Pekin bantams are small, have feathery feet and are always big in the character stakes.
We have missed our old favourites Mrs Boss and Mrs Squeaky for quite some time now so imagine our delight when Sue offered us five baby Pekins a couple of weeks ago. They were hatched at Easter so are two months old.
“I either have two girls and three boys or the other way around. They are grey, buff and black.”
“Ohh! Yes please.”
Sue emailed us photos of the five youngsters.
“I want to name one Prudence.” Said Danny glancing up from the laptop screen.
“That’s fine. But why Prudence?”
“Like Hope, it’s a good round Quaker name.”
Actually, Hope was named after one of Miss Flite’s birds in Bleak House by Charles Dickens. But that’s another story.
Yesterday afternoon The Duchess and I motored sedately over to a small village near Stowmarket, Suffolk. We arrived and parked in Sue’s drive beside a bustle of chickens and languorous cats.
Sue was just as I expected, warm, huggable and chatty. She led me over to the ‘nursery’ that housed the brood of bantams. There they were – tiny ctreatures rushing about, cheeping loudly and even more gorgeous than I’d imagined.
I was also introduced to the adult hens and cockerels. Two broodies lay on a clutch of eggs, one lying as flat as a French beret - her head like a brooch. Meanwhile the cats joined us – apparently they are fine with the bigger poultry only the smallest babies need to be protected. Sue also has standard size hens – I spotted a Maran that looked just like our old favourite Carol.
After a very welcome cup of tea, Sue and her daughter managed to catch the Pekins and stow them into a small old fashioned laundry basket to carry them home. The babies were pretty quiet until Lulu the cat peered at them through a small square window on the side of the basket.
The journey home was interesting on the chick front. I was surprised by the range of cheeps, shrieks and trills. Once they had got used to the sound and movement of the car they were met with the roar of the passing lorries on the motorway – which even I find pretty scary. Finally when I gently reversed The Duchess through our gate they were sound asleep in a small pile in the centre of the basket.
Thank you so much Sue. Your tiny bantam brood is a joy. We watched them playing in their pen until dusk drew them inside their new house to rest. I was up early this morning to let down the flap. After a few seconds they burst out into the run to breakfast and scratch about.
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