Thursday, March 05, 2009

Prospective roast dinners?

Remember the Des.Res. made by my horny-handed but glamorous assistant in November of last year? Like much of the nation's housing stock in these credit crunched times it has remained unoccupied. We towed it into position - thus proving a tow bar was a Good Idea, and there it has sat ever since - the poshest poultry house in the County*- waiting for hens.
Until yesterday that is. Becky had got herself 28 birds - young pullets to rear for the table - and did I want some? Well, yes please. How many could she spare? She thought I could manage 8 or 10. So 10 it was.

I held her baby while she manhandled the crate containing the birds out of the boot of the car and carried them up the field to their new home. Baby Tristram and I watched as they were decanted into the house where they stood in a miserable cheeping huddle. Were these surroundings not good enough?

24 hours later and bedded down on some of the last shavings in Montgomeryshire, well fed and watered too, they are a little less suspicious of their surroundings and have actually ventured outdoors. I wouldn't describe them as remotely pretty; pale and beaky and already at 15 weeks, big bodied. They are a commercial hybrid, bred specifically for meatiness and presumably rapid weight gain. Becky wasn't sure what had gone into the mix. They'll be ready for the table in 6 to 8 weeks time provided I can hone my poultry rearing skills and get them to gain weight. Poultry Fatteners are what I need apparently - although not so much as they 'go off their legs'. We don't want that do we?
Again, terribly difficult to photograph - or maybe they are just camera shy.

* The title of the poshest hen house in the County, if not the country, should actually go to the Fowl House at Leighton, now owned by the Landmark Trust. That is one impressive hen hut.

12 comments:

Pondside said...

We've been fattening and feasting on our own birds for a few years now - we generally do about 20-25 and then have some to give to family. Last year we let them get too big (it was a time and convenience thing) and we were sorry as they didn't seem as tasty.
Good luck!

Pam said...

I thought you just had them for eggs so am impressed you can do the dirty deed and pluck them. You inspired me last week - I got all excited about having hens and then learnt that I'm not allowed to keep them in city limits. Never mind. I'll live my hen-rearing life through your blog!

snailbeachshepherdess said...

OOOooooooo very impressed. Can I order one now?
Leighton - are we still on for that trip?

Shelby said...

Oh I so enjoyed reading your posts.. your home region looks so lovely. take care,

Shelby

Ladybird World Mother said...

Sweet! We have brown hens... would love to try a new breed. Hope your girls settle in soon.

Exmoorjane said...

Yup, can see what you mean - not exactly the beauties of the chicken world - but yum.....bet they will taste good.

Preseli Mags said...

Oh yum! There's nothing tastier than your own home-reared chicken. Not the most beautiful of creatures, perhaps, but if they were you might not want to eat them! What lucky birds to spend even such a short life in such beautiful accommodation.

Woozle1967 said...

Oooo, I thought you were just "doing" eggs too! Love the idea of home reared chicken for the table and watched Hugh Fearnly Wotsit doing the deed the other day, but......... will stick to home produced eggs for now!xx

Nikki-ann said...

I've only seen the Fowl House at Leighton on the TV... You wouldn't believe it as I've lived around here all my life!

I couldn't do it myself, but I bet those birds will taste delicious when roasted! :D

Sally's Chateau said...

Good luck indeed with your venture, wished we could keep a few birds here but sadly not possible.

muddyboots said...

love the term fowl house, would be nice to have chucks here again........ ah wistful and nostalgic

KittyB said...

Snap! I have three white pullets just like those - but mine are hybrid egg layers, scrawny and pale and flighty.
Now the word's cooders. Are we purple cooders?