Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Sassos

Sasso is a french breed, apparently much prized for the quality and flavour of the meat.   


You may remember that last year we decided to try raising our own chickens for the table.  We started by buying in 6 week old chicks, the plan being to give them a good free range life until they got the chop at about 18 or so weeks.   We ended up with Ross Cobbs, which are fast growing birds, designed to be given the chop at about 10 weeks.     It was an interesting experience, but it wasn't really the "Good Life" we had envisaged.  The birds grew very quickly, and weren't really interested in rooking around and exploring.  By the time we started to dispatch them (at 18 weeks) they were enormous.   So, we decided we'd try again, but we'd go for a traditional breed and raise the birds naturally.  The plan was to get a trio of Dorkings,   let them breed, then we'd keep the girls and eat the boys.


Good plan, but a long term one. We wouldn't be eating chicken again until the offspring of the birds reached 26 weeks, so it would be at least 6 months from when we got them, probably longer as it was late in the year and fertility was likely to be low.


We went ahead and got the Dorkings,  and decided to get some day old Sasso chicks to raise for the table in the meantime.  There is a lovely lady who specialises in Sassos (on a large scale) , and delivers to this area.   I tried her several times, but her hens had all gone broody and consequently she had no chicks, nor any fertile eggs.  Her website is here http://www.smart-chicks.co.uk/  and she has some great info on the breed.


On Ebay, I found a chap selling Sasso eggs, so I bought some (and some Ixworth eggs as well,  thought we'd try those for the table too), and we hatched our own.  We ended up with 2 Ixworth chicks and 3 Sassos.  They were all brought up together, but were completely different in personality.  The Ixworths were thugs - all the way back to when they hatched - and the Sassos were the softest, friendliest chickens I'd ever encountered. One of the Sassos , Roo, spent a lot of time on my shoulder.


When we moved the 5 of them to the allotment,  they continued as before.  The 2 Ixys turned out to be boys, and continued to be thugs;   the Sassos turned out to be 2 girls and a boy,  and continued to eat out of our hands, were happy to be picked up etc.  Roo, the boy, turned into an absolutely stunning cockerel,  and the girls turned into really pretty little hens.     I emailed the egg seller to tell comment how friendly they were, and he wrote back and said his are all like that too.

So, because they were such lovely birds, we decided we'd breed from Roo and his girls.   The Ixys, who by this time kept trying to fight with Roo, met their original planned fate.

There is more than one strain of Sasso, and the ones we have aren't quite the same (but they are similar) to the ones on the Smart Chicks website. 



It's my turn to do the Allotment birds tomorrow, so I'll take my camera and see if I can get some pics.



















1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the information. I had never seen the breed before. They sound like they have the temperament of Silkie chickens. They are pretty too.

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