keeping chickens in your garden
I can’t remember when I first read about keeping chickens in your garden, but I can remember falling in love with the the Eglu chicken house as soon as I saw it.
For Mother’s Day last year I got my wish: an Eglu, and four hens from the lovely Jude at Cotswold Chickens.
meet Martha, Pamela, Hermione and Nancy
We started out with four chickens living in the garden, but unfortunately Martha (named after the ultimate domestic goddess Martha Stewart) developed a taste for feathers. After a few months, and every vile smelling anti-pecking spray on the market, we decided to rehome Nancy and Hermione and they now live with my friend Katie and her chicks in the next village.
The lovely thing about hens is their personalities, and their little routines. Pamela and Martha like to start the day with some left-over breakfast cereal, followed by a bit of scratching around. Then they lay eggs, and yell about that for a while. Then it’s time for a dustbath in the bark surrounding the climbing frame.
Life with only two chickens seemed a bit lacking, so a few months ago we introduced Lavender to the family. She lays blue eggs! Clever chick.
Keeping them is amazingly easy – the Eglu comes to pieces so you can hose it down (meaning no red mite, the scourge of chicken owners) and all you have to do is plonk in something comfy for the nest box (we use Aubiose Hemp Bedding and a £9.95 bag has lasted a year!)
They eat Allen and Page organic layers pellets (they go through about a bag a month, which at £15 is still loads cheaper than organic eggs).
In the evening they get a scoop of corn which is the perfect way of luring them out of the flowerbeds and back into the Eglu run – it’s not as easy as it looks, as my friend who chickensat last year will testify.
Hopefully I’ll have persuaded a few more of you that keeping chickens in your garden is a good idea. They’re such lovely people and so entertaining, plus their eggs are the most delicious ever!