Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Dr Chicken with The Rookies in Country Smallholding

I went over to Helpless Homestead in Machynlleth in July to help them dispatch some of their poultry.
They had a batch of Ross Cobbs but we did a couple of Aylesbury drakes.

They write as The Rookies in Country Smallholding and the article was published in the October issue:

Poultry Dispatch Course Feedback

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."
- Tazmin O

Next one is at Cotswold Chickens on 6th October!

Poultry Dispatch Course in Wales

I ran a Dispatch, Pluck and Gut course this weekend in Aberystwyth and had a great time.
We ended up with 5 people on the course and then as families arrived later on we had 11 for the BBQ.

The course went well, everyone seemed to enjoy it and feedback has been really good.
We dispatched in Angela's new goat shed and hung the chickens from beams:

Then went into the mock Medieval Tavern for gutting.

We spatchcocked and BBQ'd the chickens and ate them out on the decking

Then when I got home I roasted mine...
...was the best roast chicken ever!!

Really looking forward to the next course on 6th October at Cotswold Chickens now!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Mabel the Pekin Bantam

So Mabel comes pretty much everywhere with me; Uni, home, work, shows and even on random days out!

So thought she deserved a photo post:

Even a Stobart lorry...

Sherlock mini lop rabbit

Thought I'd better post some pictures of Sherlock as I haven't done for a while! 
He loves reading ;)

And chillin' in the garden 
...or the house

Pretty much anywhere... 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Dispatch Course in Wales

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 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Today, I graduated from Aberystwyth University with a BSc Hons 2(II) in Animal Science! :D

Had the most amazing week ever.
Spent it with my best friends in 30 degree sunshine, on the beach and in the sea!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Have just for back from a week in Venice with the bro's!

Had a really good time - Venice isn't that big so we saw most of it in the first day and repeated things but was just really nice to get away and spend some time with the bro's after finishing Uni!

BBC Gardeners' World Live 2013

I've been working on the PoultryTalk stand at BBC Gardeners' World Live and Good Food Show at the NEC this week - has been really good!
Pure breed eggs on display from The Rainbow Egg Company:

We spent HOURS setting the stand up only to come in the next morning to find the roof had leaked all over it so had to move it all in half an hour, but other than that we've had a great week.

I did 4 Chicken Keeping for Beginners talks on the stand everyday which were really well attended, as well as a few talks in the VIP area.

I took Mabel and Doris the Pekins with me and we had a table full of chicks for people to touch and see; I think we were the most photographed stand at the exhibition!

We also revealed #ChickenWall at the show - a 4 x 2 metre long display with 60 photos of pure breed poultry in the UK!
It was great to be able to show people the variation in size, breeds and the different uses for poultry!

We had a PetzPodz animal house on display to show people different types of housing available
...as well as a more traditional wooden ark (with Mabel + Doris on top) and an Omlet Eglu in the background!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Spent the day being a Smallholder!

I spent the day being a Smallholder near Aber helping a lady out who's just had her hip replaced.
I did a mini Dispatch, Pluck & Gut session and lesson for 2 people, to sort out a pen full of cockerels.

I dispatched them, showed them how to pluck and the others helped pluck. We then gutted them after leaving them to hang for a few hours.

I also made friends with goat kids, pigs and llamas!
She's struggling keeping too many chickens and ducks so I rehomed 3 to a friend and am trying to sell a few of her ducks for her.
Was a good day :)

After, we went to see Danny and Lady (the horses) to drop off 3 chickens and while we were there I tried to sort out a Silkie with really bad lice and Scaley Leg Mite problem - we gave her a bath but she was really struggling so had to dispatch her too.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Handed in my Dissertation!

Have finally finished and handed in my dissertation!!

I tested 5 essential oils at 9 different concentrations to test their ability to kill Poultry Red Mite... and it worked! :)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Nasty dry farmers hands

'Cos I've been Lambing and working on the farm for 8 weeks my hands have gone really horrible.
When we were TB testing the other day they were so dry they looked Scaley!

I used a handful of udder cream to moisturise them! haha