Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Friday, 26 August 2011

PPPHatch Plan B . . . now what?

Do you remember those little fluffy chicks? Well they didn't stay that way for very long, a week later and they had sticky-out feathers; at three weeks they looked like this . . .

. . . quite a handful for big Black Cochin mother-hen, but she took it in her stride and looked after her brood of nine very lively chicks admirably – in fact I think she's the very best mother-hen we've ever seen!

It's now eight weeks since the chicks hatched, the Black Cochin hen is looking wistfully at her friends in the hen-run where she used to live, so my neighbour and I are making plans for the chicks' futures . . .

. . . and that's proving quite tricky! It's going to mean making some very difficult choices.

Nine chicks hatched:

2 Red Silkies – 1 x male / 1 x female ?

2 Marans – 1 x male / 1 x female ?

2 x Silver Partridge Pekin Bantams – 1 x male / 1 x female ?

3 x Lavender Araucanas – 2 x male / 1 x female

Have you spotted the problem yet? Yeah right! A lot of boys!!!!!

After a lot of pacing up and down, phone calls, text messages and sitting on a seat in my neighbours garden looking at the chicks and willing them to change sex, we have the start of a plan . . . and the first stage was to move all three Araucanas into my garden, so they can settle down and get used to being away from their mum.

We noticed that the Araucanas were growing and maturing much quicker than the other breeds; they are inquisitive and sociable; they love to perch on things and explore . . .

One of the boys is bigger and a slightly darker shade of dove-grey, someone in the village in interested in eventually giving him a home with their flock of hens. But he needs to grow a bit more before that happens, so he's staying with his brother and sister for a few more weeks.

The smaller boy and the girl are a cute pair, I'd like to keep them as a breeding pair . . . but there's a slight problem – our mature cockerel, Tarragon. Another difficult decision I'll have to face.

In the mean-time all three of them are settling down in their new home, and getting along just fine :-) After Tarragon, the senior under-gardeners and Spice Girls are in bed, the little Araucanas are allowed out of their small run to explore the lawn. They love catching insects!

They are also very enthusiastic apprentice under-gardeners! Did I want holes dug there? Mmmm :-/



  1. Ooh! Hard decisions, although with recognised breeds someone should want them.
    I expect you know: 2 roosters = trouble
    3 or more= harmony.
    It does depend on breed,age and size, of course, but I managed my ratty crew quite well. The Andalucian was the only one I ever had problems with and I was the target!
    Good luck with the sex change!

  2. What a lovely grey color! The Araucanas here across the pond are also an active breed and are often more aloof than other chickens. I don't have one anymore, and honestly don't miss the personality, but do so miss the pretty eggs.

  3. that top photo gave me a smile: 'climb evr'y mountain'....those araucanas certainly did fluff up quick.

  4. Oh Celia, I can imagine how hard those decisions will be to make.
    The Araucanas are so cute.........

    We hatched 3 chicks here last December 2 x males 1 x female.......... Gave one of the males to a friend and he's now very happy with his own little harem.........

    It's such a lot of fun having chicks hatch, I hope you manage to find homes for all those fellas.

    Claire :}

  5. I am so glad that I don't have to make those decision.

  6. I just love their trousered legs!

  7. What a fabulous mama hen you have! What rambunctious youngsters!

    I continue to learn so much from your posts, Celia. It's fun to see the evening playtime those three Araucanas are having in your garden.

    Looking forward to the next installment. xo

  8. so cute... but here's your answer...: http://belleaukitchen.blogspot.com/2011/08/oven-baked-chicken-risotto.html ;0)

  9. They are so gorgeous!!!! Tough decisions to make too. The lavender araucanas will lay beautiful colored eggs too.

  10. Hi Dinahmow - interesting! But not sure whether the tolerance levels of our neighbours will stretch to multiple cock-crows!!!

    Hi Terry - I'm really hoping I can keep the pair of your Araucanas... the old boy may have to go :-/ it's been in my mind since the spur incident!

    Hi Petoskystone - they grow before your eyes!

    Hi Claire - fingers crossed!

    Hi Toffeeapple - chicks are cute but this is the tough bit :-/

    Hi Fiona - Knickerbockers!

    Hi Frances - Hope you're somewhere safe as Irene rages over NYC - we're thinking of you.

    Hi Dom - thanks for the recipe - it may be useful!

    Hi Mrs Bok - Yes the eggs they hatched from were a beautiful shade of turquoise blue :-)


  11. I have seen araucanas for sale at the poultry auctions at Holywell Row, but they always come in pairs and I didn't want a cockerel. So many people raise cockerels and then can't bear to dispose of them - I suspect I would be the same, so waited until I found a friend who was willing to let me have just one female. It's hard.

    Lavender lives with a little silkie, Thyme - the other chickens bullied her dreadfully for some reason, but she and Thyme are good friends. She is a little nervous compared to the other breeds but lays pretty well.

  12. We managed with two cockerels for a couple of years one Light Sussex and one Hodge Podge. As the HP had a goodly amount of English Game Cockerel in his ancestry we were surprised how well they got on. We're down to one now (HP) and as only three of this years litters and are all looking fairly female I am planning on keeping it that way. Good luck and enjoy the supper when it comes!

  13. oh they are so cute. Please give my compliments to their Cochin mum who has done a fine job indeed of bringing them into the world. My Fluffy is the same breed and she did 13 weeks of brooding one year!! In the end I bought her a chick who she took in without qualms in the middle of the day - no night time subterfuge needed for her!

    The bigger male is such a little rooster already!! I love their colour too - Gum Nut has some of that lavender on her tail and it's just lovely.

    xx Jacqui

    PS Yes, Wales does seem a long way away. It's been quite hard to adjust to being 'home' :)


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