We keep Rhode Island Red and Light Sussex chickens.

Theo Rhode Island Red cock

We originally purchased a dozen point of lay pullets in auction at Salisbury Market. Four of these birds met the fox, so then there were only have eight, but they carried on laying quite well.

All eaten now: too old to roast, but they made excellent soup.

We purchased six hybrid pullets. We also hatched another half dozen in the incubator. One of the hens disappeared for two weeks. When she emerged from a large sage bush we realised she had been sitting a clutch. Unfortunately she only managed to hatch one! However he is doing well and will be ready for the pot before Christmas.

The cross between a Light Sussex hen and a Rhode Island Red cock produces light coloured cock chicks and dark coloured pullets. This is sex linkage; it allows the breeder to dispose of the unwanted male birds before they have eaten too much food.

Then there just Rhode Island Reds. There were four older hens, one with Hyline characteristics. There were 3 young cocks. We also have 10 young Light Sussex birds, most of the cockerels are destined for the pot, but we will keep one for breeding. The young hens are point of lay.

Latest update: we now have just one Rhode Island Red cock, but we also have several Light Sussex cocks. There are losts of Light Sussex hens and about 6 cross-breed hens. They all like to roost in a holly tree; they only stay in the hen houses when they go broody. We have four sets of chicks now: 19 all told.