Bambrook Bantams the early years …..
25 or so years ago, a long time before Bambrook Bantams was hatched, we purchased a property in Rural Western Australia. The property came complete with an empty chicken coop and run. Thinking “we can’t leave that empty”; we fixed it up a little and went out in search of new residents.
Note: this was my first experience with chickens.
We drove to a hatchery and purchased 6 by large White Chickens. Now, these White Chickens probably had a breed name but our total lack of chicken knowledge at this time resulted in them being White Chickens!.
These White Chickens were apparently well past their use by date at the tender age of 16 months and I hoped I was doing them a favour by rescuing them.
Anyways, got them home, popped the box into the run, opened the box and gently lifted out each girl and placed her on the ground.
What happened next still brings a tear to my eye to this day …. They didn’t move, they all stayed exactly where we had put them for at least 10 minutes. We tried giving them an ever so gentle prod; nothing, no movement. It was at this point we realised that, as a result of confinement in a tiny cage, in a hatchery, these gals did not realise that they could move!
Not long after our realisation, the gals had a realisation of their own in that their legs did have a purpose and from that moment on, they made up for lost time! These gals scratched, dug, explored, sun bathed, dust bathed and regardless of how nice we were to them, made use of those legs to ensure that we were never able to catch them!
Sadly, circumstances required that we sold the property but the gals moved in with a neighbour who had fallen in love with them as much as I and I assume they spent many happy years scratching around in their back garden.
Fast forward 20 years from this point and we are now in Bundaberg, on the East Coast of Australia where we find ourselves with a large back garden and an area perfect for chickens.
Once again, after a little ‘fixing up’ we now have 6 by large Brown Chickens. Yes, these Brown Chickens probably also had a breed name, but our still limited knowledge of chickens, resulted in them being Brown Chickens!
Sadly, once again, we had to move on but these gals went to live with a work colleague who also had chickens and while they may have passed away by now; my colleague stayed in touch for many years and let me know that the Brown gals were doing well.
Fast forward 3 years from this point and we are now in Brisbane, still on the East Coast of Australia and Bambrook Bantams is hatched.
We are cat lovers, having two beautiful, inside cats for whom we purchased a chicken coop as an outside play area. We added a run to the coop and the cats were happy enough in their outside play area for a short amount of time.
Then we realised that the chicken coop and run were not big enough for the cats so we built them something much better.
This means we now have an empty chicken coop and run and again “we can’t leave that empty”!
This chicken coop and run is nowhere near big enough to house 6 by White Chickens or 6 by Brown Chickens so I do some research, the new residents are purchased and we now have 2 by Pekins or depending on from where you hail, Bantam Cochins, Pekin Cochins, Pekin Bantams etc!
Not only do we have chickens again but these ones have a breed name! And, for the first time, they have names of their own … Cilla and Ash.
Over 2 years later, we still have Cilla; sadly we lost Ash to inexperience; a coop in the wrong place, damp conditions and subsequent infection. Lesson learnt and coop moved.
So, after having chickens in the past, while I enjoyed them, took care of them and made sure all their needs were met, I didn’t really notice their individual chickenalities and they all looked alike to me!
The last two years have been anything but the above. Not only do I still enjoy having chickens, I also love them very much. I ensure that they are safe, take care of them and ensure all their needs are met and more .. I now know what wonderful, individual chickenalities these gals have and have also learnt about chicken-math, lice infestations, sour/impacted crop, egg binding, remnants of soft shell egg inside the chicken, sudden death and many other things related to chickens, including some breed names which I now use rather than White Chicken and Brown Chicken!
The flock has grown from the original two to six.
PS. Bantam Bambrooks is an all girl affair; no roosters allowed in our residential area.
I spend many, many hours with my gals, just talking to them, watching them, enjoying their company and while I am definitely still learning about what ails a chicken and how to treat them, I do believe I am not a newbie when it comes to their chickenalities and quirkiness.
Cilla is our matriarch and mother to half of our flock.
As we do not know Cilla’s hatch date, we decided it would be 1 February 2013.
Cilla is a Pekin and has the most adorable personality depending on whether she is broody or not.
Even when she is sitting on eggs; while she can go all GodCilla on her flock mates, I can still pick her up without having my ear drums burst by screeching, without having to have a blood transfusion handy from pecking and without being required to witness a ‘look how I can puff up and be 3 times bigger than my actual size’ performance.
On the hot days, she is the only one of my broodys who will take a drink on the nest when offered in a tiny little cup. I sometimes wonder whether she is actually thirsty on just likes being waited on! Cilla is a wonderful mum.
Cilla is affectionately known as ‘my little feathered beach ball’.
Cilla’s namesake is:
Cilla Black, an English singer, actress, entertainer and media personality, born 27th May 1943.
Dusty is our 2IC, being purchased back in 2013.
As we do not know Dusty’s hatch date, we decided it would be 1 February 2013.
Dusty is a Bantam Langshan; famous for those big brown eyes and Dusty’s do not fail to melt your heart.
Dusty does not do broody. She does, however, go through some fairly impressive hard moults:
When we purchased Dusty, she was by herself in a cage at the Produce Store because her siblings were picking on her, pecking her etc. The Store Assistant told us that we could bring her back if she was not accepted.
That was over two years ago .. I wonder if the offer to take her back still stands! Just kidding!
Dusty has improved in leaps and bounds since we got her but she still does not like being picked up.
She is the whinger of the flock. Even if you ask Dusty how her day is going first thing in the morning, she will proceed to tell you just what a shocker it is! It is never a good day in DustyVille.
Dusty is affectionately known as Dust Bin.
Dusty’s namesake is:
Dusty Springfield, an English pop singer and record producer, born 16th April 1939 and passing away 2nd March 1999. Also famous for my favourite song of all time ‘Son of a Preacher Man’.
Blondie is Cilla’s daughter from her second hatch on 19th February 2014.
Blondie is a Pekin.
Blondie is also a Broodzilla and the reason we have a ‘Beware of Broody’ sign on the coop! When Blondie is broody she screeches, she puffs up, she draws blood with her beak and chases us around the garden, trying to remove toes!
When Blondie is not broody, she is a sweetheart and is more than happy for you to pick her up and lavish her with attention.
Blondie is affectionately known as Princess and loves to pose for pictures.
Blondie’s namesake is:
Blondie [Deborah Harry], an American singer-songwriter and actress, born 1st July 1945.
LuLu joined the family in early 2014 because I wanted a Frizzle and she is the reason I now want more Frizzles!
LuLu is a Frizzle Pekin.
As we do not know LuLu’s hatch date, we decided it would be 15th December 2013.
LuLu is the clown of the flock and you can’t help but love her. She is so cute! Nothing phases this little gal.
Hubby picked LuLu out of a bin full of identical looking Frizzles and she is his favourite.
He overhead me one day on the phone saying “I have six chickens”; he promptly corrected me “You have five chickens”. When I am talking to Hubby about the gals, LuLu is more often than not referred to as “your chicken”.
LuLu does not do broody and is affectionately known as LuLu-Luigi or Louie. She has a knack for playing dead and looking like a headless pile of feathers [pictured with Tina, RIP my sweet little girl]
LuLu’s namesake is:
Lulu [Kennedy-Cairns], a Scottish singer, actress and television personality, born 3rd November 1948.
KiKi is Cilla’s daughter from her third hatch on 16th March 2015. [Sadly we lost KiKi on 22/04/2016]
KiKi is a Silkie mix/Frizzle.
While officially number 5 of 6 in the pecking order, KiKi is not happy with this lot and has decided to make a move. However, rather than pick on LuLu who is directly above her, KiKi has decided to go one better and pick on number 3, Blondie.
KiKi most definitely does do broody; at the tender age of 8 months she has already been broody twice.
While she proves hard to break, she is a good little broody in that she does not attack me or her flock mates but apparently the dust brush is fair game.
KiKi is affectionately known as Kicle.
KiKi before and after a dust bath .. yes, that is the same chicken!
KiKi’s namesake is:
KiKi Dee, an English singer, born 6th March 1947.
Crystal is Cilla’s other daughter from the third hatch on 16th March 2015 and therefore, KiKi’s sister.
Crystal is a Silkie mix.
Sadly for Crystal, she is the bottom of the pecking order but makes up for her low ranking by having the sweetest demeanour.
She is not a whinger, a bully or a princess and goes about her daily routine without much fuss. She does, however, sing the egg song longer and louder than any of her flock mates.
So far, Crystal appears to also not do broody and is affectionately known as Crissie.
Crystal’s namesake is:
Crystal Gayle, an American country music singer, born 9th January 1951.
The Whole Gang
My favourite butt photo:
Thank you for reading