Author Archives: bavindurtod

New Arrivals At Melbecks Cottages

At Melbecks Holiday Cottages, Bassenthwaite we like to provide eggs to our holiday guests from our own free-ranging hens. Up until now, we have had two varieties of hens, White Star Leghorns and Warrens. The White Star Leghorns are prolific layers of large white eggs. However, they tend to be a little bit flighty compared to the Warrens.

White Star Leghorns At Melbecks

White Star Leghorns At Melbecks

The Warrens, on the other hand, are a friendly, tame chicken that happily eats from your hand and lay a small brown egg. Unfortunately, a couple of the Warrens have gone off lay and so we looked around for some replacement chickens. That’s when we found the TuftiBEL ® chicken at a nearby farm.

A Warren Chicken At Melbecks Holiday Cottages

A Warren Chicken At Melbecks Holiday Cottages

The TuftiBEL is a hybrid chicken bred by the friendly people at Poultry Matters. The name is derived from the tufty feathers on the crown and the blue/blue-green eggs that they lay – Blue Egg Layers (BEL).

TuftiBEL At Melbecks Cottages

TuftiBEL At Melbecks Cottages

To supplement our existing flock of chickens, we bought four point-of-lay TuftiBEL’s, which were about 16 weeks old and were expected to begin laying at 18 weeks.

Tuftibel At Our Holiday Cottages

Tuftibel At Our Holiday Cottages

The TuftiBEL chicken has a game-bird like appearance, with a speckled feather pattern. Each of the four chickens is quite differently marked – useless when identifying them. The chickens are quite timid and we will have to spend time with them as they settle in and become familiar with their surroundings. We eagerly await our first blue egg!

A TuftiBEL in the garden at Melbecks Holiday Cottages

A TuftiBEL in the garden at Melbecks Holiday Cottages

A Lighter Coloured TuftiBEL

A Lighter Coloured TuftiBEL

TuftiBEL's Exploring The Chicken Run At Melbecks Cottages

TuftiBEL’s Exploring The Chicken Run At Melbecks Cottages

Melbecks Ryelands

This week we received our first three Ryeland ewe lambs, locally called gimmer hoggs. Although we collected our starter flock from Ryeside Ryelands in Yorkshire, the bloodline is directly from the Broomwell Ryeland flock at Lockerbie. These lambs will not form the nucleus of our Melbecks Ryelands flock.

Ryelands are very docile and friendly sheep. They are one of the oldest sheep breeds in the country – you can find out more about Ryelands here. Ryelands are most notably known for their woolly fleeces and teddy bear looks.

Our Melbecks Ryelands - three ewe lambs collectively known as Destiny's Child

Three Ryeland ewe lambs collectively known as Destiny’s Child – Kelly, Beyonce & Michelle

The girls are collectively called ‘Destiny’s Child’ – Beyonce, Kelly and Michelle (with the beauty spot). Once they had settled in for about a week, they were moved to new pasture just a few miles away.

Beyonce - our best Ryeland lamb.

Beyonce – our best Ryeland lamb.

In the coming months, we will be acquiring more Ryeland sheep and also a ram.



Hound Trailing in the Lake District

You may not have noticed this activity in the Lake District. Despite its popularity, it is a low key event that is not widely advertised. However, this sport in which hounds race along a pre-planned route is great for spectators and dog lovers alike.

1519 14 Hound Trail - Plumpton

Hound Trailing has its origins in the 18th Century but it wasn’t until 1906 that the Hound Trailing Association was formed to govern the sport. Hound Trailing is essentially a race between hounds over moorland, fells and fields. The hounds follow a pre-laid trail of aniseed.

1439 52 Hound Trail - Plumpton

Often the hounds will have to cross a barbed wire fence where a wooden rail has been placed to prevent any injury. The first hound to cross the finish line is declared the winner. During the race the owners will be shouting and blowing whistles to encourage their hound.

1411 141 Lazonby Hound Trailing

Hound Trailing is a seasonal sport, extending from April 1st to October 31st. Throughout the season there are five main events:

  • May Day
  • Dog Produce
  • Bitch Produce
  • August Premier
  • October Meet

In addition Hound Trails take place about 12 times a week throughout Cumbria. As well as being a great spectator sport, Hound Trailing is an event where you can have a bet on your choice of winner. You may also see Hound Trailing at one of the many agricultural shows held throughout the summer in the Lake District. If you want to keep up with the latest Hound Trailing news, the Keswick Reminder reports of the latest results.