Over the past few years one of our major projects at the farm has been rebuilding our bird enclosures, and with that, we've taken the opportunity to introduce some new chicken breeds. At the moment, our chickens include Cream Crested Legbars, Brahmas and Sebrights, along with our two turkeys. Over time we'll be looking to introduce some new breeds to the farm.
Our chickens lay a lot of eggs (especially when the weathers nice!) which we collect every day. At certain times of year we might use the eggs in our incubation project, but most of the time they go into the Farm Shop to sell! Because we collect the eggs every day, it doesn't matter whether they're fertile or infertile, as nothing will have had a chance to start developing inside the egg.
In each of our pens there are several hens and one cockerel (or rooster!). As well as helping the hens to lay fertile eggs, the cockerels job is to look after the hens and you'll often be able to hear him crowing to let everyone know that it's his territory! You can easily tell them apart from the hens by looking at the over all size, the larger comb and wattle (the red skin around their head and beak) and his pretty tail feathers. See if you can spot the cockerel in each of the chicken pens!
The Cream Legbar
These pretty looking chickens are one of the many rare British breeds we have on the farm! They might not look particularly exciting (though Brixton, our Legbar cockerel is a very dashing fellow), but these chickens are a bit of a farm favourite. Our initial Cream Legbar chickens and eggs came from Vauxhall City Farm.
The hens lay lovely pale blue eggs, and the breed itself is one of relatively few that showcases something called autosexing. With many young birds, it's impossible to accurately sex them, often it's a case of waiting until the chicks grow up and start to show their male or female characteristics. With autosexing birds, the male and female chicks actually have different patterns, which means you can sex them from the moment they hatch - very useful!
Cream Legbars are generally kept for their egg laying ability. Ours are very keen layers, and the hens lay 4-5 eggs a week when they're in the mood!