In the (almost) year since we have lived here, I can say that one of my greatest delights has been in the keeping of chickens. I truely have become that mad chicken lady who spends every morning out in my wellies chatting to my ladies over a cup of tea.
In that time, our flock has grown from a handful of ex-battery hens to a flock that contains 2 ex-batts, 7 hybrid hens, 4 araucana hens, 3 bantam sussex, and 1 bantam and 2 araucana roosters, as well as 3 khaki campbell and 3 indian runner ducks. As we have become more seasoned poultry keepers, we have found that we have more definite preferences. For example, while rehoming ex battery hens is wonderful, they have proven to have very short lifespans and little common sense, leaving them very vulnerable to illnesses, predators and cars.
Our current flock is pretty close to ideal, chosen for egg quality and colour. We eat a lot of our eggs and there is a certain delight in choosing an omelet based on what colour of egg you feel like having (though the contents are all pretty much the same) and we delight in giving our friends a boxes of colourful eggs...a host gift not easily replicated by others.
This autumn, we also made a foray into raising a flock for meat. We always knew we wanted to raise birds for that purpose and the process, while difficult at times, was overall a good one. Our Ross birds were a true delight to raise and I can confirm that they, in the words of one friend, only had one bad day. They spent the rest of their time eating and running and scratching and living very happy healthy lives. We all agree that the meat was by far the best we have ever eaten and will not willingly go back to even free range supermarket birds.
However, no birds are as beloved as our skittish ducks. We started with 3 indian runner ducks and then Kevin was given a box of khaki campbell ducks for his birthday.
Why yes, that is a photo of 6 ducks in my bathtub...I did say I had become a crazy bird lady ;)