There are so many different breeds of chicken to choose from, that over the years we have tried lots of different kinds, including Welsummers (our favourites), Buff Orpingtons and Marans. In recent years we have kept Black Rocks, raised from day old chicks, and Speckledys, bought at point of lay.
They are kept in two houses. One is an old-fashioned stubble house with iron wheels, designed to be pulled over cornfields after the harvest, so that the poultry could glean the spilt corn. It is beautifully made, and a real asset. We fully refurbished the house after it had given fifty years’ service (fifteen with us). We also have a modern, poorly constructed house, a sad contrast. The poultry are kept at low densities and free range over a wide area – sometimes too wide, when they get into the vegetable garden!
The eggs are fantastic! Egg-shell colour varies, Speckledys laying large brown speckled eggs, and Welsummers having wonderful chocolate brown eggs. Inside, the yokes are a deep orange-yellow, especially as the amount of green vegetation in their diet increases. The whites are solid rather than watery, and the flavour is exceptionally good.