Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Millefleurs barbus d'Uccles

Since I am in chicken mode - still besotted with the new girls, who are so keen on mealworms that taming them is going well - I thought I would post a picture of the prettiest breed of chickens we ever kept. I was going to use the picture from Wikipedia, but it really doesn't do them justice, so I thought that perhaps the British Belgian Bantam Club might be glad of a bit of extra publicity, and so wouldn't mind if I used one off their site.

When we lived in Scotland, we had a trio of these chickens, who were extremely tame, and liked to sit on people's shoulders (my mother-in-law was not keen). Unfortunately, they were really a bit too tame, and also liked to go for walks. In those days we lived opposite my sons' primary school, and it was a regular occurrence for the Barbus to turn up in the playground, at which point elder son was usually deputed to bring them home. Sometimes, they would set off straight down the hill through the village, and I am afraid that one day someone seized both opportunity and chickens; the someone is question, of course, might have been the fox, but we searched high and low and there was no sign of anyone, not so much as a feather, so perhaps they went to a new home. I was very sorry to lose them, they were tiny bundles of personality.

I don't think I would want to keep them on our clay soil here, they would get very weighed down in the mud. And I don't think that one of our neighbours would be frightfully keen on having a cockerel next door! It is exceedingly quiet here, and we're always rather embarrassed when the dogs choose to demonstrate their guarding qualities: a chicken shrieking his head off at 3.30am might not be popular!


Nicole said...

What marvellous photos you have on your site. I love the chickens - I have space for them on 2 acres here in New Zealand, but my teen girl's cat, not to mention the three dogs (two of which are domesticated working breeds - border collie & huntaway) would have great fun chasing them chickens I am sure. I have popped over from your book blog so I have now had a wonderful read and viewed some picturesque images. Thank you.

GeraniumCat said...

Hi Nicole - glad you enjoy them! I think dogs *can* get used to not chasing chickens. Our two are lurchers, a crossbreed famous for chasing absolutely everything, and designed to do so, but although they chase cats, pheasants and rabbits, they now know they mustn't chase the hens, and can be trusted outside on their own while the girls are out. I think it helps that they were used to the hens in their run first.

I wasn't sure if I knew what a huntaway looked like, so I googled to see - they are very handsome, but it sounds as if they need a lot of exercise!