Bristol, United Kingdom
Posted Sep 03, 2014
We have always kept poultry and when a friend offered us a clutch of Orpington eggs we were thrilled to have the chance to have them. They were so tiny (and cute!) when the hatched, they all snuggled up together under the heat lamp. They needed checking regularly to make sure they were ok and hadn't got themselves into any trouble! We had three chickens and they were all different colours. My favourite was a sandy coloured bird that we called Sparky. She had the most personality out of all of the birds and would follow us about whenever we were in the garden. She was very tame- as we'd raised her from young- and she would take food from our hands.
As our brood grew Sparky remained a sociable bird, but seemed to prefer the company of humans. She learned 'tricks' that were involved flying up onto our laps, and then she would get on our shoulders. Often if anyone crouched down to tie up a shoelace- she would come running along- fluffy feathered legs flapping in the breeze and jump onto their back!
She would perch on anything she wanted- including my motorcycle!
All the Orpingtons were great layers, although the eggs are quite small, they bake amazingly and taste delicious. All the chickens lived together in the same coop- and are surprisingly easy to keep clean, they make hardly any mess, and require a light clean-up daily. Some people trim their wings to stop them becoming too flighty- but we decided against doing that as if a fox were to get in they'd have a chance to flutter away.
We are lucky to have a garden large enough to keep them free rage but they will be just as happy in a smaller space provided its kept clean, and they have room to move. They are surprisingly inquisitive birds and need to have new things to keep them occupied. This could be different foodstuffs to peck 1at or things to nest in. We avoided keeping cockerels as they can be aggressive if there are more than on in brood.
They can be charming pets for young and old alike, and provided they are treated kindly, they will give hours of entertainment!