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?

Keeping Chickens at Home - Link Page

Keeping Chickens at Home - Link Page

  • Build Your Own Chicken House - Easy To Follow Plans

  • Get The Latest DEFRA Regulations On Keeping Chickens In The UK and Asian Bird Flu updates

  • Ascott Smallholder Supplies and Equipment.

  • Forsham Cottage Arks - High Quality Poultry & Waterfowl Housing.

  • PoultryOne's Guide to Raising Chickens - Free chicken articles.

  • Brilliant and very funny 'chicken' cartoons from Doug Savage - Check them out here.

  • Look here for your local agricultural merchants in the UK.

  • Poultry Page - Shows every breed of chicken imaginable. Well worth a look.

  • Find your nearest authorised UK Black Rock agent.

  • CIWF campaign for the improvement of intensively farmed animals.

  • Keeping Chickens at Home

    Keeping Chickens at Home - Pigs might swim

    Keeping Chickens at Home - Pigs Might Swim

    Pinky & Perky Take To The Water. Three-month-old piglet twins Pinky and Perky love to do a few lengths in owners Marjorie and Craig Walsh's pool at Lucies Farm in Collets Green near Worcester. The couple decided to let the pigs take a dip to keep fit and now Craig believes that the quirky rearing method is the best way to keep the herd lean and mean.He says: "The whole point is to keep them as healthy and as fit as possible and they do seem to get very bored when they haven't got something to do. We basically had to launch the first pig into the pool off the back of a mini trailer. There were six people on stand by to pull it out in case it sank and Marjorie was at the bottom of the pool in scuba gear as a last resort. The pig went straight to the bottom - and then suddenly popped up again. After that we couldn't stop it swimming and it was almost impossible to get it back out.”

    Keeping Chickens at Home