Hens at home and away

I’ve been out and about a fair bit over the past week, so haven’t spent as much time as usual with the flock – well, not my own anyway. Our local agricultural show last Saturday went ahead, despite our fears it would be cancelled like so many other similar events this somewhat soggy summer. Instead, we happily waded in mud up to half the height of our boots, going from tent to tent to admire the exhibits, from beautiful Red Pol cattle to country clothing stalls to farm machinery trade stands, but most importantly of course, the poultry tent. There was a mesmerising variety of birds, from tiny bantams to geese and turkeys. The only problem with show exhibits is that so often they are shown without any information about the breed – just a first, second or third prize card attached. While it’s a pleasure to browse all the chickens –  I became particularly smitten with the Silkies on show – I was stuck when it comes to identifying the different types.

Can you name this chicken? Not 100 per cent sure what breed it is – I think it’s a Red Millefeur Pekin cockerel but if anyone can identify, please let me know!

Next time, I’ll go equipped with my chicken books ready to ID each one. Another highlight was being towed out of the car park by a tractor. Surely a rite of passage for any show-goer.

An award-winning Silkie scratches about

The weekend’s chicken theme continued on Sunday when I was off to the Brecon Beacons for a couple of days to write a short travel piece for Country Living Magazine, staying at a wonderful bed and breakfast where seven Marans and brown hybrid hens roam around the grounds (providing fabulous eggs for breakfast), just a couple of miles from beautiful Crickhowell. See the October issue of CL for more (on sale 10 September).

Now I’m looking forward to hanging out with a coffee watching my own hens tomorrow morning.

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