A busy 2021 season is on the home run, last about 300 birds on site, so during September get in touch to make collection arrangments to avoid disappointment rather than standard saturday opening (We are also away some upcoming weekends)
Only Welshpoultry is the sole Welsh agent for these specific bloodlines from French, Dutch and Belgium hatcheries in addition to our own parent stock. They offer superior longevity, hardiness and consistancy in lay. See the "About us" page to find out more
Scroll through the images and descriptions of our birds below, as a grower from day old chicks we supply in a range of ages, all reared naturally and together to help socialisation and exposure to the environment. The hens are reared by hand in the same way you would keep them, giving confident, friendly animals with no anti-social behaviour. Please see the "poultry prices and availability page" when you are ready to make your purchase.
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Our Range of Breeds
Typically, we stock a range of 6 to 8 heavy laying breeds and about 4 to 6 rare / pure breeds. This is due to the availablity of confirmed disease free parent stock and sexed chicks where we buy from hatcheries. We also produce some limited Duck numbers. Details of potential stock is below , Please check the availability page which is generally upto date prior to enquiring about stock availability for the Saturday you choose to visit. If we dont respond to an email enquiry asking if a certain breed is avaliable , its because the information is already on the website. There are two lists below , the Commercial heavy layers are bred by ourselves or professional hatcheries of our choosing having tried several over the years. The pure breed list will show all of the birds we can have - but availability of these jumps about a lot. The Prices and availability page will give you the updates on current availability. We can't guarantee what purebreed stock we will have as it is influenced by lay, hatch, and sexing rates, although we can guarantee the quality, hardiness and egg production rates that will keep up with the commercial birds, becasue of you mix a poor laying hen with good layers, she will slow down their lay as fertility synchronises. This combined with the fact that Welshpoultry exists to prevent birds going into cages (one of our birds laying well for 5 years prevents at least 3 battery hens in cages if you use and sell your eggs to freinds and neighbours)
Commercial lay hybrids and utility strains (pullets and hatching eggs)
We maintain larger stocks of these heavier laying strains as they are easier to sex at hatch in have the most demand for egg production. We produce many here and buy in from hatcheries that have proven to us their stock is hardy, docile and with the long laying life that our customers want. You'll notice the absence of warrens, a traditional heavy layer that is in the same egg production category as these, whilst a cheap bird, we rarely find they can match the longevity of the heavy layers below, nobody wants to be running half their space as a retirement home every 2-3 years, so we favour birds that if kept properly, wormed each November will see 5-7 years of lay, as they are often pets and warrens are more a commerical 17 month lay then eggshell quality and numbers often, not always, but often plummit.
The Welshpoultry Blacktail (pullets and hatching eggs)
This hen is a very dependable heavy layer. You'll notice the Black on the tail and flight feathers from the sussex, and the black on the neck is often replaced with a Gold Lacing, we often sell out of these birds first. As a hybrid, easy to produce, however whilst you can produce the same appearance, you cant produce the same egg production, hardyness and temperament. The chicks are colour sexed at hatch
The Silver sussex (pullets and hatching eggs)
The Silver sussex is a negative image of the Light Sussex, with the bonus of the black oily feather of the Rhondda Rock, always a striking addition to any flock. Availability is limited on this hybrid as we produce it on site using our small flock of commercial pures. It can go out as fertile eggs where the chicks are colour sexed at hatch
The Sussex Pont (pullets and hatching eggs)
The commercial strain of sussex isn't as nicely marked as its purebreed origins, but retains the black feathers on the neck, flight feathers and tail feathers. Fast growing and often a family fave laying salmon coloured eggs. Very docile and freindly, loves a dust bath to clean those white feathers
The Barred rock (pullets only)
The barred rock has proven to be our best layer alongside white leghorns and rhondda rocks in terms of Winter reliability , matching the others in terms of numbers, not surprising as we have some of the very few and excellect barred plynouth rock parent stock in the UK. They seem to go longer before their first moult and dont flinch during the first Winter, sometimes second and third if wormed, thereaftar reliably returning to lay in each early Spring.
The Rhondda Blue (pullets and hatching eggs)
A lovely looking lilac to light grey shade of feather, very docile and freindly, lays a standard tan coloured egg. The chicks in this colour are very cute. Adult birds happy to sit on your lap for ages. If these birds were anymore laid back, they'd fall over, gentle giants. We use feather sexing to sex these, so often advise taking them post 6 weeks of age when any remaining boys will show as its the hardest type of sexing.
Utility White Leghorn (pullets and hatching egg)
A lovely bird when it behaves iteslf, more flighty than the others but the strongest layer of white eggs. Independent and strong minded to go where she wants to go but the glamor of the red floppy comb and big fan tailfeathers give you the permission to be like that. These birds are clever, if theres a weakness she'll find it and exploit it. Our favourite, but cant be trusted
The Rhondda Rock
The rock is our most solid bird in terms of stable egg production, a long term layer of 5-7 years, it copes well on the mountain with its oily outer feather which we breed into them, you can see the green and purple oily sheens. The danger here is that there are too many cowboys reproducing "home grown" lookalikes without understanding the hardiness and fertility that's required. Also be aware that whilst they are commonly called Blackrock hens, this is an owned name by our freinds at Muirfield hatchery who , like us, work hard to ensure a strong animal is produced. Development and vigour of the parent stock takes decades and careful and technical planning to renew those vital animals.
High Quality and hardy PURE BREEDS (pullets and fertile eggs)
THE PURE BREEDS - This is where things get complicated , and so many people get ripped off by peoploe selling inbred pures for massive profit margins. We take pure breed production as seriously as hybrid production, hence the limited range of breeds. Rare breeds are tricky to source strong parent stock - becasue they're rare ! So you'll often see similar looking birds in different pens with us, thses are different bloodlines as we plan and test birds 3 years in advance of using for sales. Its not all altruistic, these bloodlines also support the creation of the hybrids, so we have to get it right. In addition to this diseases can lay dormant in birds and travel via the fertile eggs, something we can't risk asa disease free farm, so the 3 years gives us a wide margin or error and protection.
Rhode Island Red (pullets and fertile eggs)
Our Rhodies are a great laying old strain , most rhodies being sold are the modern very dark colour ornamental strain , real ones are a proper red colour , very productive and calm. We sell more hatching eggs from these than any other breed.
Copper Blue and Copper Black Marans (pullets and fertile eggs)
Our marns are another unusual heavy laying strain for a pure breed, in keeping with our philosophy of getting hens out of cages by making sure they have a strong laying life to displace eggs from supermarket shelves. Laying a darker egg (typically a grade 4-6 on the Maran Association of France chart) They are the only bird I allow to have hairy legs on the farm. We produce both copper blue and copper black hens, if you buy fertile eggs you will get a hatch of both.
Cream Crested Legbars (pullets and fertile eggs)
Our Cream Crested Legbars tend to stop laying in November and come back in january, we see a good 4th / 5th year of lay before retirement. We run 3 breeding groups at any one time to ensure future bloodlines as its getting harder to obtain good stock that hasnt been inbred to achieve perfection resulting in bad feet/crooked toes. They lay a china blue egg, although this can change with age , so if you buy hatching eggs and the eggs are not the perfect shade, dont worry, what they hatch will be producing the original colour. As one of the most complicated colours in the birds we do, we ensure peachey chest, coffee body and white neck whilst we dont compromise on hardiness or egg production. Bear in mind though these are a blend of 5 birds including the brown leghorn , so Leghorn aloof attitude applies ! I'd call them the Shirley Bassey of the Leghorn related world.
Buff Orpingtons (pullets and fertile eggs)
This is a bird that we come back to now and again, as we use the buff colour from the male line in winter for creating that lovely buff shade into heavy layers , however the pure breed in itself is not to the same laying standards as any of the other birds we do, we use them for their colour which we put into heavy layers for interest, they are just really cool and fluffy , and to be fair better layers of other peoples buffies.
Welsh Harlequin ducks (ducks and fertile eggs)
Our Welsh Harlequins are correctly marked and sexed from 4 weeks of age. A medium sized duck laying lots of very nice duck eggs. Biege hood and chocolate flash. A funny duck that will venture out and likes its routines.
Why buy your birds from us ?
Firstly, from a combination of the best stock available and the way we rear them by hand outdoors (weather permitting) you cant go wrong. it takes more effort and time and money, but we dont lose any birds and can offer a no quibble 28 day guarantee as problems are so rare, its nothing to organise the odd replacement if you have bad luck
Secondly, Welshpoultry only exists from the desire to get people keeping garden flocks and reduce the demand for eggs from caged hens. Sadly this cruel practice seems to be endless. Ironically we do not advocate battery hen rescue, in our opinion its only the organisations that set themselves up as grant recieving charities that benefit and a proportion of chickens that cope with the stress and fully recover. Our view is simple, one of our birds, laying well for 4 years or more will prevent 3 birds going into a cage and so prevent suffering, you may not think you are buying caged hen eggs, but in reality its estimated that a large proportion of free range eggs are in fact from Spanish and Russian caged systems, plus the labelling such as "Farm fresh" and a picture of a cockeral on a farm gate on the box, distracting from the tiny writing about eggs from caged hens is further intent to trick you. Even some free range systems aren't what they seem; DEFRA estimated that only 14% of free range birds go outside due to feed rationing and external engineering to deter ranging. However, as an owner, you can supply the highest welfare eggs possible and make enough money to pay for the hobby with some to spare at £1.50 per box of 6. We fully respect the noble cause of trying to give an end of commercial life hen a chance of a fresh start, but we have witnessed the problems that come with this process.
1. Release of birds and diseases such as mycoplasma into wider populations. Every month we have customers that lost half their ex batts and now want to buy from us to top up - sadly we have to refuse to sell to them until their remaining birds die out and they sterilise and move their coop.
2. The lack of proper rehabilitation , placing the birds in greater stress and many dont make it
3. The sudden appearance of "young laying hens, £8" available everywhere on facebook only 4 weeks after a collection of 7,000 20 month old free range birds in decent feather for £1.50 each. There are people who buy 200, bring them on and then con people, the charities undertake no follow up on the fate of the birds they pass on.
4. Factory farms justifying there practice by refering to how the chickens "retire" to new homes.
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE, what we do doesn't raise a minimum wage, but pays for fencing, and land management of the wider farm. Its no gold mine, but we can all do our bit to get chickens back in the gardens and help reduce demand for hens living in cages.
BEWARE OF COWBOY BREEDERS
During the covid lockdown, the demand for garden poultry grew astronomically , no eggs, no garden centres, money available - a perfect storm.
The result was a high demand followed by jokers, farmers sons, hobby breeders suddenly becoming experts in genetics and claiming to produce heavy laying hybrids. In reality anyone can produce a bird that in appearance looks like any of our commercial rate layers, however the similarity stops there. Our own long laying life hybrids have quite an ancestry. This is why we have to combine our own blood lines and buy in from professional hatcheries we have proven to produce birds that have similar traits from being in egg production ourselves for many years before becong a poultry grower and seller.
THE GOLDEN RULE .....NEVER rush into a purchase, birds are being bred all the time, get your setup ready first.
Dont read too many book and articles, get the common sense basics right then talk to people like us and freinds with hens.
Buy lively but sociable hens , but not nutters that arent used to humans, you want bright eyes, clean bums and a bit of spirit.
Dont buy fully mature hens unless from an actual grower like us, too many old hens post moult are being sold as early lay hens, leaving the owner with hens to feed and few eggs.
There are some good resources on facebook, we find that the books are filling pages with old wives tales not really suited to modern hen strains much of the time. We recommend www.facebook.com/chickenkeepinguk and no bull poultry for general queries
We produce our own no nonsense "Welshpoulty guide to chicken keeping" covering everything from feed to dealing with common ailments" being released in 2021 and some youtube videos that run alongside the guide will also be available.