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Dave C

Long time no speak !!!!

Hello everyone I hope you are all doing well.

Sorry I haven't been on hear for 3 - 4 months, but between working away a lot and some major family problems I have been very busy.
But I'm back now and ready for the new season.

Now for the bad news, while I was working in Holland we had 3 fox attacks and every bird I had was killed!!!!
If you remember I had La Bresse, Indian game, welsummer Marans and there crosses and various other crosses I had created.
Luckily I do have stock at a few friends places if that's the way I decide to go.

But my question is, if you had to start again, knowing what you know, would you have the heart to start all over again or would you go for different or easier ?

A little bit extreme but I couldn't live without my chickens. I'm very happy with the three breeds that I have, those being Light Sussex, Welsummers and most recently, my Anconas.
I've never ever tired of  picking up my own freshly laid eggs and I think my love of poultry keeping almost certainly stems from  one particular journey that I undertook over fifty years ago with my mum as a very young kid.
Grandma Bodger hales from Stretford and during the war to escape the blitz, she was evacuated to a farm near Mow Cop.
On this particular day we boarded a steam engine at Burslem and travelled to a place called Ackers Crossing. Once off the train we left the railway station and walked for a mile or more along country lanes to see a lady I was told to call Auntie Mildred. Auntie Mildred kept lots of chickens and she allowed us to go into the chicken sheds and collect the eggs. The dye was set.

 back sorry about your hens

Sorry sbout your 'chooks' real hard one. Great to have you back  
Dave C

Thanks everyone, I will definitely be getting some new stock in soon.

It's just do I start again with my old breeds, look for new or just get a few hybrids  

We will see, but like bodger I couldn't be with out some for long.

Sorry to hear of your problems Dave. We lost a lot of chickens and ducks about 18 months ago to the point where we decided to have a break from them for a while. We kept the geese as they seem to be able to fend for themselves and don't need much looking after. I'm now thinking about getting started again but from a different perspective ie not really being a chicken "fancier" if you know what I mean, but more of the desire to produce some eggs that I can sell. We previously kept and bred Sussex, RIR and a few others but this time I'm going to go for a single house and a flock of hybrids purely for egg laying. No breeding, no multiple pens of growers, no disappointing hatches, no feeding them for months before getting any return etc, etc. One house, one pen surrounding it and 50 or so layers. Keep them for a year then sell them on for a few quid and restock. That's the plan anyway.

Welcome back Dave. Sorry to hear about your hens. Hughesy's plan does sound attractive.

I keep 50+ hybrid layers and sell the eggs, replacing the birds each year with young stock and selling the year olds. It works well and the egg money covers most of the other costs - certainly all the feed bills.

As you know I also keep a few varieties of pure breeds for hatching eggs, chicks - pol. which I really enjoy doing.

They compliment each other.

As I lifted up the pop holes up this morning I counted all my chickens out. In total, I now have 32 chickens and that includes 3 cockerels. ( Karen doesn't believe me )
At the moment, I have an aging population on the smallholding and that includes me.  

Due to my little health scare early last summer and a slight touch of laziness, it's close on two years since I hatched any chicks on our place, so, today I decided to get my arse into gear and get my incubators down from the top shelf in the barn.
I've given them a bit of a dusting and I now have my Brinsea 20 up and running and already have six  Ancona eggs ready and waiting. At the moment I'm trying to get the temperature in the incubator running at a steady level and of course, I'm also trying to get a full batch of suitable eggs collected. I intend setting some Ancona eggs and some of my 'super duper' Light Sussex in this first batch.
Don't put me to shame but what have my OTG chicken buddies got on the go right now?

Pekin chicks - 8-9 weeks old hatched under a broody
Pekin chicks  -3-4 weeks old  hatched in the incubator
Exchequer Leghorn, a cross breed experiment for green eggs & Welsummer  2-3 week old incubator
Pekin chicks -2 weeks old under hen
5 day old Exchequer Leghorn chicks incubator
Mixed large fowl due a week tomorrow.

24 of Bodger's "super dooper" Light Sussex eggs in the incubator but not sure if my Light Sussex cock is firing live rounds or not  
I will candle the eggs soon to find out.
Plan on getting a RIR cock to put with the hens to provide some relacement laying stock.

Right now my Anconas are laying like the clappers and it wont be long before I have a full compliment of their eggs for the incubator, so if anyone wants to give them a try, I can guarantee you wont be disappointed. They lay big startlingly white eggs.
I'd love more people to keep this much underrated and almost forgotten breed.
Dave C

I think I will get a few pol hybrids in just so I get some quick eggs in and maybe some more hybrid table birds to keep me busy, but I will start with some pure breeds as well.
Over the years I have fancied some different breeds but didn't have the room, so I need to take my time & not rush into any hasty dicisssions  

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