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.
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.
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).
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.
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!