22 May 2012

Hestia and chix pix

I'm very keen on chickens.  After many years of begging, Tartarus eventually acquiesced and he's ok with the idea of having a few fluffy-assed ladies tootling around the garden.

The costs involved in keeping chooks is astronomical to start off with.  I fancied an egglu chicken coop, possibly in a bright and zingy shade....but at over £600 for one with a run, I balked.

Instead I gathered together my courage and contacted The Chicken King who very kindly invited me out to his Chook Empire at a top secret location.

It's not really top secret.  But I likes me a bit of drama.

Sonshine was utterly underwhelmed when I told him how we'd be spending Saturday morning.  But he agreed to come with me anyway.

We packed these:

Ignore the brown spotty arse.  It's our door stop - Spot the Dog.

We drove to the Secret Location and bounced the mini up a rocky trail to the door of the Chicken King, who was waiting in the driveway for me.  I reversed up the driveway.  If nothing about this post impresses you, let ME reversing UP a driveway be what does the trick.

We did not need the wellies.  He took us to his show birds.  Oh. My. God.

Feast your eyes on these.....

I can't tell you how much I adored these buff chooks 
These are the Pencils.  There was some frantic sex took place
directly after the photo was taken.  Sonshine left horrified.

These are not pencils, they have stripes

all these chickens were bigger than spaniels.
In fact, they were bigger than my first car.

Sonshine was too trepidatious to get close to let you see that they
are taller than knee height.

They move quite quickly.  That's my excuse for rubbish pix

He stood and POSED for this, with that leg held up like that.

These are the jobbing hens - look the wee Silkie!

More 'bog standard' non show-bird birds.  Gorgeous.

There is a bright blue bit on this silkie's thing. Wattle. Woggle

See the other one? I've seen Liz Taylor wearing a hat just like that.

all together now - aaaaaaaaaah
chickies with their foster mum

The show cock.  Persil white plumage

I was blown away by the birds.  He's been breeding them since he was 11 and has got the finest collection of Plymouth Rocks in Britain - even breeding back in the blue colour which had died out here.  He has, he assured me, the best cock in Britain. So many jokes, so little time to crack them in.

We decided that I would be better off with Commercial hens.  Although those buff ones at the top are looking VERY gorgeous to me.

I would have a little trio - Gloria (Steinman), Gertrude (Stein) and Germaine (Greer).  Named after prominent feminists because they will be going through life without a cock :-D

What do you think? Should I get a little trio?


  1. Ali -

    In a word - YES! :)


  2. too too cute........ not sure whether am more envious of the chicken action (too many foxes I've been told in London to make it viable)or the fact you have a mini!! I've always wanted a Mini.....and chickens.... and can't wait to find out how you like your eggs!!x

    1. You'd need some kind of electric fence in London, I would think. This is my third mini. My first one was blue and the old fashioned type. The second one was red and white and the modern type (and was named Alice). This is a cream and black mini clubman - much larger boot space, but still got the mini zippiness!

      Ali x

  3. go for it! here in canada, city after city is caving to public pressure and starting to allow backyard chicken coops, so who knows, perhaps one day i, too, will have me a chicken run on my balcony. or not. still, they are gorgeous and you need to get yourself a trio. just think of the fresh eggs!

    1. Urban chickens are much more common here than they were, say, five years ago. Look forward to swapping chicken stories with you when you get some too!

      Ali x

  4. I think you would enjoy it - they're very little bother and the eggs are miles better than any you can buy. My top tip would be to buy an automatic pop hole gadget (double entendres wherever you look) which is battery powered and will open and close their little door with the light. Beware the fox though - I'm just re-stocking after a visit...
    And the thing to think about with the huge initial outlay is that the first egg will have cost you, say, £400, which is a lot for an egg! But the next one is half that, and it just keeps getting better :-)

    1. oh dear - re fox visit :-(

      We have a wall around our garden so am hoping that this will keep out Mr Fox, but you can never tell - they are very resourceful and there is, of course, the gate in the driveway.....

      I think I will just go ahead with it. There's no point in worrying about horrible little boys or foxes, I'll just cross those bridges when I get to them!

      Ali x

  5. Get 3 Buffs. They are what I have and they are wonderful. Friendly and good layers. There is a Coop tour on the Island every year (I'm not on it)and even our own chicken yahoo group. I'll send you the link if you want it.

  6. My intention had been to rehome 3 ex-battery chickens and give them a nice couple of final years, but my friends have given me a promissory note for 3 chooks - which I suspect are just the bog standard ones that one of the other farmers has on the island. Would LOVE the Chicken King's buffy ones (top picture) - they've served their purpose - the next generation are much paler in colour.

    I'll be happy with whatever I end up with!

    Coops Tours? Just like Cooks' Tours?! Why are you not on it?!


  7. Go for it Ali. Just make sure that Sonshine knows he's going to be the egg-collector and chief mucker-out.

    We had 6 chooks and a duck at our last house, and I really liked having them, especially the new laid free range eggs.
    We found that feeding them on the commercial feeds gave the eggs a fishy taste, so we switched to the usual scraps+corn+grain.

    Best of luck with the venture.

  8. oh that's interesting - about the commercial feed. I'll need to watch out for that. I have plenty of kitchen scraps, so ideally that would be the best way to feed them!

    A duck? An Indian Runner Duck perhaps?

    Ali x

    1. I don't know the breed, but it only had 1 leg and was the most angry bird I've ever met. I would have a go at anything that moved, apart from the chooks.

      I asked the previous owners why they hadn't offed the nasty little beast. He said they felt sorry for it.

      You wouldn't believe how fast it could go on 1 leg and it's bum; it chased me out of the enclosure more than once.

  9. Oh no, chickens, cock and crack jokes ....those buff ones are pretty though.


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