Unlike the vast majority of traditional and pure breeders nowadays we use records of our birds productivity to make decisions about breeding and selection for the next generations. In the past 10 -20 years most breeders have stopped taking account of production and been breeding for feather colours and for the shape of the breed. This has lead to most birds being a disappointing shadow of their former glory - poor egg numbers, weak quality of egg and bird, pale or mismarked egg colours and slow growing birds which have too large a frame for their health instead of being strong and meaty.
We do not hatch from birds in the moult or in the winter;
This means the birds hatched are the best the flock can produce but good selection means that point of lay birds are only available in the late summer and autumn.
A bird that is 18 weeks in the early spring is either hatched from a pullet or a bird in moult, neither are advised if you want a quality bird.
We aim to produce good hens -but don't forget that if you already have birds that it is the cockerels that are the most important for the next generation. Unless his mum was a great layer and he came from an egg colour correct from the breed he will not be a good influence on his pullets.
The chicks are hatched on the farm and once hatched we aim to maintain the highest standards of rearing.
We do not deal in birds; we don't have peafowl or wild fowl.
Dealing in birds where a business says that they can get you x or y is so dangerous in the poultry world. You never know what diseases you might be bringing in to your flock. And you don't know what has passed through their property in the past year.
Follow the underlined links to see more information on each breed.
RHODE ISLAND RED
This is a popular pure breed, our strain are a classic 'brick' shaped chestnut bird which is still a very good layer. These are getting very rare nowadays with probably only 5 or 6 really productive strains left. Most are disappointing layers. Our strain have proven to be strong, active and hardy birds, and can lay through the winter, weather permitting. They have a mid brown egg.
We have created an excellent strain that is good and meaty; lays around 220 eggs a year and has good markings. They are hardy active birds; capable of rearing their own young and produce great table birds, within 18 weeks making the meat versatile in today's recipes.
The breed is a French dual purpose bird, popular for its speckled feathering and deep brown eggs, which we have worked with to produce over 200 a year. The birds make a great slow growing table bird, but we have done no work on this feature.Unlike most strains in the UK ours don't have any backcrossing of other breeds in them.
Attractively marked brown bird from Holland, the welsumer lays a deep brown egg. We have Partridge and Duckwing - the latter are a particularly strong layer of exceptional eggs - around 200 (the best ever welsumer was Shrewton Wonder in the 1940's who laid 246)
A lovely well feathered white bird laying around 200- 220 eggs throughout the year. Our foundation stock was from the renowned and respected late Clem Shaw - probably one of the last of a generation of great utility breeders. They have a good carass weight, but could do with more work to get them bigger, younger, so the meat is more useful. Sadly 99% of Wyandottes in the UK now are little more than cute fluffy pets, delightful, but of no use to the new keepers looking to improve their self sufficiency.
This very attractive beautiful apricot coloured bird should lay around 150-180 tinted brown eggs a year. Ours are a strong meaty strain with tough waterproof feathering, unlike those bred for all the feather and size that is causing so many problems in other strains.
Large, grand and gorgeous range of colours in this very popular dual purpose breed. Like the Buffs, ours are much improved for their utility qualities, without losing any of the attractiveness, but for both there is much to do to return them to the type and production of their ancestors created by William Cook.
An Italian breed originally, our white Leghorns lay well producing 230 plus eggs a year – with good white shells
A great looking bird, not quite the productivity of the white. Somehow we have ended up with a very tame strain - they positively like people. So many people dismiss leghorns as flighty, well ours don't understand that !
Lovely birds - smart looking; great white eggs and the boys are stunning. One of our most successful improvements, with birds laying very early in the winter for up here, and having a great colour egg.
This is one of two traditional Scots breeds - we have a very old strain - not as large as modern show birds but not bantams either. The cuckoo colour is well shown off by these proud birds who strut around the farm like little soldiers. Bossy, active hens, who lay well in the winter and can make great mothers later in the year.
The second Scots breed - the shortened legs supposedly so that they would be easy to catch when the community were on the move around the Highlands. The extreme short leggedness is associated with a lethal gene. Correctly there should be short and long legged used in flocks, but too much novice indiscriminate breeding means that there are few good birds left now. Old strains have been lost.
BARRED PLYMOUTH ROCK
Lovely looking birds which should be good layers, and a decent sized carcass - the barred plymouth rock was used in the sex linkage for commercial breeds. However getting decent numbers and egg size from current UK stocks is difficult. A few laying strains have been developed, but the table characteristics have been ignored.
Very rare to find pure ones now, these are autosexing blue egg layers. Pretty birds and very popular. Sadly UK flocks are mostly polluted with a commercial crossbreed, and creations that are not true Legbars
The blue egg layer from Chile with the Hebridean connection. With their muffs, tufts, crests and beards, they are one of the most unusual of breeds. Few strains lay a decent egg colour now, too much breeding for different colours, crossing with different breeds. Even fewer capable of a decent number of eggs a year.
There is a LOT of work to do in the UK to restore the breeds that used to work for us, and plenty of demand for the birds. But, sadly, it is that demand which means that breeders can sell anything they produce, whatever the quality of the breeding (or not) so there is little incentive to improve their birds. Few have the knowledge or experience, or have done any homework to find out what needs to be done. Most just want to buy some eggs from someone, the next year they have set themselves up as a breeder. They have no idea what their bloodlines are capable of. Breeding from pullets is bad practise, but happens all the time - hence why they have birds for sale in the spring.
Few people are interested in the work that is necessary to improve bloodlines, to select from the right birds, and the right eggs. However there are no large commercial breeders left with birds of quality, so the result is that the national flocks are being degraded year by year.