New kids on the block - New birds in the flock

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alan refail
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Re: New kids on the block - New birds in the flock

Postby alan refail » Thu Jul 11, 2019 5:09 pm

Big day tomorrow! Three new houses arriving - two for chickens and one for ducks.
I've worked out that we've hatched 23 ducklings and 14 chicks so far this year. We now have another 16 eggs in the incubator; not the Dorkings as planned (they will be next year's project), but our own "MarsBars" (Cream Legbar x Black Copper Marans). And that should be it for this season!
In case you think I am not growing any more, I am, but have cut back to courgettes, lettuce, chicory, cabbage, onions, herbs, kohl-rabi, beetroot and seven varieties of tomatoes. I had to add that to justify being on this forum!
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Cred air o bob deg a glywi, a thi a gei rywfaint bach o wir (hen ddihareb Gymraeg)
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Re: New kids on the block - New birds in the flock

Postby Westi » Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:21 pm

Blimey Alan! Busy indeed but in the nicest possible way - got your feathered successes & it seems your crops are playing as well! You would always be on this forum whatever sideline takes your fancy as always able to add something of merit to a question asked!
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Re: New kids on the block - New birds in the flock

Postby Primrose » Sun Jul 14, 2019 11:02 am

Well Alan, just as well you're retired or you certainly wouldn't have time to keep on top of all that lot. Sound as if you're going to have even. Ore to keep you occupied and I'mm sure every batch of new hatchings beings fresh pleasure.....as well as more work !
You certainly have plenty of motivation to get you out of bed in the morning with that lot to attend to !
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Re: New kids on the block - New birds in the flock

Postby robo » Sun Jul 14, 2019 11:54 am

Alan you don't have to justify your self to me I find your posts on chickens and ducks very interesting maybe we should call you chicken George
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Re: New kids on the block - New birds in the flock

Postby Shallot Man » Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:40 am

alan. Will you be operating a delivery service. ? :wink: :wink:
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Re: New kids on the block - New birds in the flock

Postby snooky » Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:20 pm

Hello Alan,
Are you exhibiting any birds at the Royal Welsh Show next week?
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alan refail
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Re: New kids on the block - New birds in the flock

Postby alan refail » Mon Jul 15, 2019 2:09 pm

snooky wrote:Hello Alan,
Are you exhibiting any birds at the Royal Welsh Show next week?


Having seen poultry at shows we would never subject any of our birds to that sort of thing.
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Cred air o bob deg a glywi, a thi a gei rywfaint bach o wir (hen ddihareb Gymraeg)
Believe one tenth of what you hear, and you will get some little truth (old Welsh proverb)
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Re: New kids on the block - New birds in the flock

Postby alan refail » Sat Jul 27, 2019 3:04 pm

GOING FOR THE TON!

Things continue to progress in our poultry venture. We managed to achieve a double dream this morning, as the monthly poultry sale at Llangefni had the two things we have been searching for. We came home with four young Cayuga ducklings, which are the blackest all-black ducks you can ever imagine, and two true Rhode Island Red pullets, the breed I remember arriving as day-old chicks a good seventy years ago :D
We did a calculation over lunch and found that that brings us to 94 birds - 34 ducks/drakes and 60 hens/cocks.
The last hatch of the season is due in the incubator in three or four days - 16 MarsBars (Cream Legbar x Black Copper Marans). We are keeping our collective fingers crossed for a successful hatch from the 16 eggs in there. That should push us over the hundred!
We are already making tentative plans for next year.
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Cred air o bob deg a glywi, a thi a gei rywfaint bach o wir (hen ddihareb Gymraeg)
Believe one tenth of what you hear, and you will get some little truth (old Welsh proverb)
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Re: New kids on the block - New birds in the flock

Postby oldherbaceous » Sat Jul 27, 2019 5:14 pm

Exciting news, Alan and please keep us up to date, as things progress. Glad things are going so well......
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Re: New kids on the block - New birds in the flock

Postby Stravaig » Sat Jul 27, 2019 6:49 pm

I'm loving this fascinating thread. Thanks for sharing.

alan refail wrote:When you and I were young, Primrose, commercial flocks were usually based on White Leghorns, which lay white-shelled eggs, and Rhode Island Reds, which lay brown-shelled eggs. These days the vast majority commercial flocks are ISA Brown (or similar) and these are hybrids derived from Rhode Island Reds - hence the preponderance of brown-shelled eggs on the market.


Also when I was young. My auntie and uncle were tenant farmers in Aberdeenshire. They had cows, sheep, cereals, and veggies such as neeps for cattle feed. All on what I'd now consider to be a small bit of land - no idea of the actual size but not much more than a handful of fields. There was also a peat bog up the hill. Any relatives who were willing were always roped in as free labour at the weekends as there was always so much to do. I spent many of my school holidays there and loved it. My favourite job was working with the dogs to bring the sheep down each night. But I've gone a bit off track there with reminiscing.

The hens' eggs were always white then. Maybe the hens were white leghorns, as you say, Alan. Then over the years brown eggs seemed to be perceived as being healthier, even though there's no difference nutritionally. Perhaps it was because brown bread also came back into fashion in preference to white.

Here in Ukraine, white is the norm, which surprised me a bit as I'd not seen white eggs for a while. However, the most expensive eggs - the ones that are free-range, organic, and in nicer packaging - are brown. That's what we buy. I don't know if we've been taken in by marketing hype and packaging. Maybe I should do a taste test sometime. (I hope I'm not boring people by going on about life in Ukraine but I got the impression people liked to hear how things are done in different parts of the world.)
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Re: New kids on the block - New birds in the flock

Postby robo » Sat Jul 27, 2019 6:58 pm

Stravaig ,please keep it coming
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alan refail
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Re: New kids on the block - New birds in the flock

Postby alan refail » Sat Jul 27, 2019 7:53 pm

robo wrote:Stravaig ,please keep it coming


I was just about to say the same!
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Cred air o bob deg a glywi, a thi a gei rywfaint bach o wir (hen ddihareb Gymraeg)
Believe one tenth of what you hear, and you will get some little truth (old Welsh proverb)
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Re: New kids on the block - New birds in the flock

Postby Westi » Sat Jul 27, 2019 8:36 pm

Funny isn't it that we just accept things as they come off the conveyor belt! If I found a white egg in a box I would go for it in a blink! They were all white in my youth from the few hens we had - don't think I have the stomach to kill them at the end of their production life either which in retrospect was a more natural end, as they were never bred to give more than they could & were really old & just for stock & the like! I'm pretty sure I could pluck the feathers though.
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Re: New kids on the block - New birds in the flock

Postby Stravaig » Sat Jul 27, 2019 10:03 pm

Ach, you spoil me. You're all so kind and friendly - and interesting! Thanks.

Just one more snippet about eggs in Ukraine before I get back to my comfort zone of the cooking forum, or crying for help on the gardening beginners' area. :D

Of course I'd heard of quails' eggs in the UK, but they seemed like a bit of a luxury item, maybe nice for canapes or a garnish or something. I'd never got around to trying them. Never really felt the inclination to do so and I'm not sure I'd even seen them for sale anywhere, although I've since researched online and they cost a lot more than hens' eggs and are available in some supermarkets.

They're very easy to get here so I bought a dozen. (I'll try almost anything once.) They weren't expensive at all. Once I'd got them home I had to search online for how to cook them. Boil for almost two minutes.

As it happened, it was the morning for my "helper" to be here. (It's quite the norm to have a woman - that's not a sexist comment, that's just how it is - who comes in for a morning a week to do some household cleaning and stuff and they're generally referred to as "helpers".) I usually give her lunch after she's finished her duties. She's always interested in what I cook. I thought she'd be excited to have the luxury item of quails' eggs. Not so. They're quite the norm. Apparently she and her family just take them for granted as we do hens' eggs. So much for my attempt to provide an interesting lunch.

Anyway, these eggs are pesky little things to peel so I don't know that I'll be rushing to buy them again but they are cute and they seem to have a bigger yolk to white ratio.

And to put the ball firmly back into your court, I wonder why they're so expensive in the UK when they're not elsewhere. Are the birds difficult to breed, or perhaps there isn't the demand, or maybe they've not quite come into fashion yet?

More importantly, Alan, I'm sure we're all looking forward to the next installment of you and your birds!
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Re: New kids on the block - New birds in the flock

Postby Primrose » Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:07 am

Stravaid, I think all of us in here love to hear how things are done in other parts of the world. It's always fascinating to read of different habits and customs so please continue to keep us educated and informed. It certainly adds to the diversity of the forum.
We have a remarkable habit here of "borrowing" other country's most enjoyable foods and habits and adopting them as our own. After all, how I impovwrished we would be as a country without our great "British" curries !! So please carry on sharing yours customs and also some of your favourite recipes.

Apologies Alan, for temporarily hijacking your thread.
I was wondering if you ever get any wild local mallards flying in at this time of year and mingling in with your domestic flock when it comes to nearest building and laying their eggs? They do seem to choose some of the oddest locations. A female mallard recent flew into an enclosed patio square at our local hospital to hatch her eggs and rear her brood. The staff provided a child's paddling pool to support them with water but as the surrounding buildings on all four sides were two storeys high we were all wondering how she was going to get them out when they were ready to return to her native pond or river. At what age do young ducklings learn to fly? And do your "domesticated" birds ever fly off? As a relative townie I feel somewhat ignorant in asking some of these questions.
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