The Cottage Smallholder

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Update on the leghorn chicks: first visit to meet Caroline, Kevin, Rusty and the brood

Photo: 4 day old leghorn chick

Photo: 4 day old leghorn chick

I woke early, with a semi conscious sense that something special was happening today. Apart from being a Bank Holiday Monday we were going to meet Caroline and husband Kevin to visit our new leghorn chicks for the very first time.

These chicks are being raised by Rusty, one of C’s hens. Rusty is a gentle attentive mother with stylish reddish brownish feathers and kind eyes. Caroline and Kevin were welcoming and the hen and chicks were gorgeous.

Caroline’s collection of photos are superb but there’s nothing like seeing the chicks in the flesh. They are enchanting, bobbing about constantly, stopping to stretch a leg and peck something interesting in the gravel. But when Rusty called her tiny legion into the chicken house they obeyed like well trained recruits. Pretty impressive for four day old chicks.

C and K’s two chicken runs are on the boundaries of their bountiful vegetable patch and a buoyant greenhouse (I spotted that automatic watering was fuelled by decent secondary guttering from the greenhouse roof). K was growing strawberries packed into a raised bed and almost worth killing for. In fact everything in their vegetable patch was much further on than ours.

We were dazzled by the overture before we were introduced to our chicks. We were hugely impressed.

Four leghorn chicks hatched out of a clutch of six. Three with the baby wild boar, chipmunk markings and one black with a touch of white. The latter was saved from a long and tiring hatching by K who realised that something had gone wrong.
“The chick was chirping the distress call and was in trouble. So I gently opened the shell and found that the membrane had dried on the chick. We dampened this and it was easy to peel it off. When I put him down he rushed for cover under Rusty’s wing.”

Thank you C for offering to raise some chicks for us and thank you K for saving the little black chick – it’s a dinger. In fact, If it’s OK, we’d like to name him Zebedee after your black Pekin bantam chick that hatched three days earlier. And thank you Rusty – having met you today I know that you will care for these chicks so well.

Having someone raise chicks for us is a new experience and I can highly recommend it if the chicken owners are like C and K. These chicks will have been hand reared from day one so perhaps we’ll be able to cuddle them when they eventually are introduced in the cottage chicken run.

My Grandmother raised leghorns during WW2. I have no idea about the colour but I feel that it’s a sort of circle. These are straightened times too but, having kept chickens for the past few years, I would always to choose to foster a small flock whatever the situation. Nothing beats the taste of a warm morning fresh egg. It’s a treat that you cannot buy. And hearing chickens pottering and chatting in the run is one of my life’s greatest pleasures.
Thank you Caroline and Kevin – you have made us very happy indeed.

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  1. I see your leghorn chicks were dark coloured and look very sweet. I have always been rather nervous of leghorn roosters since as a child, when we kept white leghorns, the rooster was terrifically fierce and menacing – the hens were OK. Our other roosters of other breeds were just fine, so maybe the white rooster was just a very disturbed bird.

  2. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Michelle

    Yes that is Zebedee! Cute but as you say interesting. I’ve a strong feeling that the chick is male as it is so independent. Time will tell 🙂

    Hi Lindsay

    Yes he does look brainy doesn’t he.

    Hello Caroline and Kevin

    It was great to meet up yesterday. We are thrilled with the chicks. Thank you so much for your help!

    Hi Mandi

    Caroline and Kevin’s chickens are named after the Magic Roundabout characters. I thought that she’d named our black chick Zebedee but in fact she had named her black chick Zebedee. But the name sort of suits.

    My ex-husband was called Brian – say no more 😉

    Hi Chris

    I agree. Chicks are so adorable, soft and fluffy and full of life. I could spend hours watching them and had to be dragged away from C and K’s house eventually as Danny had to work on Monday.

    Thanks for dropping by.

  3. chris

    Aren’t chicks just adorable! You could eat them -and I don’t mean that in the literal sense of the word!! You just want to squeeze and cuddle them and wish (almost) they would never grow up. What a lovely consolation for your sad loss.

  4. mandi

    I forgot ‘brian’ …mind you I’m not sure if you’d called a chicken brian….

  5. mandi

    Are they all going to have magic roundabout names?
    florence dougal ermentrude dillion ????
    The cow was always my favourite I loved the wat the flower in its mouth moved from one side to the other hahahaha.
    The chick looks a very fine little fellow I’m sure they will all be a right little gang when they get to your house.

  6. Caroline

    Hi Fiona

    it was lovely to meet both of you yesterday, we’re so glad that you’re happy with the new members of your flock! all are well today, tootling around outside between showers!

    best wishes

    Caroline and Kevin

  7. Lindsay

    What a sweet photo – I think this chick has the looks of a high IQ!

  8. michelle sheets

    What a sharp looking chick that is!
    A very aware look in its eye.
    Is that Zebedee?

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