From baldy hens to hungry chicks, we’ve got them all

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This week, a tale of two halves. Just like Scotland v Italy at the weekend – but without the crushing disappointment, obvs.

Both tales have something in common – chickens. And both are happy, uplifting tales. Hurrah.

The rescue chickens have been here a week now, and they are all still alive. Which is good.

And the first morning we were rewarded with an egg. And each day since they arrived we have had between two and five eggs from them, so all good so far. They are in varying states of baldness, and from their chook quarantine (a separate coop and run) they are able to observe what life will be like in the near future – trees, branches, dust baths, green stuff to nibble, mixed corn treats. Laying in the pale sunshine or sheltering under the shrubs when it rains.

Choosing when to wander over to the feeder or the drinkers when they like.

Chook Heaven.

It’s enough to blow their chicken-y minds.

Meanwhile, some chicks have arrived. Unlike the usual home-bred mongrels, I had the chance of some rather sexily-titled (not) Ross 308 Broiler Breeder parent stock.

Basically, the mommies and daddies of the big, fat, white, mass-production supermarket eating chickens.

Stuart on the Scots Grey Chickens Faceache group I belong to had bought some to breed with and had to take a minimum of 100 – small fry for a company which supplies them by the million, but rather a lot for a backyard chicken keeper like me.

Stuart had various folk who’d gone in with him to buy them, but someone had dropped out.

I asked if he could sell me five girls, and so on his rounds in the Borders yesterday, visiting mates and picking up and dropping off poultry here and there, he brought the five new arrivals to Shoogly Towers.

They are now ensconsed in a nice big run in the summerhouse under a heat lamp, on lots of snuggly bedding with plenty of food and water.

Apparently, they can eat for Scotland. That’s how they get so chunky and why the supermarkets love them. They are usually up to about 3kg within 56 days.

Frightening.

Right now they are very cute, but very hungry. This, and the size of their trunk-like legs, gives a clue as to their genetic make-up as the big mommas of the chicken world.

Hopefully, I am going to try a cross between these hens and my Scots Grey boy, and my ‘French eating chicken’ boy.

The hens should make good, big layers and the spare boys will go in the pot.

A culinary twist on the auld alliance. Bon appetit.