The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


The five young Pekin bantams have arrived from Sue!

Posted in Chickens | 9 comments

The five young Pekin bantams have arrived from Sue!

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...

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Hope has finally gone broody

Posted in Chickens | 4 comments

Hope has finally gone broody

As you know our little silver laced Wyandotte bantam has been toying with the broody state for a few weeks. Over the past three days she has been holed up in the nesting box in the main chicken house. She is sitting on eggs but leaving the nest when I come into the pen to feed the the flock. Yesterday we were running low on eggs so whilst she was out stretching her legs in the run, I grabbed the clutch that she’d been sitting on and sped away. This morning I decided to make scrambled eggs on toast and discovered to my surprise that Beatyl...

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Update on our chickens. Past, present and future.

Posted in Chickens | 7 comments

Update on our chickens. Past, present and future.

In spring 2011 we bought some new standard sized chickens from Cambridge Poultry in Botisham – this is the place to buy good hens locally. Ours are healthy, beautiful hens that lay well and are proving to be a good investment. They provide enough eggs for the two of us with more to spare for friends. So why did we want more chickens this spring? These Bottisham hens are a bit like the Stepford Wives. They are sweet natured and don’t display a lot of personality. They are ruled by Queen Zeb – the one remaining chicken from the batch...

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Update on Agatha

Posted in Chickens | 7 comments

Update on Agatha

Monday: On Monday morning Agatha sprang to her feet when I went into the run. She had eaten all the food in her feeder and was hungry. She also wasn’t sitting on the eggs that I gave her last night. These were not the hatching eggs but eggs laid by our flock. I suppose that she was really rattled by being moved on Sunday night. Also Queen Zeb had been ripping up the cardboard from one side of the broody coop, which must have been disconcerting for poor old Agatha. I spotted Queen Zeb in action when I was pottering about in the run. Gradually...

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Hope has got off the nest! What you can do if your chicken suddenly stops being broody.

Posted in Chickens | 5 comments

Hope has got off the nest! What you can do if your chicken suddenly stops being broody.

I went down to the chicken run this afternoon, lifted the lid on the nesting box and found just a neat nest of eggs. The eggs were still warm but where was Hope? I could hear Radio Hope transmitting from behind the Emerald Castle and she stepped out to enjoy the corn that I’d brought for an afternoon treat. Perhaps she was just stretching her legs? But no. She didn’t return to the nest. She was clucking constantly, which is unusual for her. Deciding to hang about in the run for a bit, I busied myself spreading bark chippings in the muddy...

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Hope has finally gone broody!

Posted in Chickens | 7 comments

Hope has finally gone broody!

When The Chicken Lady and S gave me two black and white Wyandotte bantam hens for Christmas three years ago I was delighted. They were so pretty and it was a present that would give me pleasure for years to come. We were also told that this breed has a tendency to go broody. These two plucky little bantams, Hope and Peace, were characters from the word go. They refused to associate with the rest of the flock, would rather spend the frosty nights on the roof of the henhouse rather than join the others on the perch inside. Peace was a gentle...

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Celia’s Purple Podded Peas blog birthday – 5 years old today!

Posted in Chickens, Fun, Gardening, Wildlife | 3 comments

Celia’s Purple Podded Peas blog birthday – 5 years old today!

To write a blog for five years is something to be applauded. But to create a blog as inspirational and well written as Celia’s Purple Podded Peas blog takes true talent. “I keep on thinking about what I would have done with all that time if I hadn’t been writing my blog,” mused Celia, “but then I wouldn’t have met other bloggers, or been discovered by galleries and so much more.” Blogging is a social activity. In most cases it’s a celebration of being human in its broadest sense. Celia combines a wide range of activities and...

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The lost chick

Posted in Chickens | 6 comments

The lost chick

Recently I was looking after TCL’s smallholding for a couple of weeks. Here there are chickens, ducks, loads of fish, a rabbit and a cat. And of course those horrible worm eating turtles that S loves. The other pets are collected by S’s mum and holiday by the seaside in Suffolk. As you know TCL lives in a beautiful spot, on the edge of the village boundary. The garden looks over a large paddock – filled with mares and foals at the moment. The broad range of chickens includes beautiful Sumatra chickens. These chickens are not good...

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