So, this is me.
A recent graduate Animal Scientist at on the long road to becoming a vet!
Bit too obsessed with chickens.
Just my little place to ramble about whats occurin'...
If you're interested enough to read it ... please comment! :)
This weekend at The Edible Garden Show has been pretty awesome.
The show moved from Stoneleigh Park to Alexandra Palace this year so I went down to London on Thursday night to help set up our stand.
As usual we were running late so most of it was done on Friday morning but it all came together in the end!
HRH Prince Charles and Camilla visited the show on Friday morning and came over to the PoultryTalk stand to meet my Pekin Bantam chicks!
Charles was asking Jamie all about what we do, how long the chicks take to hatch and about the incubation process while Camilla held a chick and spoke to the school children on the stand.
She held a chick which she named with the school children; they decided on Rosie!
The rest of the weekend seemed to fly by!
We went out for dinner and spent most of the show networking and making new chicken friends!
I did a talk in The Experts Theatre on Sunday afternoon with Naomi from BHWT which went ok - I'd forgotten about it until half an hour before we did it so it was all quite rushed but a Q&A session at the end helped to fill time!
Just had 2 messages of feedback from the Poultry Dispatch Course this weekend and am really pleased!
"Just want to say a huge thank you to Lewis for a very informative Dispatch, Pluck and Gut Course which my husband Dave attended yesterday - he thoroughly enjoyed it and learned so much - came home and was gutting chickens like a pro! Excellent course and highly recommended. Will be fantastic to be able to eat "home-grown" chickens from now on, no more supermarket rubbish
A must-do course for anyone keeping chickens for eggs too, gives you peace of mind and confidence to know what you are doing when dealing with ill hens. THANK YOU!"- Lorraine L
"Hi just wanted to let you all know about the dispatch, pluck and gut course I have just been on, was not looking forward to this course,but felt I needed to do as I keep chickens. I arrived on the day I did not know anyone that was there but was made to feel really welcome. The course was brilliant, I learnt how to dispatch correctly without causing the chicken any discomfort, different ways to pluck. Lewis who runs the course was great at explaining and answering all questions that were asked, he made everyone feel at ease. I never thought I would be able to do anything like this but I came home confident and prepared a bird on my own. I would definitely recommend this course to anyone. Lewis if you read this many thanks not just for the course, but also for the new friends I have made."
I spent the afternoon at writers from Country Smallholding magazine, Helpless Homestead near Machynlleth, showing them how to Dispatch & Dress Aylesbury ducks and then they'll do their Ross Cobb meat birds.
They have a great set up in the little strip of land they have - a flock of laying hens, a pen of growing meat birds, a couple of tamworth pigs for meat and a big polytunnel for growing all their fruit and veg!
Cleverly, as they're in a valley, they have diverted a stream that runs through their land to run into a pond for the ducks and I think the plan is to do the same for drinking water for the other animals!
First we dispatched and plucked then dispatched and skinned the next duck, which was a lot quicker + easier with the ducks two layers of waterproof feathers!
Adam skinning an Aylesbury Drake:
They have a batch of 5 week old Ross Cobbs which will be ready for the table in a few weeks time - they grow so fast and were struggling with the heat! I suggested they try Ixworths next time, the ideal Smallholder dual purpose bird; cockerels are great meat birds, growing fast and putting on a lot of muscle and the hens can be reared as laying birds.
Was a bit too hot in 30 degree sunshine but was great weather and scenery for it!
Next on to the gutting, we gutted the ducks ready for a roast but with the skinned bird it can be just as easy to joint it so you have the meat from legs, breasts which is a lot quicker and less mess if you're doing a large batch of birds! You can use the rest of the carcass for stock or give it to the dog!
Gutting one of the plucked ducks:
Cutting the wings and legs off a plucked and drawn meat bird
One Aylesbury duck, ready for roasting!
Looking forward to going back to Wales in August for my next Dispatch & Dress course near Aberystwyth - www.DrChickenCourses.co.uk