I first wrote about keeping chickens in the garden three years ago, when I became the proud owner of Hermione, Pamela, Nancy, and Martha.
Since then I’ve had a constant stream of questions about keeping chickens, from which chicken house I’d recommend to which food to buy and whether or not a dog will eat the chickens for breakfast.
I’m currently chickenless which is a TERRIBLE state of affairs.
I refuse to eat eggs unless I know where they’ve come from (and they taste horrible from shops, anyway) and I miss having my garden covered in poo and all my plants being eaten. Er, I mean I miss their happy pecky little faces and listening to them muttering away in the henhouse at night.
So here, in typically Tales from the Village fashion, are my vague and slightly disorganised tips for keeping chickens in the garden:
First of all, if you have children you can use them to tame your chickens.
This will come in handy when the inevitable happens. It doesn’t matter how well you chickenproof your garden (for never listen to the people who tell you that you’re foxproofing – it works both ways)
There was a period when we were living back in Buckingham where we had a “Have you seen this chicken?” sign up almost constantly in the corner shop. The grass was clearly greener on the other side of the fence/chickenproof netting/gate/chicken run (she was the Houdini of chickens).
And my other tip: hide your wine.
Oh and don’t forget to hide your chips, too.
This post brought to you by a) procrastination, and b) missing my chicks. Maybe it’s time to get some more?
Other things I’ve been doing today ~
I’m not the only person who wanders barefoot around the garden in pyjamas, pulling out weeds and looking at plants at 6.30am. I’ve heard other gardeners confess to it, too.
Chickens – only two left, because Martha has moved to her new house with my friend. Oh help.
I’m going to make elderflower cordial – recipe later this week. And the recipe I promised for rhubarb and ginger jam, too. Yes, I am distracting myself.
The roses are on the way. Another couple of weeks, I think.
Love lies bleeding, wetly.
I’ve waited three years for these to flower: I moved them from the long border and they were not happy. But gardening teaches patience, and they were worth the wait.
It’s still raining, six hours after it started at 4am. I’m sitting here watching the grass turn green and I’d swear I can hear weed seedlings cackling with glee.
Tales from the Village – soon to be coming from a city, in a different country. Time for a change of name, or keep it the same? What do you think? Over at the Tales from the Village Facebook page I’m asking for suggestions.
Gardening and the Easter holiday – one goes with the other, doesn’t it? I am lucky that this year we’ve got such a long break and all six of us are off together, pootling about at home, decorating the house and sorting out the garden. Well, K is painting, I’m gardening, and the children are running in and out of the sprinkler – it’s so hot for April.
So this is what I’ve been up to. You’ll either read it and want to throw things at me for being so efficient, or you’ll be nodding smugly.
I’ve oiled the table and chairs, and put the parasols out. And I’ve eaten breakfast, lunch and dinner there for the last couple of days. This spring is beautiful.
Yesterday I cut the grass (that was a long job, because I had (ahem) forgotten to cut it since last autumn). And I strimmed the strimmy bits, whilst the chickens said ‘BUCKbuckbuckbuckBUCKBUCKBuckAWK! Help! End of the world!’ in horror. And then I did all the stuff you see in the picture above.
And I cleared off the little patio (covered in Buddlejia cuttings from ages ago) and found two chairs and made it into a nice little place for sitting down, which is what it was meant to be, rather than a nice little place for piling up assorted rubbish and wheelbarrows, which is what tends to happen in my garden.
The clematis is coming out – another week and the trellis will be covered in flowers.
The Japanese Quince has more flowers this year than I’ve ever seen. It’ll be interesting to see if we get much fruit from it. I used them to make jam and jelly last year because they have gorgeous perfume, like true quinces, and tons of pectin (which makes your jam set well).
I’ve been treasuring every sunny moment in the garden this holiday. What are your plans?
But it’s not coming very fast. It’s still cold in the mornings, with a touch of frost lurking, so it’s too early to plant anything in the garden. And right now the garden looks like a disaster – lots of bare earth, with just the stumps of perennials poking through. At this time of year I remember why I keep meaning to plant shrubs instead of just concentrating on the cottage garden look.
Never mind. I thought I’d cheer myself up with a blog about the lovely things that will be growing soon.
And I might take a trip to the garden centre for a few more perennials (you can never have too many) and sow some sweet peas and nasturtium seeds around.
Meanwhile I’m looking forward to seeing a garden full of tulips – after last year when the chickens ate all 150 shoots, they haven’t been allowed anywhere near them.