Here at Merrybower we keep several breeds of poultry. For our eggs we have Light Sussex chickens, both large and bantam size, as they’re gentle, good natured and decent egg layers. They are also relatively easy to keep contained, the large fowl in particular being reluctant to fly very high.
For grass control we keep Pilgrim geese – a bird on the critical list both here and in its home country the USA. It’s also noted for its relative gentle character, though our males aren’t that tolerant in the breeding season if we’re honest. They’re a light goose, so quite easy to carry and move on if needed.
For insect control we have the ever-working duck patrol, consisting of three male call ducks rescued from the pot – Larry, Curly and Mo, and four lovable lady Khaki Campbells – Doris and Lily, and Jemima and Puddle. The men, in all honesty, are merely the jokers of Merrybower – forever waddling too fast and falling over their own bellies. The ladies are power houses, an egg each practically every day and slug, snail and grub devourers to boot.
We also act as a contact for a neighbour at a farm two fields away who sells a small number of birds every year. There they are currently breeding Derbyshire Redcap chickens – a good local hardy bird – and Rhode Island Red chickens, predominantly as egg layers, but also of a decent size. They also have Welsummers, which are beautiful and a very easy temperament, and large Cuckoo Marans. Then they have also fallen in love with the gentle West of England geese, and are also breeding them.
It is important to state that none of us are big breeders. Whilst we have flocks of decent sizes, they are primarily for our own enjoyment and, in return, we give them as comfy a life as possible. In the summer our chickens and geese roam our orchard, giving us eggs and eating bugs. In the winter they are brought closer to the cottage so we may keep an eye on them. Our income is not generated from sales of poultry – any for sale are simply because we can not home them all and keep the ground free of disease – it’s a hobby and a way of life that is good to share with others.
If you are interested in any of the breeds above, please do get in touch using the details on our contact page. If you’re looking for egg laying machines then our birds aren’t for you – they’re pure breed and as such tend to have a less active egg laying ability, but it lasts longer into their years and the problems associated with high volume egg production are less of an issue. If you’re interested in helping to keep an endangered pure breed alive and well, and value diversity in birds, then we are right for you, and would love to chat.