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Everything posted by Sue

  1. now this is my idea of a selection of speckled eggs - laid by my Higgledy Harriet Hens Edited trying to learn how to post photos
  2. Thanks for the compliment - my girls are English Cuckoo Marans, and I have spent many years getting them to lay a sensible number of nice richly coloured eggs.
  3. I have often noticed that the details for chickens say "they lay a dark brown egg" but there is never a photo of the eggs they do lay. I reckon that it today's world of easy photography if there is not a picture of the egg produced it means it doesn't lay a very good egg Ask to see the eggs they produce, or at least a photo of the best they "could" do All the best Sue
  4. English Cuckoo Marans lay a nice rich brown egg And Higgledy Harriets lay a good speckled one Cream Legbars lay a nice powder blue egg, and a Marans mated to a Cream Legbar lays a olive green egg. Araucanas lay a turquoise coloured egg Croad Langshan lay a plummy pink egg I will now see if I can get some photos to come out - but don't hold your breath https://picasaweb.google.com/marose1234/BlueEggs#5575824929859026978 No can't make it work - but the dark brown ones are English Cuckoo Marans eggs, the paler speckled ones are Higgledy Harriet Hens egg, and the powder blue on is a Cream Legbars egg. All the best Sue
  5. I love the taste of a really fresh boiled egg, and if I am having boiled eggs I will walk up to the barns to find a fresh laid one(or two). The whites are much more tender, and a fresh egg takes a little longer to boil. Experiment a bit, but I find bring the water to the boil and gently lower the eggs in with a teaspoon. Don't try to boil eggs that have been in the fridge or are very cold as they will crack when the meet the boiling water Allow the water to come back to the boil then time them. My eggs are very large and I boil for 4 minutes, if they were smaller I would go for 3 or even 2.5 mins. To poach eggs bring water in saucepan to boil, take off heat add eggs gently, you can crack them into a saucer first if it helps. Just keep the water hot but not boiling till they look cooked probably around 2 mins. Using a draining spoon gently lift them out in the order you put them in, blotting them on a kitchen towel to remove excess water Poached eggs on lovely buttered toast, or with home made oven chips......delish!!!! All the best Sue
  6. I would agree with everything Tweety says All the best and sorry for your loss Sue
  7. Hi - I am soooooo eggggcited. Today I got my first ever BLUE egg. Its really nice, and I am sure it is a bluer colour than on the photo (which I am hoping to attach) It is shown with some of my Higgledy Harriet Hen eggs, and I think they make a lovely contrast. Wish you could see them in reality. I am sure they look soooo much better. I can never work out how to post photos, so this is a link to my Picassa album First Blue Egg with Higgledy Harriet Hens eggs Sue
  8. Don't forget that very few Marans will lay very dark brown eggs, so you must ask to see the colour they are likely to lay, or you may be in for a disappointment. All the best Sue
  9. I think you can't beat the colour of a nice Marans egg, they always taste better to me as well, but I am probably just biased all the best Sue Dark Brown Eggs
  10. I had 3 young Marans growing pullets taken by a buzzard last summer - It took them over a few days, but I couldn't work out what it was at first till we saw it swoop, and then went over to find the body of its last victim. I have never had this happen before in all my years of poultry keeping, or when my parents kept poultry in the 1950's, but I suppose there are so many more birds of prey around now, and probably not sufficient for them to eat. This year I have had pens with wire mesh tops constructed at vast expense, but I feel once a local buzzard has found an easy and tasty source of food it is likely to continue hunting them. Sue
  11. Hi - You seem to have a problem though I am not sure what it is All the best Sue Dark Brown Eggs
  12. Yes - exactly that And yes - egg laying ability is one of the things I have bred for over the years. Last year my best layer (also the darkest shell colour) was laying 6 and 7 eggs a week for weeks on end. But of course a large fluffy dual purpose traditional breed can never hope to compete with a commercial hybrid for quantities of eggs produced, where the very best will produce over 300 eggs a year. On the plus side the traditional breeds will often keep going and still laying eggs for years, whereas the hybrids can "lay themselves out" in a couple of years, simply because of the amount of eggs they have laid in that time, and the toll it has taken on their health. All the best Sue
  13. They can be very poor layers, and they can be excessively (though very good) broodies Again it is down to the strain. I think the utility value of chickens is MOST important - hence in my line I have concentrated on egg numbers as well as other qualities, and I never breed from a broody, so over the years I have increased the egg laying propensities, and decreased the broodiness. I think people are forgetting how important the strain is - a breed gives the general looks the strain give the refinement to this All the best Sue
  14. Hi - All this is down to the strain rather than the breed It's like - why do hybird layers need to be beak trimmed? - Because they are bred for egg laying, and no one cares if they peck each other to death because they will just have their beaks cut or beak bumpers fitted. I will not tolerate any aggression in my cockerels, so my birds are all calm and placid. You need to check what you are buying by talking with the breeder before purchasing. If they are reliable and reputable breeders they will be happy to discuss their birds with you. All the best Sue
  15. What ever breed you chose if you hatch eggs be males included, and it is a case of whether you destroy the boys at birth or within a week or two as soon as they can be identified, or if you have chosen a dual purpose meat&eggs breed then you have the option of raising them for meat giving them a few months of life, and probably far more than they would have in naturaly circumstances where prey birds and animals will eat them If you buy from a reputable breeder and they are sold as pullets you wont have this problem to deal with. All the best Sue
  16. I won't keep an aggressive cockerel around, but if it is just a young male hormone thing these are some things to try Don't let him mate a female with you nearby - shout and chase him off, otherwise he will assume he is the leader Don't let him feed before the girls - a subordinate bird would be prevented from feeding before the females Don't let him see you collecting eggs - as far as he is concerned they are his children not your breakfast If you pick him up hold his head and shoulders down, if necessary by holding the back of his comb - this makes him assume a subordinates position You don't really need to be aggressive with these actions, just let him know that you are in charge, but if he won't accept this - which more aggressive males may not do, then you will have to decide what is the best course of action.... All the best Sue
  17. Thats a really nice colour blue egg. I am waiting for my first ever blue egg layers in a couple of weeks. Cream Legbars - I hope their eggs are as nice as yours. I makes a lovely selection with your other eggs All the best Sue
  18. Hi - I like to leave one dummy egg in pretty well all the time. I think it encourages them, but I do collect my eggs regularly throughout the day. If there are a few eggs in the nest it encourages broodiness, so if don't want them broody don't leave too many eggs to accumulate throughout the day All the best Sue
  19. Try putting a "sacrificial egg" down on the floor of the run or in a nest box when you have time to stand and watch them, and see if one (or all) run to eat it. All the best Sue
  20. As far as I understand this it is a calcium imbalance - either too much or too little Nowadays calcium is added to the pellets in the form of ground limestone, at I think about 10percent - you can check on your feed label - (I suppose rock is cheaper than grain but probably anymore would cause serious problems Just being a bit cynical there) You could try making oystershell grit available as free choice in a little pot, and maybe adding a very small amount of cod liver oil to their feed, as I think it contains certain vitamins that aid calcium absorption. Also it is probably something that hybrids bred to lay more eggs than is good for their bodies are prone to in later life, or when coming into or going out of lay. Which is whey they are "disposed of" by the egg farmers fairly early on in their laying lives All the best Sue
  21. I keep English Cuckoo Marans, a breed which was originally for meat, and only later appreciated for the colour of their lovely eggs. (I hope any vegetarians have clicked to another thread by now) I know not all of you may approve but I keep my "boys" and raise them for meat. I think then at least they have had some life, and certainly a lot more than if I let Mr Buzzard and Mrs Sparrowhawk have their dinner before mine. They make about 5lbs in 20 weeks, and they are a true gourmet delight with a wonderful flavour. The meat is very white and fine textured and almost fat free. There is plenty of breast meat though they don't appear to be so plump as a true broiler. I often poach them overnight in the bottom of the aga, use the breast for a hot meal or sandwiches, then use the legs for casseroles, curries and other made up dishes. Apparently at about 12 weeks and they should make about 2-2.5 lbs, but I generally let them run around till the gang of boys get to be a bit too annoying for the girls. all the best Sue
  22. Thought you might all like to know - Waitrose Free Range medium are £1.46 for 6 and extra large £2.15 for 6 All the best Sue

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