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IMG_1798Our other new chicken breed at Mudchute is rather chunkier than the tiny Dutch Bantam. In comparison to the dainty bantam, these birds look a bit like chicken weightlifters! These well-muscled birds are our new Indian Game, also know as the Cornish Game in America.

First records of the breed date back to the 1850s. It is believed that Indian Game birds trace their origins back to pit fighting with ancestors including Aseel, Malay, Old English Game and a breed similar to Sumatra Game. However, birds proved far more valuable for their large quantities breast meat rather than fighting ability and continue to be prized as meat birds.

Here in the UK, only two colours are accepted, the original “dark” variety like our birds, and the “Double Blue Laced” which was introduced in 1887. Dark birds like ours have a rich green glossy sheen or lustre to their black feathers, which you may spot in the right light. If you take a closer look, some of their other feathers show the beautiful patterning called lacing and this particularly visible in hens. For more about this unusual breed, visit the Indian Game Club.

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We’re excited to have a new Whitefaced Woodland ram at Mudchute. He joins us from Derby and can be easily spotted among the flock by his gorgeous spiraling set of horn. Both male and female sheep of the breed are horned, but the ram’s impressive horns definitely stand out. Like all our tupping rams, he’s also wearing a raddle, a chalk pad on a harness, which gives us an idea of which ewes he has serviced. This helps us get a better idea of which ewes are likely to be in lamb and if/when we might expect lambs. A warm welcome to the new boy and best of luck. We hope to have a rather busy spring!


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The handsome visiting boar.

The handsome visiting boar.

Our Tamworth girls have a handsome new visitor. The dark ginger boar is visiting the gilts at Mudchute and we hope their time together will be productive. (Bit of pig terminology: a gilt is a female pig who has yet to have her first litter, after that she is known as a sow. The boar seems to be getting on well with our gilt so far. They make a happy, chatty pair, greeting visitors enthusiastically (and rather noisily!). We hope to be welcoming some ginger piglets next Spring if things continue to go well. Gestation (pregnancy) in pigs lasts about 115 days (just over 3.5 months). In the meantime, it’s lovely to see the pair together. Can’t wait to see Tamworth piglets? You can take a trip down memory lane and look back at how tiny the two sows once were!

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