gardening grow your own outdoor sculpture

Meet The Chickens

I often mention feeding the chucks in my blogs, so I think it is about time they were introduced. I decided to take a portrait of each one but they just do not stay still long enough to take a photo. So I gave them a new bale of straw to play with and took shots of them distributing it all over their run.They are a right mixed bunch, my two remaining bantams from my original bantam flock and all sorts of hybrids. the banties lay just an occasional egg in the summer months now as they are old age pensioner hens, but the hybrids keep us, and friends, family and neighbours, in eggs all year.

We had better begin with the leader of the flock, the hen at the top of the pecking order, who is aptly called “Jude” named after my wife, usually referred to as “The Undergardener” in my blogs. Jude the hen is a New Hampshire Red bantam.

The next shot shows “Swampy” in the foreground with “Royella” behind. Swampy is one of our two hybrids called Fenton Blues, so called because they lay blue-shelled eggs. She is called Swampy as she spends a lot of time up in the trees – you might have to think about that for a moment! The Fentons have small crests of feathers which stick out all over the place on windy days making them look like they are experiencing a “bad hair day”.

The next photo is of “Royella” our remaining Silver Laced Wyandotte Bantam from our original pair, who were named Val and Royella after our next door neighbours, Roy and Valerie because their foliage was the same colour as our neighbours hair!

Next we have a group with two more hybrids in the foreground, “Em” the black chuck on the right and “V”, the Sussex Hybrid on the left. The two Fenton blues are behind them with Swampy on the left and “Jo” on the right. Jo is named after our daughter as she has the same coloured hair as the hen’s feathers.

This scraggy bird is “Bluebell”, a Bluebelle Hybrid, who has rather unwisely decided that January is the right time to moult! She is usually a stunning looking hen with lots of shades of bluish grey feathers with a contrasting ginger-bronze breast.

In the foreground of this pic is our original brown hybrid, the friendliest of the bunch, insisting on being picked up every time anyone enters their run.

These next two photos prove that taking portraits of chickens is not an easy task, certainly much harder than I imagined it would be. Firstly here is Swampy with her head a high-speed blur as she attacks the straw,

…. and here is the one that got away!

The easiest hens to photograph are the ornaments in the garden, such as this very round terra-cotta version sat on an old hazel stump on the poolside with a backdrop of grasses and dogwoods ………

…… and this cockerel weather forecaster.

grow your own

Crested Chucks

Camera shy Fenton Blue

My flock of chucks is back up to eight with the addition of a Fenton Blue and a Fenton Rose. These are hybrids bred from Cream Legbars which are very flighty birds. My two tend to live in the trees in their run watching their flock comrades below them. They are normally very nosy birds but show them a camera and they disappear. Hence so far this is the one and only photo I have. But I shall keep trying.

We hope to get eggs from them in a month or so. they come into lay a few weeks later than most hybrids but the eggs should be worth waiting for – they lay blue ones!
They are beautiful birds, the blue having a salmon chest contrasting with the blue/grey of the rest of her feathers whereas the rose is a lovely mottled rose red.
gardening grow your own

New Chucks

I have acquired a couple of new hybrids to add to our flock. We are getting fewer eggs these days as our bantams are now rather elderly as bantams go. The Hybrids which we have had now for nearly a year are still laying well but these new girls should boost production as the originals begin to age and slow down their egg laying activities. The new chucks are a Sussex cross, who is mostly white apart from her black tail and hackle and a Bluebell,  with strange airforce blue and grey plumage with a contrasting amber chest.

Bluebell - still shy in front of the lens.