Hello (again)

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Mal

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Hello (again)
« on: June 02, 2023, 15:20 »
It's been so long since I was last on the forum that I think I ought to reintroduce myself and catch up a bit.
My name is Malcolm, though most friends call me Mal, Mally or Magic. I am a carer for my disabled wife and we used to live in a small village on the Isle of Axholme in North Lincolnshire, where we had a decent sized garden full of fruit trees, a vegetable plot and runs for my ďcollection " of chooks.
Since I last posted, a lot has happened. Just after the pandemic started, I lost all my birds to predators. The two-legged kind. I went down to ďThe Land Beyond the Discovery Tree" as we named that strange, secret realm at the bottom of the garden where time ran in a completely different way, and found all the runsí  gates open, the coops open and  totally empty. There weren't even any eggs left. I put on a brave face, picked myself up and got busy with the incubator, having decided to concentrate  on Heritage breeds of French table and dual purpose breeds. 
I managed to get hold of LaFleches, Crevecouers, Bressť and, best of all this wonderful, huge breed called Barbezieux. Everything went well, then, just as they began to mature, breed and lay, predators struck again, in the form of foxes this time. Again, I lost every single bird and I don't mind admitting that I cried my heart out at the sight of my beautiful birds, or what the fox hadn't managed to carry off, ripped apart. 
That was when I stopped visiting the forum. I had nothing to talk about, didn't need help from the forum members. I restocked again. I managed to find the LaFleches and Crevecouers, including quite rare Cuckoos, but due to foxes again, couldn't replace my lovely Barbezieux.  For those who don't know of this breed, they are huge. The biggest breed in Europe with proud carriage, beetle black plumage, large, gentle, brown eyes and large white earlobes. They are also held (by some) in even higher esteem than the far more famous Bressť as a table bird. Eggs, like the bird, are BIG. I regularly got eggs upto 115gr.though 85-90 were more the norm
Since then, we have moved down to Ilkeston in Derbyshire so that we are nearer  to family and help should we need it. The garden is smaller and more manageable and the chucks have been moved to our eldest lad's smallholding near Belper in the magically named ďAmber Valley.Ē We get down there as often as possible Ėit's only 15 minutes away and our caravan is parked up there should we choose stay , which we often do. It's a really happy place and a happy time surrounded by most of the people we love. I spend a lot of time teaching the great-grandkids about nature. Last summer I could normally be found trekking  round the farm with the Famous Five,- the four great grandkids in tow, followed by Wonky the Crevecouer.
Now something wonderful has happened. Thanks to help from various groups on Facebook, I have finally managed to track down sources for my much missed Barbezieux!  Ő have 2 dozen eggs winging their way to me as I type! I am a really happy bunny and I have things to ask about and tell again! These eggs are pretty precious,  so I shall be relying on the wisdom from this great forum for help and reassurance! There are, of course, several more breeds on our wish list. Houdans, Gauloise Grise, Faverolles, Chaussades, Icelanders, and, if there are any remaining anywhere, Ixworth Bantams. It's great having all this extra space down the farm! The photo is our La Flėche boy, Russell (Crow.) He's 10 months old and around 4kgs.
I think that's about it. I'm all caught up for now! Cheers!
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snowdrops

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Re: Hello (again)
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2023, 16:05 »
Hi there, what a sad tale you tell but with a lovely ending or middle as Iím sure there will be more to tell. Iíve never heard of those breeds so will enjoy hearing more. Iíve got 3 hens who are causing me some grief at the moment, no eggs, shell less, eaten eggs! Plus Iím unable to get hold of them, theyíre like road runner  :lol: Iíve had them over 18months & they still react as if Iím a stranger in their midst!!
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Yorkie

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Re: Hello (again)
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2023, 22:21 »
So sorry to hear of your chook losses, but glad to hear that with all of the changes you are getting on with revived enthusiasm  :)
I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days all attack me at once...

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Mal

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Re: Hello (again)
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2023, 15:04 »
We're really enjoying life down here. Our lad and I drove up to Chatsworth House  yesterday to pick up some Ardennaise hatching eggs from a friend. What a wonderful drive it was. We came through Matlock on the way home and it was like being at the seaside by the river!


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snowdrops

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Re: Hello (again)
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2023, 16:45 »
That so describes Matlock perfectly :) ages since Iíve been, might be on my next suggestion list for a day out, thank you

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Mal

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Re: Hello (again)
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2023, 11:51 »
The first batch of Barbezieux produced 2 chicks, a boy and a girl. Not great I know, but they'd had a rough trip from Germany. It's still a success though.  I have Barbezieux again at long last and I'm very happy!
The second lot of eggs is due to hatch in 3 days but I'm not sure whether we will get ANY chicks. They came very well packaged, but some of the eggs are ones that I wouldn't even consider sending to anyone,- wrinkled shells, thin and porous shells and small eggs. If I get any result it will be  a surprise. I am still waiting for a batch from another breeder, sent for before the ones that have just hatched. It just shows that you need to be careful when getting eggs from abroad. I'm also waiting for some Dark Cornish Game and French Estaires eggs.
These are the first chicks, lovely strong, chunky , little peeps!
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Aunt Sally

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Re: Hello (again)
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2023, 15:05 »
Hi Mal,

Great to see you back.  Looking forward to seeing more pictures of your chooks.

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Subversive_plot

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Re: Hello (again)
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2023, 16:56 »
Mal, great to meet you (at least online).

I don't raise birds, but I do feel sorry for your birds and all you have experienced with your troubles. I hope your future with a new flock is brighter!
"Somewhere between right and wrong, there is a garden. I will meet you there."~ Rumi

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Mal

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Re: Hello (again)
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2023, 12:39 »
Mal, great to meet you (at least online).

I don't raise birds, but I do feel sorry for your birds and all you have experienced with your troubles. I hope your future with a new flock is brighter!
Thankyou. All that is water under the bridge and we are now looking to the future as a family.
Aside from the chucks, we are also intending to grow as much of our own food as possible.
Eventually, our son wants us, his sons and their families all living on the farm, but its very much a Catch 22 situation. He can't build the necessary  accomodation without the farm becoming a viable business and he can't make the farm a profitable business without crawling back into the rat-race.
The French birds (fwor!) Are part of our solution. The farm will be a source of rare and heritage poultry from across France and the UK with income coming from the sale of small numbers of top quality birds to restaurants and such plus sales of breeding stock and eggs.
Our next breed will be Poules Estaires, another magnificent French breed. The eggs are on order and arrive early next month. See photos . I'd love to know why so many of the French varieties are black!
Coq_Estaires_Janvier_2022.jpg
ESTAIRES HEN.png

 

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