Things I learned at Waltham Place

1. Chickens lay eggs when it’s sunny. They’re like solar panels. They only work with sunshine. In the winter, they don’t lay because there is no sun. They are designed to have a break for a few months of the year. Battery farmed chickens are kept indoors with the lights on so that they will lay all year round. That is why they die sooner. They are not being given a break while it is winter. That’s also why the yolks in battery farmed eggs are all pale and yellowy, cause the chickens are quite weak and their diet isn’t very natural. The farmers give them commercially produced feed so their eggs are not as good quality.

2. During the time when it is sunny, chickens lay eggs all the time, regardless of the presence of a male to fertilise. That is the difference between just eggs and potential baby chickens. When there’s a potential baby chicken in an egg, after being laid, the chicken has to ‘go broody’ and sit on it for 24 days, turning it every day. If the chicken lays the egg but then potters off outside and leaves the egg, it will not become a chicken. At Waltham Place, these are the eggs they then take for cooking with. This eases any guilt I may have felt about eating scrambled baby chickens on toast for breakfast.

3. Buttermilk is not the liquid that gets squeezed out of the butter once you have finished churning it. As a butter-maker myself, I had it on good authority that this was buttermilk and so used it in recipes which asked me for it. Who looks stupid now, hey?

4. My Living Responsibly project looks so feeble in comparison to the self-sufficiency at Waltham Place. The air miles on the food I usually buy are ridiculous! I shall make an effort, at least a couple of times after April when the farm shop opens, to go over there and buy things. That way I know the food miles are minuscule, compared with my fruit and vegetables flown in from different continents. I will also make an effort to look on the packets and buy as locally as possible.

5. I want a chicken in my garden.

6. A cow would be good too, for the milk. Milk from the shop will feel like a poor compromise now.

7. Cows from different regions have different personalities! It’s true. The Jersey cows which are new to Waltham Place are apparently a lot more ‘protective’ of their young than the local ones.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Alex Jones on March 23, 2013 at 19:00

    I learned a few things via your blog post today, yay!. Awesome surge into sustainability, you are a great example to others.

    Reply

  2. […] P.S. Part 1 can be found here. […]

    Reply

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