Brahmas were one of the first breeds of chicken that I kept and have remained a firm favourite of mine ever since. Their docile, friendly temperament meant that they were ideal for me when I was completely new to poultry keeping and are ideal as pets free-ranging the garden They are beautiful, large, stately birds, whose size means that they rarely fly any great height and so are easily contained.
The cockerels, although massive are lovely cuddly birds and are often carried around and played with quite safely by small children.
I have 2 pens of Brahmas - in one pen I keep blue columbian and light brahmas together, and in the other pen I have a blue partridge cockerel with stunning gold brahma hen and blue partridge brahma hen. My brahmas have been purchased from a top breeder and exhibitor of brahmas and I have been delighted with the quality of the offspring that I have hatched. I have had limited opportunity to show these magnificent birds, but on the one occasion I was able to take them to a show, the cockerel came 2nd in his class in March 2007
I currently keep Brahmas in the following colours:-
They were created in the USA from the Shanghais where they were crossed with Malay types which put in the pea comb and brow. They were imported into New York in 1846 and stock first reached England in 1853 where they caused a great stir. The name was shortened from Brahmaputra to Brahma in 1852 when a small flock was given to Queen Victoria.
Cochins were my very first chickens. I spotted my neighbours' 3 young cochins and was totally smitten by their beautiful fluffy appearance. After nagging my husband for days, he finally relented and that was the start of our poultry keeping. At that time I was absolutely adamant I did not want a cockerel or to breed any poultry, but wanted some hens to free range the garden and for a few eggs. Six months later, still waiting for eggs we were woken up to the sound of 3 cockerels crowing! We rehomed 2 cockerels, but 'Boris' was a real character, if having a barbeque he would be the first to sit at the table waiting for treats
Cochins' docile, friendly temperament meant that they were ideal for me when I was completely new to poultry keeping and are ideal as pets free-ranging the garden.
Both male and female are massive in appearance, (a male can weigh up to 13 lbs). They have a great abundance of down in the under-fluff, producing a rather bulky appearance and conveying the idea of even greater weight than actually exists. The hens can appear very matronly in appearance, they make excellent broodies and are reasonable layers of tinted eggs.
Cochins were introduced into the UK in 1843 from Vietnam. Sir Edward Belcher presented early Cochins to Queen Victoria on his return from his around the world voyage.
They were first known as Shanghai Fowl, then Cochin-China Fowl, the name was later shortened to Cochin. They caught the public eye with their gigantic size, a male can weigh up to 13lbs, but looks even larger due to their fluffy plumage. No other fowl presents such delightful softness of fluff or greater charm in colour and markings
Where possible my breeding cochins have been purchased from top exhibition bloodlines. The buff cuckoo cochin is a rare colour in this country at the moment and it has taken me a very long time, but eventually I have found a beautiful unrelated buff cuckoo female to pair with my cockerel.
I keep cochins in the following colours.
My French Marans have all been sourced from an highly respected Maran breeder from whom in September 2007 I have acquired 2 new cockerels, a new French Copper Black, together with a Splash Maran cockerel. The splash cockerel bred to copper black hens should produce Copper Blue Marans, and I look forward to seeing the result of this breeding pen in 2008. This breed has become extremely sought after in the UK due to their reputation for laying extremely dark mahogany coloured eggs. There are many hybrid birds being sold as Copper Black Marans, and for this reason I have been extremely careful from who I have obained my stock. My hens lay a magnificent dark brown egg.
The Black Copper Maran cockerels are beautiful birds, with copper neck and saddle hackles. The females are black with some gold in the neck hackles. They have light feathering on their legs.
Orpingtons are another favourite breed of mine. They have lovely laid-back personalities and can make excellent pets. They have an absolutely stunning appearance and are an extremely popular breed They lay approximately 190 tinted eggs per year. The hens have a tendency to broodiness and can make excellent mothers.
The original Orpington, the Black, was introduced in Orpington, Kent, by William Cook in 1886. It was developed from Langshan-Rock-Minorca crosses.
I currently keep Orpingtons in the following colours:-
I have recently acquired some superb white silkies which I am eagerly awaiting breeding from in 2008. These birds are of excellent quality, and I have taken 1 hen to 2 shows, and on both occasions she won trophy for Best Silkie (her sister went to one show and came 2nd), and at Dawlish Show she also won Best Large Soft Feather which was a great achievement. Unfortunately she is a little camera shy so the pictures do not do her justice. I am new to keeping this breed, but find them delightful birds and I have joined the Silkie Breed Club. Any silkies that I hatch will be vaccinated against Mareks Disease, which is a disease that these birds are prone to
The Sussex is another charming breed whose wonderful docile temperament makes them suitable as pets and garden birds. They are very easy to tame and are extremely good layers, producing up to 260 eggs per year.
The Sussex descended from the Old Sussex Fowls popular with the Victorians who kept them for their meat and eggs.
I currently keep Sussex in the following colours:-
Vorwerks are a stunning breed who were imported into Britain approximately 20 years ago. They are medium sized, alert and active birds who were developed in Germany around the turn of the century by Oskar Vorwerk. Their classification is light/rare breed. They lay approximately 170 cream/tinted eggs per year. I have a breeding quartet of vorwerks consisting of mother and 2 of her daughters paired with a completely unrelated, stunning cockerel
Wyandottes are a recent addition to my flock. I have always been extremely attracted to their eye-catching markings, (unfortunately my pictures do not capture their stunning colouring and lacing as well as I had hoped). They have a lovely docile temperament and are easy to keep. They are good layers of up to 200 tinted eggs per year. The blue laced wyandottes are fairly rare colour in this country, and should produce a percentage of blue laced, gold laced and buff laced coloured wyandottes. I have recently purchased 2 stunning blue laced wyandotte hens from Rob Boyd and my beautiful cockerel from Alan Brooker, who is a top breeder/exhibitor of wyandottes. The silver laced wyndotte is an equally attractive bird, with a definite "wow" factor. They have white ground colouring and black lacing around each feather.
I currently keep the following
The following links provide extensive information on breeds of poultry,health, husbandry and breed standards. If you wish to order one of the books listed above or to search for other books on Amazon please click on the appropriate book above
Pekin Bantams Useful website and forum not just about Pekins
Practical Poultry Another excellent source of information and forum
Rare BreedsLinks to Rare Breeds in Yorkshire and Elsewhere
Poultry PagesUseful website with lots of information on poultry
I am a member of Taunton Poultry Fanciers, who hold regular meetings and an annual show at Hatch Beauchamp Village Hall near Taunton. If you are interested in joining the club is very friendly and welcomes new members - Dates for 2009 - 16.2.09, 6.4.09, 8.6.09, 7.9.09, 12.10.09, 9.11.09, Show 1.3.09 - Meeting starts at 7.45 PM - Email me if you have any enquiries.
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