Chris's Weblog – City Chickens


Duckling Surprise

Look for the small things in life to bring joy. (Confucius)


We had given up on any ducklings from Jemima and Puddles as most of their eggs have been infertile. However, this morning, to my great surprise one of the eggs had pipped and by this evening we had a beautiful baby duck. I have already bought some duck eggs from ebay and they should arrive tomorrow. The bought ones are mixed colours so we don’t know what to expect. Waiting for Libbie to come up with a name for the new baby now.

Torrential Rain and More to Come.

After a day of torrential rain the weather finally cleared up enough for us to pop down to the plots and install the second Cucumber Carmen in the lean to. The first plant is still surviving despite the cold spell we have had. We had a walk round to check on everything and so far no disasters and all the mini greenhouses are is still standing. We bought home the first of the pointed cabbage and some chard. Most of the seeds we sowed are through and the potatoes are doing really well. Rob is off work next week so we hope that the weather will allow is to complete the new fruit cage, plant the runner beans and get some pumpkins and squash into the ground.

Back at home the melon seedling have been turfed out of the broody box to make way for seven new chicks, the final count of the hatch is two Pekins and five Orpington bantams. There is still a lot of potting on to do as the seedlings of pumpkins, butternut squash, tomatoes, lettuce, sweet corn, melons and pak choi are all crying out for attention.

White Faverolles Bantam

Today I have received twelve hatching eggs of the White Faverolles Bantam from Benjamin Shepherd, a breeder from Lancaster. The link to his website is on the sidebar under friends. They will go into the incubator tomorrow along with six replacement eggs of the Buff Plymouth Rock as only one of the first batch of eggs was fertile and the breeder very kindly replaced them. I have bought a ‘Brooder Hen’ from P&T Poultry Supplies. It is an electrically heated plate that hangs above chicks in a broody box to supply them with constant body heat for the first few weeks of life.

White Faverolles BantamPictures courtesy of Benjamin Shepherd

Faverolles originate from the village of Faverolles in Northern France and were created from a mix of several different breeds. They have a broad, square body with small wings, a single upright comb, short neck, a striking beard and muffing. The head is broad and round and the eyes are reddish bay. The pinkish legs are sparsely feathered with the feathering concentrated on the outer toe. They have five toes. They are quiet, friendly, gentle birds that can actually become very affectionate towards their keepers and are an ideal breed for children. They are alert, active birds and the hens make very good broodies and mothers. The hens will actually lay prolifically over winter. They are not good fliers. Information from


Courgette Black Beauty

Today has been a sad day as I have had to cull the two lame Apenzeller chicks. The remaining three cockerels are strong and will be going to a new home soon as we can’t keep boys here. On a more positive note the first of the Buff Plymouth Rock chicks has hatched and it looks very healthy.

courgette black beautyI have sown my last single seed of Courgette Black Beauty which has done very well for us in the past three years. Germination should take 7-14 days and it should be ready to plant out in early May. It is a very prolific plant amd fruits need to be picked when small for the best taste. If we have had problems getting to the plot in the past we have found some fruit to have reached 1′ in a very short time.

Five Fluffy Chicks – Hello Flossie


(Update – of the five chicks, two had to be culled as they both had seriously splayed legs and just couldn’t cope. Two are cockerels and are going to live in Manchester and one seems to be a pullet so she will stay here. I am quite happy to have one Apenzeller to add to our little flock)

Appenzeller Spitzhauben for a Spring Hatch

appenzeller-spitzhaubenemma.jpgThis is the national breed of Switzerland. The feathers of the crest are forward facing. Spitzhauben means pointed hat or bonnet. The plumage markings are black-tipped feathers. With their crest, V-comb, and spangled plumage, these birds are very attractive. They lay a beautiful white medium sized egg. 

I have bought six hatching eggs of the above breed for hatching in the incubator. (Sorry Sean)

Memory Lane

Yesterday we had a bit of an adventure. We delivered two silkie boys to a lad in Bishops Castle. We had never been there before and the whole journey, including getting lost on the way home, turned into a great day out. We stopped to get our bearings outside a lovely pub where we had a welcome rest, a drink and something to eat before we set off again to get home. We went miles out of our way coming back but saw some lovely places including some hop fields which brought back some good memories from childhood for me. We drove through the Hope Valley which was really beautiful in the Autumn sunshine. We also drove through Church Stretton, a beautiful place and well worth another visit in the future. My son Adam went there once on a field trip from university and I remember that he rang on his mobile to tell me about the wonderful views. He was right too. All in all we had a great day with some laughs and met some really nice people and a little dog called Sophie. Rob leaves for Poland this afternoon so another busy day ahead for us.



The 12th is usually a sad day for us all as it is the anniversary of the death of Glenn’s partner Lindsay.

 Along The Road by Robert Browning

I walked a mile with Pleasure
She chattered all the way
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say
I walked a mile with Sorrow
And ne’er a word said she
But oh, the things
I learned from her
When Sorrow walked with me



We need to find a home for our new white Silkie bantam pair as we are unable to keep cockerels at home. We would prefer to keep the hen but no-one wants to buy just a boy. They are a lovely group and would be perfect for breeding if only we had the space.

The weather over the last three weeks has been perfect for growing with plenty of sunshine and rain so we have been busy harvesting and weeding. The crop this year has been wonderful. I think its down to the good season rather than any improving skills from us. I have ordered overwintering brassica plants and the onion sets ready for planting so we have to get cracking and clear the beds for them. Last years onion sets bought from Focus have given us a great crop and should see us through till next year. They have been dried and put into netting bags for storage. Although we still have potatoes to dig up we have already eaten and given away loads and have some stored in paper sacks for later. We have done much better this year with potatoes as we have grown most of them in bags rather than in the ground.

Its throwing it down with rain this morning and Glenn and Adam are fishing at Pool Hall for a few days. The fish are weighed and photographed and then returned gently to the water.


Strawberry Time


Here comes the sun and here come the strawberries. We had quite a poor crop last year but this year we have an abundance of fruit so if we can beat the slugs in the race to harvest we should have enough to eat, preserve and give away. yummy….

A disappointing time for Puddles and Jemima as not one of their clutch survived but we are just grateful that Puddles survived his illness and has proved his fertility to us as there were three fully formed ducklings in the eggs. Unfortunately none of them made it out which was heartbreaking for all of us. The chicks and growers are doing fine and are now all outside in their respective pens. Sadly we lost two of our big rescue girls within the space of five days so only one lonely girl now in the eglu. Tonight we plan to go down to the plots to plant more beans both runner and dwarf french and to water the plants that are under cover.