Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Goliath and his mates

As I sit here in my nice warm bed I often think about the chickens in their coop and hope that they are warm enough. But then I think hang on a minute we have giganta fluffy chickens also known as Buff Orpingtons. For those of you that are not familiar with this lovely breed let me introduce you to our head Buff Goliath.

Goliath is such an amazing bird and quite a celeb. He now has his own portrait created by the very talented Dave Brunger. To check out his other work just click on this ..... dcbartworks

We bought over with us from the UK 24 hatching eggs, 12 from two different breeders, but because of our horrid journey only 3 survived. Goliath is the Don of the birds we have, the ladies love him, the ducks love him and even the other cockerels love him. Now it is very unusual for cockerels to live together in harmony but Goliaths best mate is Queen Elizabeth and he ( yes I said he! He just happened to look like Queen Elizabeth the 1st as a chick) is second in command. They have a funny old relationship when I watch them, it's almost like watching scenes from the karate kid, Goliath has taken him under his wing.... quite literally.  Now this behavior is quite common in the Buff Orpington breed, they are well known for their gentle nature and that is one of the reasons that we chose them. The other reason is that they are big birds so great for feeding the family. Did you know that in England before people had turkeys for Christmas dinner the Buff Orpington was the bird of choice because of their size.

Buff Orpingtons with ex battery hens

To bulk out our stock and because we wanted more eggs we popped to the market to buy some ex battery chickens. They were fantastic apart from the fact that the cockerel skip escaped out of his box in the car and ended up crowing at passers by. Many of our chickens got taken by stray dogs and foxes at first but now we have two fantastic secure coops thanks to Mark and Jez who came to volunteer last summer.

Last year we went on to incubate two more sets of eggs. The second batch was a success even with our electricity being cut off our dear friend Jill saved the day as we risked the very bumpy journey to her house. The third batch was not such a triumph as only one egg hatched we named her Pock. Pock spends the evenings chilling with Jock and Rufus our dogs in the kitchen in front of the fire. It won't be long now until she can go into the coop with the others. Big relief for me as I kind of feel bad when there's a chicken watching me cook a chicken.

Nugget one of the survivors from the trip over

As well as keeping chickens we keep a few other feathery friends but we have also lost a fair few. At the moment we have one Indian Runner Duck called Sir Francis. He did have three ladies but sadly they got taken by a fox. He is a rather funny chap and now hangs around with four other ducks that we got from the market. They spend their days in the pond and foraging for spiders in the grass.

Sir Francis having a mooch

We also have 9 very cheeky geese that like to spend their day tormenting everyone else! With keeping all of these animals you also get Poultry Politics, The Ducks refuse to sleep anywhere other than with the chickens. The latest batch of chickens includes about 4 cockerels that team up, hunt for the geese in the garden and drop kick them. The red Bulgarian chickens are feisty and chase the dogs often beating up poor Rufus and all of them are very sly and plan trips to the kitchen door to steal the dog food.

Geese in the snow

Although sometimes keeping the chickens, ducks and geese seems like a lot of hard work, there is nothing like collecting fresh eggs in the morning, having a lovely supply of poop for your veggies and even having a laugh being chased by the odd bird. It really is heartbreaking when one of them gets taken but it really is satisfying when you rescue one. Two days ago Mark opened the front door to go and get something from the car when he noticed a stray dog running down the street with one of our chickens in his mouth. Luckily the dog dropped the chicken when Mark shouted but boy was that one lucky bird!


  1. Seems like Goliath is my lucky mascot as it seems like I may have another commission after someone seeing it.

    1. that's brilliant!! and so exciting. Seriously you are mega talented and everyone should have a piece of your art on their wall. We can't stop looking at him and he will get passed down through the family (I mean the painting not actual Goliath because that would be gross!! ) hehe

  2. Tehehe this blog post made me lol! Cockerals drop kicking geese! belly laughs! xx