Following the loss of Mabel last week, Audrey’s been living alone, which is far from ideal, so I’ve begun a search for a hen of her breed with whom she can cohabit. It’s not so much that she could only be with a fellow Araucana, but that – from our limited experience – they are so docile and sweet-natured that we think one of her fellow kind is likely to be the best match. However, I’ve also heard that Silkies have gentle natures and, no doubt, other henkeepers could suggest similar types with which Audrey is likely to have a harmonious friendship (if you have any suggestions, please get in touch). So far, it seems Araucanas are few and far between in our patch. Being Essex-based, I am looking in Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire or Kent, but am beginning to think I need to widen my search. If anyone knows of an Araucana pullet or hen for sale in the area or slightly further afield, please could you let me know? Either by commenting on this blog or Tweeting @CLchick – Audrey and I will be most grateful.
Acquisitions are the theme of the week on the Smallholdings, as we’ve also been plotting our next porcine purchase and will again, introduce the weaners to the smallholding in late summer/autumn when we can feed them plenty of acorns and apples. We’re thinking of buying three, rather than just a pair as we did last time, and trying out two Oxford Sandy & Blacks (OSB) with one Gloucestershire Old Spot. And both happen to be classified as minority types on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust Watchlist, which is even more reason to keep them. Although we were delighted with the Old Spots and had high praise for their meat, I’m rather smitten with OSBs, affectionately called Plum Pudding pigs – and met some more fine examples at Walnuts Farm (featured in a Country Living series this year) last week – so thought this way we coud do a compare and contrast, both in terms of the animals’ temperament and their meat. I’ve since contacted a breeder nearby who confirmed this morning that he is expecting piglets any day now and invited us to visit once they’re born. Irresistible, no?