The Poultry at Glenrootes Farm. We keep three pure breeds of chickens. Additionally cross breeding two of our pure breeds in order to produce a sex linked hybrid.
Free Range Eggs
We aim for our poultry to have natural happy lives by free ranging over the paddocks. Our system of husbandry produces a steady supply of top quality free range eggs all year round. Although as to be expected laying does generally reduce somewhat during the harsh winter months.
Available from the farm gate, our Glenrootes free range eggs of various sizes and shell colours are a great favourite with purchasers. Many of whom are regular customers.
The egg yolks are a deep orange, and the whites are solid rather than watery. The flavour is simply something that you just do not find in supermarket eggs.
During our hatching season which generally begins in February, and ends towards the close of June. We sometimes have surplus eggs available from the birds that we keep in our breeding pens.
The breeds of poultry that we keep are;
It was in 1929 when crossing a Belgian breed the Gold Campine with the American Barred Rock that Professor R C Punnett & Mr M S Pease in their experimental work at Cambridge, discovered the basic principle of an auto sexing chicken by transferring the barring gene of the Barred Rock hen to a Golden Campine cock, and ultimately created the first auto-sexing chicken breed, the Cambar.
Messers Punnett & Pease’s further work produced the Legbar in 1941 this was created, by crossing Brown Leghorns, Barred Plymouth Rocks and Araucana’s (for the blue egg colour).
The Legbar is an auto sexing breed. That is one in which the chicks at hatching can be sexed at day old. This is achieved according to their appearance (their down colouring). Legbars are classified as a pure breed as their offspring will also remain auto sexing.
Legbars are recognized by their ‘top knot’. This is a crest of feathers which lies at the back of the head behind the comb. This crest is smaller in the male and larger in the female.
When a cream legbar chick hatches, the hens are striped like a chipmunk and the cocks have a white spot on the back of their head.
The Legbar breed was principally created as an egg laying breed. As such any colour faults in its markings must pale into insignificance. This is especially so with regard to the birds productivity and their eggs unusual sky blue colour.
Plymouth Barred Rock
The Plymouth Barred Rock originated in the United States and is considered to be a dual purpose breed.
They lay a good number of delicate pink coloured eggs averaging around 200 per year.
Named after the village of Welsum. The Welsummer is a Dutch breed .
Its special feature being its large brown egg, some products being mottled with brown spots.
Welsummer X Plymouth Barred Rock – Sex Linked
We also produce our own sex linked birds by crossing Welsummer cocks with Barred Rock hens
Briefly, sex-linkage means mating fowls in such a way that the sex of their progency can be distinguished as soon as the chicks have hatched. Cross breeding is essential for sex – linkage. A first cross is the progeny of two distinct breeds mated together.
Breeding chickens in combinations that produce sex link chickens offers many benefits, based on the ability to separate male from female chicks at hatching. This avoids the need to waste time, space and feed to raise the commercially useless rooster chicks
Combining a cuckoo or barred hen (eg Plymouth Rock) with any non – barred, non cuckoo coloured rooster will yield cuckoo or barred rooster chicks and solid coloured – usually black hen chicks. The offspring will not breed true from these crosses.
Poultry by products – Manure
Poultry litter and manure, properly used, can be a most valuable supplement to the garden or allotment. The manure should be dried before use or incorporated in the compost heap. The fresh manure contains about 70% of moisture, which must be removed before use in the garden. Poultry manure is high in nitrogen, rich in phosphate, but low in potash. The manure is best stored under cover. After a few weeks will become dry, friable and suitable for use on the garden.
Poultry manure must be dealt with properly and regularly and on no account just left outside exposed to the weather. Rain will quickly turn the manure heap into a boggy mess. This will attract vermin, and flies will be provided with a good breeding ground. In these circumstances a health and environmental problem will soon arise.