Monday, 11 December 2006

Rain and more Rain

Yesterday looked like we were going to have a winter at last. There was frost on the ground and the sun was shining. However by lunch time the rain had started again and it has rained ever since. Living in the Vale of Evesham may be picturesque and warm but we do have a very high water table so it gets wet easily . The ducks enjoy it but the chickens not so much .

These little hens are Lavender Pekins they are really friendly little birds and love being picked up but are a bit camera shy. We have to be especially careful of these breeds in wet weather because as you can see they have 'trousers' on . All these little breeds with feathers on their legs don't cope very well with the mud and have to be checked for mud balls on their feet throughout the winter. It wouldn't be the first time I have had these little pekins sitting in a bowl of warm water to wash their feet.

We avoid this problem in very bad weather by putting beech chips on the floor of their pen to keep their feet clean. The beech chips are much better than bark or wood shavings because they don't go mouldy . They are specially made for animal and bird cages so are free of any nasty bugs or fungi. After the winter you can spread them on your garden paths or around the flower beds where they keep the weeds down. These beech chips are not yet in our catalogue but can be purchased by e-mail or telephone. Of course both the chips and the houses can be purchased from our shop when you come visiting.

Luckily several of our smaller bantams are in our Penthouse range of chicken houses so we can easily move them to dry ground and the chickens are protected by a roof over their heads . The picture shows Clive moving a penthouse to a fresh piece of grass . You can see how easy it is to move on your own. Even I can move it without having to go running for help. You can also use the beech chips on the floor of these houses if you haven't any grass to put the chicken house on . It works well if you are keeping the birds as pets on your patio.


For those who are interested in the birds. Pekins were imported from China . The original ones were Buff or Gold and were kept as pets by the Emperor. They are round shaped with fluffy feathers the tail is as high as the head. The feet are covered with feathers. They now come in a range of colours . We have 10 different colours on show here at the Domestic Fowl Trust at Honeybourne but there are several more colours that we don't have room for.

This is a picture of a mottled Pekin Hen and Cockerel.The older the get the more white they become. A bit like us really . An old hen can be very white.

This one looking over her shoulder at us is a partridge Pekin hen. I haven't got a picture of the cockerel but he is much brighter coloured with a gold head and shoulders.

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