Monday, February 13, 2006

Keeping Chickens at Home - Spring in the air?

Keeping Chickens at Home - Spring in the air?

Keeping Chickens at Home - Spring Chicks

The Cock and the Drake are all "at it" with the ladies and with lighter mornings and evenings, it can only mean one thing - Spring is just starting to show it's face.

The hens are really laying again after a very quiet winter. In fact, they started about a month ago, but they are really popping them out now.

There are four things that I really love about keeping chickens;

[1] Putting your hand into the clean straw of a nesting box and taking hold of the smooth, warm, eggy pebble is best of all.

[2] That they taste - really properly taste of egg (It is amazing how shockingly little bought eggs seem to taste of anything ).

[3] Their quirky manner and prettiness against the grass of the orchard, which adds more colour at this time of year than any plant I can think off.

The manure is a useful addition to the compost heap, too. In short, they span the garden and kitchen as easily as carrots or the hazel trees (whose catkins are exceptionally vivid, and early this year, by the way).

The hens are not alone. All the birds are at it. The dawn chorus in February is not as loud or as air-fillingly broad as it is in April, but it is almost unbearably thrilling, starting as a thin reed of sound in the dark, which is gradually picked up by individual birds across the garden and fields until it weaves together into an hour of song.

You can probably download it for all I know and listen to it on your iPod as you hustle to work, with different titles for every day of the year, but it will no more be the real thing without the dark, cold air with that faintest promise of spring (yes, you can smell spring) and a slither of light on the horizon than a pack of supermarket factory eggs are the real thing.

The dusk chorus is spectacular at this time of year, too, building to a peak in about six weeks' time. It then dies away, although the dawn song continues well into summer. I often just stand in the garden at dusk at this time of year and let the sound wash around me. It is as proper a way to garden as anything else that I know.

Keeping Chickens at Home - Spring in the air?


wrinkled weasel said...

a really interesting blog.

I wonder where the present truoble will end?

NovaPoultry said...

Spring is definitely in the air. Hatching chicks is so exciting!