Spinner Gal made some comments the other day that I thought merited addressing in their own post in case other people are having the same thoughts...
Firstly, about the colour of the chickens: Different varieties of chickens have different coloured skin. Light Sussex, which is the breed of chickens that we keep, were bred to have white skin because that's what consumers in London in the 1800s wanted. The colour of the skin has no bearing on on what the bird tastes like. All the flesh underneath is the same colour.
Back when we lived in London and shopped at Tesco, we used to buy the corn-fed chickens sometimes. You know what? We feed our chickens here corn, and they still have white skin. I think that the yellow skin on the corn-fed chickens is just because they are a different variety of chicken that has yellow skin.
So to get back to Spinner Gal's first comment, she wrote, "It is amazing that [the chickens] turn so many different colours." They haven't changed colour at all -- that's just the way they were born... Bridget has got loads of different varieties of chickens -- and the cockerels she gave me are all different sorts...
The one new thing that I did learn though, having never eaten a black-skinned chicken before -- is that the bones are black too!
The other thing Spinner Gal asked about was Big Boy -- graphic picture to follow, so if you are squeamish, don't look. Bridget (the genius) was up here the other day to drop off a mineral lick
for the ewes that I failed to take home (because my car was too full of chickens!) and I asked her to have a look at Big Boy. She said he definitely doesn't have scaly leg or bumble foot -- but then she turned him over and found this:
(Don't worry about the blue, that is just the colouring in the antibiotic spray...) Well, we had been handing Big Boy quite a bit recently in our attempts to cure his non-existent scaly leg, but somehow I never noticed this -- well, basically, I never turned him over... Bridget says that he most likely had some sort of growth or something on his breast and then it got irritated and perhaps burst and who knows what... So he is living in the barn at the moment and I am keeping it clean with Dettol and we are hoping he gets better. It does seem slightly better today than it did when we first spotted it on Saturday but it is a bit hard to tell really.
I am just amazed that he can live with a big hole in his chest like this! Really, if it were me, I would be dead... So the assumption now is that the reason he's been hobbling about is because he's generally unwell, and it's got nothing to do with his legs or feet... So thank you to everybody for your concern -- hopefully we have found the problem now and he will get better. He is eating well, so that's a start.