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Bantams and Brassicas

Posted By: paul 09/07/2009 10:13:00

I have come to realize I have chicken envy. I have eight perfectly good full sized chickens which lay six eggs a day in summer. Yet I find myself wanting to get some Bantams.

Steve, a friend of mine has Bantams, actually he has about thirty Bantams. Most of which are Pekins of one variety or another. He keeps them on a small plot of land about 60 feet by 60 feet, where they peck around in the undergrowth for grubs and things. Steve will move them occasionally so they avoid any health problems, but not because they have eaten all the foliage. If I was to put my full six sized chickens on the same bit of land they would have devastated it in under a week, and within a month you would be looking at a dust bowl. Apart from the lack of an appetite for destruction the Bantams differ from full sized chickens in other respects too. They layer slightly smaller eggs, they don't lay quite as many, they make very good broody birds, andthe Cockerels have a quieter but maybe more 'strangled' crow. If I was starting out with chickens again I would get myself a 'Trio' of Pekin Bantams. They also look quite comical when they walk as they have feathers all the down to their feet. And yes that is a Rabbit in the picture, it's the result of a wild and pet rabbit clandestine meeting, but it thinks it's a chicken and eats the grain.

 

In the garden this week I have been focusing on keeping the pigeons off my Brassicas and sowing some more Rocket in the raised bed. Netting is the answer withthe pigeons, and the best solution was to build a large cage. Now I have a walk in cage with everything safe from all sorts of vermin. The raised bed has been this years big success story. It has now been producing for almost two months without a break, the Rocket was starting to look tired so I pulled it all up, save for two small rows and have re seeded it, this time in a more random manner. The Kohl Rabi hasbeen harvested and the second crop is at golf ball size. Which reminds me, I read somewhere you should pick them when they are that size or they get tough. Well I left some to grow and ate them when they where Coconut sized, and they where delicious and not tough at all. In fact I grated one yesterday with some of the spring onions and made an alternative Coleslaw with a little mayonnaise. Next year I will grow a lot more of the Kohl Rabi, it doesn't take up too much space and it's so versatile.

Jobs for this weekend will be the usual watering and weeding, and also I will be starting to trim the lower leaves on the tomatoes so they concentrate on producing nice fruit. I'll also get the chance to visit the Bantams and decide on which ones I should buy next year.

Happy Gardening!

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