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User / Capt' Gorgeous / Sets / East Orchard Castle
Ben Salter / 15 items

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This building at East Orchard Castle is the Columbaria
or Dovecote.

Tags:   Vale of Glamorgan Dovecote holes pigeons doves East Orchard Castle St Athan stone buildings ruins Columbaria

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Barn interior at East Orchard Castle.

Tags:   Vale of Glamorgan East Orchard Castle St Athan stone buildings ruins barn

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Inside the Dovecote are hundreds of spaces for the Doves or Pigeons to nest. The pigeon provided an important variation to the mediaeval diet, particularly in winter and larger households would have had dovecotes, accompanied by a warren for rabbits and a pond for fish. The birds were not only a source of meat but were also used medicinally and the dung from the dovecote was considered one of the best fertilizers. The feathers and down from the pigeons, along with other fowl, were used for stuffing pillows and mattresses.

Tags:   Vale of Glamorgan Dovecote holes pigeons doves East Orchard Castle St Athan stone buildings ruins Columbaria

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Once pigeons were established in a pigeon house they required minimal upkeep. The birds foraged across the countryside in search of food needing supplementary grain only in the harshest weather. They were also great breeders producing a couple of chicks around six times a year with a typical life span of seven years. The pigeons used for meat were generally culled when around four weeks old when the flesh was tender and fat.

Tags:   Vale of Glamorgan Dovecote holes pigeons doves East Orchard Castle St Athan stone buildings ruins Columbaria

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The ruins of East Orchard Castle near St Athan.

Tags:   Vale of Glamorgan East Orchard Castle St Athan stone buildings ruins


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