We initially rescued three Warrens when we took on a second plot in September 2014. Quickly named Lottie, Maisie and Doris, we worked hard to give them a good diet and cleaner accommodation. It paid dividends in a plethora of eggs!
We then took on two Nova’s (Maggie and Peggie) who laid beautiful smaller eggs albeit less frequently than the Warrens due to their age. They lived to a ripe old age of at least 4-5 years (difficult to tell exactly!)
Later additions included three more Warrens (Betty, Annie and Evie) who were given to Phil by someone on another allotment site who was giving up and wanted a good home for them. Phil already having several of his own, gave them to us. Sadly we lost Betty to a fox not long after we got her, and Annie about three years ago but Evie still continued strong until 2019.
Emily was the sole survivor of a different fox attack, smart enough to escape the fox but not my husband managed to catch her. We looked after he while we waited for the owner to repair the coop. He never did and shortly after left the site. So we kept her. She definitely had PTSD and thus was always approached with caution. She was an incredible broody and raised several sets of chicks. She passed away at a grand old age of 7 years old in autumn 2019.
In 2015 we managed to hatch our first chickens with Emily as the broody. She managed to hatch 4 eggs which is amazing and we kept Holly and Molly. Unfortunately, we couldn’t keep the other two Vorwerks as they were male and cockerels aren’t allowed on site. Molly has raised her own chick, Millie despite an attack which left her with a deformed comb. We lost Holly in the winter of 2019 but Mill continues strong albeit not laying any eggs.
The same summer we hatched Holly and Molly, Cliff managed to hatch an array of chicks of different breeds. In fact he hatched so many he couldn’t keep them all so we took on Polly and Dolly, two pure breed Cream Legbars. These lay beautiful pale green eggs but as a pure breed, they do not lay during autumn or winter. Sadly, we lost Dolly to a beak injury in spring 2020 after several weeks of hand and syringe feeding.
At the tail end of 2017, we were given 5 Black Rocks by Geoff as he decided to try his luck with another breed (Rhode Island Reds). The Black Rocks are hybrid chickens which will lay all year round, securing our egg supply at last! These lay light brown eggs of varying sizes depending on the age of the chicken laying it. Rapidly these were named Snap, Crackle, Pop, Fizz and Squeak. Sadly, we lost Crackle a few weeks after we got her, Squeak in August 2018 and Fizz in January 2020.
In July 2018, we took on two Cuckoo Marans from Steve, called Nelly and Daisy. Unfortunately, we lost Nelly and Daisy soon after they settled in. Cuckoo marans are beautiful birds and lay lovely eggs.
Last year saw us loose a couple of the older chickens so we are now hoping that the chicks we raise this year we be able to take over the egg production. I was fortunate enough to be put in charge of 9 Rhode Island Red chicks hatched at work this summer and we have kept three, two girls named Aggie and Cassie and a cockerel called Tommy.
There is a local farmers market that sells ex-commerical layers where you can easily pick up chickens for a good price. If they are ex-commerical, they often appear in poor condition and get confused at many of the freedoms allotment chickens enjoy. Usually, they work it out within a few days… Our new rescue chickens are called Georgie, Katie and Hattie.
Summer 2019 saw the arrival of three new chicks, two Golden Laced Wyandottes (Obi-Wan and Hans) and a silver pencilled Plymouth Rock (Leia) after another successful hatch by Emily. All three chicks were born on Star Wars day (May 4th). Both Wyandottes were boys and found new homes on a small holding whilst Leia holds the record for most expensive chicken on site after several vet visits and a course of antiinflammatories. She was late to lay her first egg, around 9 months old. As Leia was recuperating, Phil kindly gave us Rey, a gorgeous Cream Legbar chick, a few weeks younger than Leia. They are now completely inseparable.
In the summer of 2020, Leia went broody for the first time and has managed to hatch five beautiful little white leghorn chicks. We will need to wait a few weeks before we know whether we can keep them and name them. Born on June 13th, these chicks will be given royal names in keeping with being born on the Queen’s birthday.