We breed Buff Orpington chickens and anyone familiar with our social media accounts will be very familiar with the chickens either running towards us, or after us. Fiona’s accounts on both Instagram and Twitter as @theflooflady is totally devoted to the hens and cockerels stampeding across the field.
In the sea of golden fluffballs that are the Orpingtons you might notice some other breeds so let me tell you more about them.
Why so we have them? It’s quite simple really, when the hens are brooding and raising chicks they stop laying eggs. So we need some other breeds to keep providing us with eggs.
We like all of our chickens to have access to the entire chicken enclosure to give them extra room to roam BUT how can we guarantee that only pure breed Orpinton eggs go under a broody? Again it’s simple, we have other breeds that lay different colours of eggs from the Orpingtons plus we only ever keep Orpington cockerels.
Our Orpingtons lay eggs that are a salmon pinky colour so we know that if we have a salmon pink egg it’s been laid by an Orpington and because we only keep cockerels that are Orpingtons it will have been fertilised by an Orpington.
Maybe we should start to introduce you to the other breeds.
Meet Thunder, one part of the pair called Thunder & Lightening. She’s a Copper Black Marans a lovely, large chicken that are very laid back in nature and friendly.
Thunder is an exceptional hen laying eggs that are ENORMOUS. They average a weight of over 80g and are a beautiful dark chocolate brown colour.
This is Wilcox, one of Crested Cream Legbar hens. The breed lays eggs that are a powder blue colour. They add a touch of elegance to our egg boxes and are my favourite eggs.
We describe the breed as “living life at 100mph”. Lots of people describe them as “flighty” which is accurate in that they’re always moving faster than the other chickens so running when the others are walking but at the same time they’re friendly and love being close to us.
Then we have Brie. Brie is one of our Old English Pheasant Fowl. She might look like a cockerel but she’s definitely a hen laying white eggs.
Old English Pheasant Fowl are listed as a Priority with the UK’s Rare Breed Survival Trust that works to reverse the decline of breeds native pure breed livestock. As a breed I love them. They are incredibly active and love getting up high. They are also exceptionally intelligent, very curious and best of all extraordinarily friendly. If you have a large free ranging space and want to keep hens as pets, this breed is perfect.
Finally, we have some Welsummers, hatched this year on the smallholding by Laurel one of our Orpingtons. They are tiny at the moment but when the hens start to lay they’ll produce dark chocolate brown eggs, not unlike the eggs from our Copper Black Marans.
We’ve yet to name these young chickens so watch this space to find out what we choose.
That’s our egg laying hens.
If you’re inspired to keep any of these breeds, or any other chicken breed you can get an introductory course on keeping chickens on our YouTube channel to help prepare you.