatively mild temperatures and lots of rain, with buds, bulbs and shoots aplenty though after a good delve into some protected pots we have lost some prized dahlia tubers and we await to see if the bananas managed to survive the big freeze.

As I said the girls are now in fine fettle, laying well and looking great apart of course from Harriet who continues to believe she is a rare Lewisham Mud Silkie, indeed a rare subspecies!

I'm also keen to have some chicks again this spring we do have a couple of routes to follow. My aim would be coronation Sussex bantams but not sure how realistic that will be merely because of their scarcity. Option two is getting in a cock silkie!! Eek I hear you cry, a cockerel in the city.........well. There are several spare boys at work which we could have on a short loan.

Questions to be raised

  • How noisy are silkie cocks?
  • How would the neighbours cope? (even if it is only for a short period)
  • What is the secret of keeping your cockerel quiet in the early hours? (I know, there isn't an answer but worth asking)

And finally who should we go for..........if that's what we decide to get one.



I look forward to comments and suggestions - maybe even set up a voting panel!

Thursday, 10 February 2011


A quick note from the update yesterday.

Don't they look fantastic!

Firstly a couple of pictures from Ros who purchased Sebastian (now Boris) and Doris the speckled Sussex bantams we hatched in 2009 - they are now stunning birds as you can see from the photo. Also very jealous as she has chicks already. Thanks Ros for the update.

Chocolate Orpington and silkie chicks as hatched by Ros - I'm so envious

Secondly as a non-proficient user of this blogging medium I just found several comments posted by kindly folk, some just commenting how they like the blog but others with questions. My apologies for not responding however I found your comments by accident in a spam folder? I have now clicked various links and the comments are now attached to the relevant blog entries.

Thank you for taking the time to add to the blog especially Tammy (and I hope you got the response), Mr John Gray who I hope is still doing well with his chickens and allotment (truly John, you can't be more behind than we are this year!) and Lou, did you get your chickens?? Now I have hopefully sorted this, please comment away.

A grey and wet morning here in South London, the girls are staying in the run today - me thinks that Harriet would be straight out there for a mud bath.

Have a happy Thursday folks, the weekend isn't far away at all.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

2011 and as the song goes "Things can only get better"

Firstly thank you one and all for your messages regarding Mum and her passing, they were greatly appreciated. It seemed fitting that after such a hard winter on the day of her ceremony the weather reciprocated and it was almost spring like and the first snowdrops were pushing through.

Snowdrops for Mum

Somehow winter seems to have been in the right time frame this year - Christmas in Cheshire was classic and white, lots of cold and snow. January was wet and now into early February all is mild-ish (a couple of chill nights have been no problem).

The tree ferns survived the winter but that garden needs a good tidy and sort out

No doubt there is a price to pay and we will have more cold weather but at the moment the very start of spring is already here with lots of bulbs up. The daffodils are flowering (I admit they are a very early flowering variety), hellebores and cyclamen all in flower and the girls fully moulted and laying up a storm - heading for mid-February and we are currently collecting three eggs a day.

Miss Ruby enjoying some winter sun

Of course the girls get every opportunity to go out into the garden, the positive points being that any stupid slug or snail even vaguely tempted out into the late winter warmth is instantly eaten, the downside is that any bulbs or budding plants are trashed in search of such gastropods. There is also such a huge temptation to get into any available pot and have a dust/damp soil bath!

Do you think if I planted Tallulah we could grow some chickens?

On a final note and to those of you that actually read my New Year resolutions

1. Doing very well on using everything we buy with a few exceptions which are more down to my storage methods (or actually remembering where I put food). Failures included half a swede that reverted to a throbbing green state and has gone to the great compost heap and two lots of tomatoes that ended up being shrivelled treats for the chickens and they loved them! Portion sizes are still to large though hence the size of my bearish tum.

2. Not bought ANY cookery magazines

Proof indeed of the early flowering South London daffodil

Here's hoping for continued sunshine, eggs and remember that Spring really isn't too far away