Monday, June 11, 2012

Our new family members...... Chickens!

Well it took us three attempts would you believe to get our chickens!  All great excuses to have little trips out with our friends Pat and Pedro.  It seemed to be that our timing was all wrong, and the first couple of trips out, which included at least two stop off's at each, we were always told to come back in 6 weeks, as the chicks had just been hatched!

Eventually an English friend in town, who seems to know her chickens, told us of yet another place to try, and it came to light that some of the suppliers we had been to, actually get their chickens from this very place, in Cordoba.  So we went with Pat and Pedro and armed with a box as  we really were n't sure how we would contain them in the car, the chickens not Pat and Pedro, they are usually very well behaved!  Alan seemed to have it in his mind the chickens would be given to us in a sack.......... thankfully not!

We found the place, eventually, and as we drove in there seemed to be many dogs of assorted sizes and shapes, enjoying the shade under cars, and trees in the car park area.  We could see an outbuilding which had lots of chickens, ducks and goslings in a little squashed into cages, but not upsetting in anyway.  Pedro discussed with the young man which would be the best chickens for us.  We only want them for eggs, even though most of the locals have chickens for eggs for a while, then they become Sunday lunch.  I can understand this as of course you know exactly how your "food" has been treated, and what it has eaten, and no preservatives of course, then they just "do the deed" and usually the "madres" pluck and prepare the chicken.  No thank you, ours are totally for eggs, and looking gorgeous!

He pointed to three rather lovely looking chickens on a poster which he said are very good for eggs, plus they are happy to live in the campo.  I guess this means some also keep chickens in the town too?  We said we would have two of each, and he got a big box, so no worries about a wriggling sack in the car and set off.

About five minutes later he came back carrying all six chickens by the feet, upside down.  To be honest at first I did n't think they were ours, I thought they were some dead ones he was removing!  I'm guessing this is the preffered way of carrying them, as they were completely limp and relaxed although they soon "came back to life" as he tried to cram them all into the box though.  We all piled back into the car, excited about getting our new "pet's" home.  Unfortunately Alan missed the turning and finished up heading towards Malaga and we finished up doing about a 20 kilometre detour through the Cordoba countryside.  The only problem with this, was it was around 40 degrees, and we do not have air con in our car, I was a little worried our new chickens would be roasted before we got them home!!!

Once we got them home, we took them straight into their new "room"  which is lovely and big, it was in fact an animal feeding room at some point.  So we had already put some old bits of alpaca fleece plus hay in the feeding areas for them.  The most comfy alpacas in Spain I would have thought, haha!  The plan was to keep them inside for two weeks so we could make sure they always knew where the food was going to be, and we could be sure of getting them back in, and shutting them away at night.  We have not seen a fox any closer than about 7 or 8 kilometres from our house, and then only one ever, plus alpacas are fantastic chicken guards, as they would let out an alarm call if a fox was nearby.  We do however prefer to have them shut away at night for their protection.

The chickens settled in incredibly well, and we did in fact allow them out through the day, after just under a week.  We thought they were gorgeous then, but they since grown gorgeous tail feathers, and their combs are much larger and all a gorgeous scarlett in colour.  Below are a few photos from the day we brought them home.  In a later post I will post some more up to date photos of them.  Enjoy!

Oh by the way, we had decided they would be called after some of our favourite aunties, so on my side we have auntie Jess, auntie Mabel and auntie Marg, and on Alan's side we have auntie Eileen, auntie Jean and Nanny Audrey.  I was a little concerned that Alan's other nanna, Renee, maybe upset, however Alan assured me she really would n't be upset at not having a chicken named after her!!!  The problem is 4 of them look very much like their "other halves" so we have not actually named them individually!

The chickens meet the alpacas!

Marcus wants a closer look!

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