Chickens & Quail

Via pinterest saved from Fuji Arts

So, it has taken me more than a month to really get "into" 2016.  Not sure why.  But now it is all go here at Ash Cottage, plans are being hatched.  Our 4 lovely hens; Astrid, Agatha, Anoushka and Ashleigh have proved to be a complete success.  They have so much more character than I ever expected from birds, they have pecked the dogs into some semblance of respectful behaviour and are fun to watch when you're out in the garden.  They have laid all winter and proved their worth in eggs, entertainment and manure.

We let them out to free range most mornings, but they also have a large secure run with their house that they return to without fail at dusk and which they like to hang out in, even when the door is open for them to leave.  So well behaved are the "A-Team", as we like to call our girls, that we are getting more chickens.

I have just reserved 7 chicken hatching eggs for early next month.  I am going to start raising Black Copper, and Silver Blue Marans.  The later are quite a rare variety, in this country anyway.   They are a French breed of chicken, quite large, good for both meat and eggs, which are a dark brown in colour.  And aren't the chicks cute:

The garden is going to be busy this year, because I've just purchased an incubator and my first clutch of Japanese quail hatching eggs too.  Japanese Quail are a relativly large quail and also good for both eggs and meat.  My eggs came in the post from  C& S Quail Company  in Devon.  

It was quite an anxious wait, but they all eventually arrived safely and slightly more than I was expecting.  So, I am conducting a bit of an experiment at the moment.  I have half my eggs in a typical incubator:

 And the others are in a make-shift version of an incubator on the top of the Aga.

I'm not expecting all to hatch, but with any luck in about 12 days time I should have a dozen or so little quail chicks.

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The postman brings promises

seed packets

I got back from the Farmer's market this morning with a heavy basket, part of my major new years drive to buy local, seasonal produce. 

The postman had been and the veg seeds I ordered at the beginning of the week lay on the floor in the hall.  Bea had decided to attack them as they came through the letterbox; part of her major new drive to seek and destroy all who threaten our home, real and imagined. 

Fortunately the seeds were well enough packaged to have survived.  Thank you Thompson & Morgan, not just for your conscientious packaging, but also for the hours of fun day-dreaming as I peruse your website for inspiration these cold winter months.  The promise of the new year is all here contained in these little paper packages.

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