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Details of breeds we keep

Andalusian (bantam & large fowl)
Watch list; Category 1, Critical.

(less than 100 registered breeding females)
Click here to see the
Rare Breeds watch list

These striking blue birds are easily one of my favourites and I keep them at the front of the runs so I can admire them whenever I am in the garden - or from the office window on gloomy days! They originate from Spain and breeding the desired ‘blue’ colouring with dark even lacing is difficult as chicks will be either blue, black or ‘splash’ coloured, so developing their numbers takes some time and dedication. They lay a surprisingly large egg for their size - eggs are pure white - and they are inquisitive friendly birds with an upright stance and large flopped-over comb in the females. We are members of the Andalusian Fanciers Group.

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Araucana (lavender or blue)

Breed Club
www.araucana.org.uk

These lovely blue-grey birds are best known for gorgeous baby blue eggs. The breed club (of which we are members) has a useful egg colour chart allowing breeders to read off the exact colour of their eggs, making it easier to track down eggs of a particular shade - many araucanas lay a green tinted egg which is less desirable. We only hatch from the bluest eggs each year in an attempt to reach perfection - along with trying to keep the best of the breed standards too! The blue egg colour pigmentation is unusual in that it permeates all the way through the shell. There are other colours of Araucanas but we are suckers for anything blue… They all should have a barely visible pea comb, head tuft and thick muffling about the face.

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Barnevelder - (PLEASE NOTE: our 3 barnevelder colours are now running all together with a double laced cockerel)

Our Barnevelders come from 3 different bloodlines and are beautifully attractive birds with a double laced pattern in their mahogany/black feathers. The edge markings of the cockerel’s feathers shine iridescent green in the light. Both the hens and the cockerel have rich yellow legs which develop more as they come into lay. They are a heavy docile breed that tends to be one of the quietest we keep; the cockerels learn to crow later than other breeds. Their eggs are a lovely mid-dark brown - we have tried to breed darker egg layers each year. The hens will go broody. A great breed for beginners as they are docile, friendly and rarely aggressive.

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Croad Langshan - Black
Watch list; Category 1. Critical
(less than 100 registered breeding females)

Click here to see the
Rare Breeds watch list

Breed Club
Croad Langshan Club

Croad Langshans occur as both bantams and large fowl in white or black. We keep bantam blacks with their lovely beetle green sheen as the large birds are too big for our arks. They stand proud with a deep 'U' shaped back made by the arch of the head and tail. They have feathered legs, single comb, dark eyes and red lobes. Croads are best known for their lovely plumb pinky coloured eggs.

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Dorking, Silver Grey
Watch list; Category 4. Vulnerable.

(less than 500 registered breeding females)

Click here to see the
Rare Breeds watch list

Breed Club  www.poultryclub.org/dorkingclub/

Dorkings are an attractive heavy breed that are very friendly and can be dated back to Roman times. The cockerels are splendid with white hackles and dark under parts, while the hens have a salmon coloured breast and silver patterned back and tail. They lay a medium sized white tinted egg. We have birds from 3 different bloodlines, some having come in from a show winning strain from Holland. Dorkings are one of the breeds that has an extra toe and correct toe placement is important! We are striving to maintain the large size of the birds and their eggs.

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Ixworth
Watch list; Category 3, Vulnerable.

(200-300 registered breeding females)

Click here to see the
Rare Breeds watch list
 
The Ixworth is one of Britain’s rarer breeds; they are not particularly special to look at, being all white, but they mature quickly and are surprisingly good layers of slightly tinted white eggs. They were developed as a table bird around the time of WWII but were surpassed by American breeds as Britain had other things on its mind than promoting chickens. Their mature weight 7-9lbs means that excess cockerels are our table bird of choice – whenever we cannot sell them to help preserve the breed that is…

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Jungle Fowl, Red

We keep our Red Jungle Fowl in a tall aviary-type house with in-built run as they like to perch and get up high. Jungle Fowl are the original chicken from which all modern day breeds are said to have descended; as their name indicates, they originate from the jungles of Asia. We keep them primarily to show on our ‘Introduction to Poultry Keeping’training days so attendees can see how far we have come from tiny Jungle Fowl to their neighbouring  large fowl cousins. They are small and flighty - and stubborn - only being persuaded to roost in their house when it snowed in the winter and after we had unsettling night-time fox visits. They lay well, a lovely small white egg, in fact one continued laying on throughout the winter.

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La Fleche

The La Fleche or ‘Devil Chicken’ are the ‘Hard Rock’ hens of the chicken world. They are absolutely different from any other breed we keep with their dark black plumage, white ear lobe, flared nostrils and unusual twin spikes for a comb. They mature at a reasonable weight for eating, lay well but are fairly nervous and flighty for such a large bird, and are therefore best kept free range with no dogs to upset them (so we’ve learned…) They lay a large white egg and are a must if you want something completely different from your neighbours. They are a French breed as the name suggests and are not common in Britain although we hope to change that by increasing their popularity. We love them and find ourselves mesmerised by their antics. Not really suitable as a breed for beginners, although they can be tamed and are a very rewarding bird to keep.

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Lakenvelder

Overseen by the Rare Poultry Society: www.rarepoultrysociety.co.uk

Lakenvelders are strikingly marked, they have similar colouring to Light Sussex in the black head and tail but their feathers are pure black not edged with white and they are finer boned. We keep them next to the Vorwerks for the contrast they provide. In fact, Lakenvelders were used in the development of the more practically coloured Vorwerks. The body should be pure white with crisp black head, neck and tail. We kept bantam Lakenvelders for a few years but found they weren’t hardy enough for our area. They lay white eggs and can be a bit nervous.

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Legbar, Cream
Watch list; Category 3, Vulnerable.

(200-300 registered breeding females)

There are various colours of Legbars but we keep the Cream variety; all are based originally on the Leghorn and have araucana in their history too.  The Cream Legbar is an attractive bird with a head crest, and salmon coloured breast in the female and she lays a greeny-blue egg. They are best known for being auto-sexing, ie. male and female chicks are different colours when hatched making it easy to see what you have straight away; the male chicks are paler with a yellow head spot while the females are darker and striped.

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Maran, Cuckoo (bantam & large fowl)

Click here for the Maran Club

Marans lay the darkest of brown eggs and are often found strutting around farmyards. The egg colour tends to fade slightly towards the end of the laying season but reappears as a rich reddish brown in the spring. The day old cuckoo chicks can be sexed with relative accuracy as the male has a more pronounced yellow spot on his head. Along with the Welsummer, they were my first chicken and I remember keeping them as a child and carrying around my chick ‘Hermione’ and giving her extra corn around behind the chicken house! We have birds from 4 bloodlines. Cuckoo marans in this country are  clean legged but in France the breed standard is for feathered legs… tempting…

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Marans, French Copper Black 

See the Maran Club de France for further information.

These birds are large glossy black with coppery tones in their neck feathers; the cockerels have more golden colouring too. They have feathered legs and lay super dark brown eggs. When introducing this breed, we purchased hatching eggs as foundation stock from the darkest layers we could find, so hopefully this will come through in their offspring. Feathered leg breeds require special management as they can be more prone to leg mite - their runs need to be kept mud free either by moving regularly or by running on bark in the winter months.

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Orpington, Blue (bantam)

Like the Chocolates, Blue Orpingtons make excellent back garden chicken and are easily tamed. They are friendly inquisitive little birds and are excellent broodies. Like other Blue poultry, when a blue cockerel is mated with a blue hen, you will hatch a mix of solid blues, blacks and splash offspring.

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Orpington, Chocolate (bantam)

There has been much fuss about Chocolate Orpingtons over the last couple of years with silly prices being asked for both birds and eggs. Orpingtons are not especially rare but the chocolate is a new colour. They are a compact little bantam that occurs as chocolate brown but also has some 'waste' black depending on what combination of black/chocolate males to females are run.

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Pekin (mixed colours)

Since I was a child I have always loved Pekins; we had a black pair, Rastus and Martha, who lived free range in our garden and put up with the attentions of our cats. They are the friendliest breed we have come across and are real characters. We have had Aggie, a Buff Pekin, since 2004, and she has been ‘super-mum’, regularly rearing 2-3 broods a year (chicks, ducklings, goslings, she doesn’t mind!). There are numerous colours of Pekin, we keep ours because they are such characters, but mostly for their broody services, so have collected a varied pen including: Blue, Buff, Black, Black mottled, Blue mottled, Lemon Millefleur, and Brown Millefleur hens running with Blue and Brown mottled cockerels to give wonderful palette of mixed offspring so there will be some variety available.

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Sabelpoot, Lemon or Citron Millefleur

Sablepoot, Lemon or Citron Millefleur

Also known as a booted bantam, the Lemon Millefleur Sabelpoot is a strikingly marked bird with the ‘wow’ factor - all be it very small. They have a yellow ground colour with black and white spotting to the feather tips. One of the few breeds Ian said ‘you can keep those’ so I jumped at the chance! We have 3 bloodlines and 2 cockerels running with the hens.

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Sabelpoot, Porcelain (bantam)

We seem to be addicted to these lovely little birds… Porcelains are the latest colour to be added to our collection. The markings are similar to the millefleur but the ground colour is light straw and the spots are a lavender-blue with white tips. Their eggs are small but with a greater proportion or yolk to white - and the birds eat less to produce your eggs too - an economical choice! As with the other Sabelpoots, the males reach only 850g in weight.

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Sabelpoot, Silver Millefleur (bantam)

Description and image to be added shortly...

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Salmon Faverolle 

We have been increasingly attracted to birds with feathered legs of late - not at all practical but very attractive.  Faverolles are large birds developed for the table and are originally from France. They have a beard, extra toe like the dorkings and feathered legs and come in a variety of colours; we keep Salmons.  They are placid, easily tamed and a great choice for beginners.

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Sicilian Buttercup, Gold (bantam)

This breed is best known for its unusual cup shaped comb. They came to Britain in the early 1900s from Sicily via the USA and like other Mediterranean breeds are a light bird with a fan-shaped tail and are active, benefiting from free range. They occur in silver and gold; the gold being the most common. We have birds from 2 different lines.

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Speckled Sussex (bantam)
Watch list; Category 3, Vulnerable.

(200-300 registered breeding females)

We were given a pair of Speckled Sussex bantams as a wedding present and were captivated by their cheeky character.

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Vorwerk (bantam & large fowl)

Overseen by the Rare Poultry Society: www.rarepoultrysociety.co.uk

We started keeping Vorwerks years ago as we were given a set of place mats with these strikingly beautiful birds painted on them and were instantly smitten. We tracked down some bantams initially but switched to keeping large fowl and are especially pleased with the quality of the markings we have been able to develop. The breed standard calls for pure black head and tail with a buff coloured body; often the body feathers are tipped with black and this is regarded as a fault but we are gradually breeding this out – some breeders will actually pluck out imperfect feathers prior to showing their birds! Occasionally, a nice clean hen will moult and her new feathers will grow back with the occasional black tip. They have slate grey legs, sharp white ear lobes and their eggs are tinted cream. Definitely one of our favourites.

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Welsummer

The first chicken I had were Welsummers; in fact I still had one of them living out her retirement here until last year. They are the traditional farmyard bird laying super dark brown and often speckled eggs. We have tried to select well marked dark egg laying birds to breed from and now have birds from 4 bloodlines in our breed pen.

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Ducks

Blue Swedish

Description to be added shortly...

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Cayuga Ducks

These beautiful ducks are a heavy breed from the USA and are best recognised by their black plumage that shimmers iridescent blue- green in the sunlight. The ducklings are pure black and their eggs are also very dark, almost black and the shell colour fades to a blue-green through the laying season. These are the exception to our rare/traditional rule, but we just couldn’t resist them…

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Shetland

Description to be added shortly...

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Geese

West of England Geese

These are a very rare medium sized breed developed in the Westcountry and were thought to be common in Victorian times. They are ‘sex linked’ in that the ganders are all white and the geese are white with a grey saddle and neck and can be easily sexed on hatching Rather than having to wait for the sexual differences to be displayed. We have found them to be extremely friendly and easy to manage (except the gander can be defensive when his ladies are sitting). They lay for a short period traditionally from Valentines day to around mid April. We only sell live birds, not hatching eggs, as they are so precious.

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