by Cabelo | Nov 3, 2019 | Paws & Claws
Mrs Tweedy was recently lucky enough to acquire 9 of the (in her words!) smallest, sweetest chickens she has ever seen. Now that they are off heat, they have moved into the salon garden and are receiving much admiration.
The trouble is these little chickens have proved to be a bit of quandary. She originally thought they were Dutch bantams, but they have turned out not to be Dutch bantams at all, but rather an unusual Belgian breed of bantam chicken.
After much debate, the brilliant contributors on the American Backyard Chickens Forum finally identified them as the more glamourous sounding Barbu de Watermael chicken (variety quail: colour white with buff markings).
Mrs Tweedy is really chuffed about that and keeps banging on about how cute they, but if you look up the definition of ‘cute’ in the dictionary, you just get a picture of Mr Nibbles, not a barbu de watermael. Enough said.
by Cabelo | Jul 16, 2019 | Paws & Claws
After the sad demise of Mrs Feathers RIP, the interest in taking Paws and Claws forward was good at first, with three strong candidates. So I compiled an application form (why are you the best chicken for the job etc.) and I left a few in the coop. When I went back after a couple of days to collect them up, the top one had been very badly abused. Clearly chickens do not take the application process seriously.
So, I’m sitting there most displeased and decide to bang off a few photos, when this happens…
It’s one of the young birds who bears an uncanny likeness to Mrs Feathers.
Our new blogger is organically appointed! A photo bomber already walking in the steps of the illustrious Mrs Feathers RIP, the queen of photo bombing. I am going to rename her Little Feathers in homage.
Next time: new to Paws and Claws, Mr Nibbles rules the roost
by Cabelo | Jul 10, 2019 | Paws & Claws
Every year growing up we would spend Easter with my godmother, who owned a flock of about 200 chickens. I can still remember two things from that time: the absolute joy of finding eggs in a nest and the wonderful smell of a mixture of scraps, bran and egg shells bubbling away on the Aga day and night, which we would dish out every evening before the chickens went to bed. As a grown up with my own small flock, I still experience that same joy every time I go into the roosting area and find newly laid eggs. Especially with the variety of chickens that I keep, which all lay different coloured eggs.
When you get an egg haul like this it’s really something to celebrate, especially if you crack open the occasional double yolker!
This is a crested legbar. Not only are they a really interesting chicken to keep, but these are one variety that lays blue eggs.
But the question is, do they taste different – the brown egg v the white egg v the blue egg v the conker brown egg? Well, we think that the rare coloured eggs taste better, but actually they don’t. And on a blind tasting you wouldn’t notice any difference at all. But it’s interesting to have a variety of chickens in your flock, and the different egg colours and sizes is just something fun. The smaller eggs are laid by my pekin bantam chickens. Bantams are half the size of a normal chicken and have sweet feathery feet. All my bantam chickens are now living in the salon garden. If you don’t like egg white, but enjoy a reasonably sized yolk, bantam chickens would be your go-to girls to keep.
Quail eggs are a real delicacy and rated as a superfood. Those are the little splotchy eggs in the basket. You shouldn’t really eat more than 4 of them in a day. If you’ve never had a quail egg before, they are much creamier and milder tasting than a hen egg. I like to hard boil them (although they are not the easiest things to peel) and place them on a salad like little white and yellow jewels. I also like them fried and served like an egg pizza.
Why do I keep chickens and quail? Because the eggs taste better, the shells are stronger, I know what’s in the eggs because I know what the chickens are eating, and I know that the chickens have ample opportunity to free range and do all the things a chicken likes to do: in other words eggs is eggs is not a truism. Some eggs are much better because they are laid by happy, healthy hens. And although my quail can’t free range (quails can bong 6 foot in the air and sail over a fence if spooked), they have a sheltered area in which to sleep and lots of space in their aviary to do all the things a quail likes to do.
If you are inspired to keep a few chickens in your backyard, I warn you that your hobby will soon turn into an obsession.
Next time: a new blogger is appointed (eggs is eggs by Mrs Tweedy)
by Cabelo | Jul 7, 2019 | Paws & Claws
Some very sad news to report. Mrs Feathers, one of our original chickens who we raised from a chick, passed away quietly and unexpectedly on Saturday. Now reunited with Mr Feathers. Mrs Feathers had an illustrious career as an egg layer and chicken blogger, and was by far the best photo bomber in the flock……
Note: The trouble with chickens is that they hide their illnesses to such an extent that by the time you notice they are ill, they are inevitably dying. There are two reasons for this. The first is that chickens are prey and therefore instinctually try not to show weakness because they will be the first to be picked off by any predator (even though they are safe in Jurassic Park). And secondly, they don’t want the rest of the flock to be aware that they are sick because for the same reason, sick chickens attract predators and potentially that puts the whole flock at risk – hence the flock will often attack the sick chicken and see it off.
Next time – eggs is eggs (delayed due to the passing of Mrs Feathers)
by Cabelo | Jun 30, 2019 | Paws & Claws
So, Mrs Tweedy has taken all the little pekins up to the salon
to live. She says every beautiful garden needs a few chickens to make it perfect. And who am I to disagree? Anyhow, it’s clear from the photos she bought back with her today that these girls haven’t got a clue about horticulture. They’re marigolds you idiots!
Next time – RIP Mrs Feathers