Friday, 19 June 2015

Gold Laced Sebright Hens - A Poultry Guide

If you visit our Barn Shop here at FSF, you will on your walk from the car park to the door, pass a Flyte Aviary 8 Hen House and its auric feathered residents, the FSF Gold Laced Sebright Hens. These inquisitive little birds spend their days scratching around the woodchip, snoozing on the Aviary's day perches and taking interest in the customers as they walk by.

Gold Laced Sebrights
Gold Laced Sebrights
The Sebright is one of the few true bantam breeds, meaning they have no larger equivalent. The bird was first breed by Sir John Sebright in the 19th century and it took several years of selective breeding to get the exact pattern to the feathers that he wanted. The exact birds used to make the Sebright are unknown, but thoughts are that a buff bantam was crossed with hennie game fowl for the gold colour and a white rose comb cockerel for the silver.

Our Sebright Hens draw many admiring glances due to the wonderful gold lacing to their feathers, and all feathers need to have this lacing for it to be a true Sebright. The colour of the feathers can change from place to place, from pale to dark.

Day Peches Flyte so Fancy Hen House
Day Perches of the Flyte Aviary 8 
Type: True Bantam
Eggs: 50 to 80 white eggs per year
Colours: Gold and Silver colours standardised in the UK

The Gold Sebright hens have lived here at FSF HQ for nearly two years and do so quite happily in their Flyte Aviary 8. The Flyte Aviary 8 has some well thought out features for both the chicken and the poultry keeper.

For the hens it has day perches (a great place to sit, soak up the sun and have a chicken chat), a large airy run with plenty of room for them to stretch their wings and the raised living area provides a nice covered spot for our Gold Sebrights to shelter from the rain and shade themselves from the sun.

Chicken Blogs
Gold Laced Sebright 
For the poultry keeper the Aviary Hen House comes with all of its access on one side, making it ideal for putting in those lost garden corners or up against a fence. It also comes with a large access door right into the coop area, an external nest box for easy egg collection and a completely removable floor to make cleaning quick and simple.

So next time you visit the shop take a moment to stop outside the Gold Sebright's hen house and say hello, they will probably ignore you entirely as they snooze upon their perches, but you will be able to enjoy the wonderful lacing of their plumage.

If you have any questions about our hen houses why not leave a comment below or phone 01300 345229 to talk to a member of our team.

Thanks for Reading

Friday, 12 June 2015

Five Great Tips for Rearing Chicks

Very early in the year we had a determined hen who sat on her clutch of eggs and refused to move, eventually and sadly she only managed to hatch out one egg. Fast forward a couple of months, the days are longer, the sun is shining (occasionally) and the Flyte so Fancy hens and ducks are in full egg hatching mode.

A week or so ago the wild duck who lives on our pond hatched out a tiny flotilla of seven ducklings. Shortly after, a clutch of Gold Hamburg chicks hatched out and we have now discovered a Cayuga Duck sitting very tightly on a nest in the middle of an un-mown clump of nettles and long grass. More ducklings to follow shortly it would seem.

Flyte so Fancy Incubating and Rearing Chicks
Our Cayuga Cross Ducklings from 2014
With all these exciting little bundles of fluff popping up all over Flyte so Fancy, this weeks blog has five top tips for rearing chicks
  1. The best thing to feed your chicks from the moment they hatch is Chick Crumb. Make sure that you put the feed in a container which the chicks cannot tip over or scratch the feed out of. 
  2. Water needs to be provided for chicks, but make sure that you put it in a drinker or a container in which they cannot drown. A good idea is to fill the bottom of your drinker with marbles or clean washed stones to prevent this. 
  3. If you're using a heat lamp instead of a contact brooder, turn it on a couple of days before they hatch, this will give the area time to warm up for your hatching chicks.
  4. If you have been using a hen to hatch and rear your chicks, then you can remove her from them at around four weeks old. However you should leave the chicks together until they are eight weeks old and then move them from their Broody Coop and into a larger house.
  5. If you are raising your chicks under a heat lamp make sure it is positioned correctly. Too high and the chicks will be cold, evident from their huddling in a mass in the center. Too low and they will burn, fleeing to the edges of their container to avoid the heat. 
Hatching and Rearing Chicks
A FSF Chick
Rearing your own chicks can be a very rewarding process and we have many hens and cockerels here at Flyte so Fancy HQ which have hatched and lived here in our poultry paddock all their lives. 

If you would like more information about rearing chicks, or ducks, have a look at our information page on Incubation and Chick Rearing, leave a comment below or call us on 01300 345220 to talk to a member of the Flyte so Fancy Team.

Thanks for Reading

Friday, 5 June 2015

Flyte so Fancy's Cayuga Ducks

As many of you know (and by now are probably tired of hearing) the Cayuga crosses that we hatched out in the FSF field a year or so ago, are among my absolute favourite of the feather friends that live with us here in our quiet little corner of Dorset.

Timber Duck Housing Flyte so Fancy
Our Cayuga Ducklings and their Floating Duck Lodge Home
Following last weeks blog about the few things that you need to keep to start keeping ducks or to add a few into your existing flock of chickens (if you have the room), this weeks blog is self indulgently focused on Cayuga Ducks.

Cayuga Ducks take their name from Lake Cayuga in New York State and have wonderful black feathers that shine iridescent green when the sun shines upon them. Female Cayuga can "go grey" as they get older, developing white feathers as they age. Our Cayuga ducks here are crossed with Cherry Valleys from the FSF field and so our quackers are a mix of black and white feathers.

The Cayuga duck is a good utility bird, as both a table bird and for egg laying. The first eggs that a Cayuga lays can be very dark, almost black in colour, but they do fade over time and subsequent laying. Classified as a heavy duck, a Cayuga will lay around eighty to 160 eggs per year.

Duck Houses
Our Cayuga Ducks All Grown Up
Our Cayuga's live on the Flyte so Fancy pond, in one of our Floating Duck Lodges. Built on a hexagonal float, the Duck Lodge provides secure home for six pairs of nesting ducks. The timber float is packed with polystyrene so that it floats inch-perfect for the ducks to step out of the pond, and some handy additional steps, mean our Cayuga's happily dabble away the day on their veranda.

The roof of the Duck Lodge is removable to make cleaning easy and a floating duck house is a great way to give your ducks security and comfort from predators, all you need is a large enough pond to float it on.

Timber Waterfowl Housing
The Cayuga's Enjoying A Splash Around
Keeping ducks in the garden can be a fun and rewarding hobby. Ducks have wonderful, playful characters and will bring plenty of life and energy to your garden. They also happen to be great foragers, hoovering up slugs and snails alike. Their eggs are larger than chickens and some breeds of ducks can lay as frequently as hens. Most breed of domestic ducks only require a small amount of water too, a large washing up bowl that you can move around your garden and re-fill easily will keep them happy and avoid your ducks making your garden a quagmire.

The Cayuga ducks here at Flyte so Fancy have been favourites of mine since they first hatch and if you have any questions on keeping ducks or duck housing, why not leave a comment below or call us on 01300 345229 to talk to a member of the FSF team.

Thanks for Reading