We keep hens.
That is to say, when my husband moved down to Somerset from London he made the typical Escape To The Country statement “I-want-to-keep-chickens-and-grow-a-vegetable-patch”.
As a born and bred Somerset lass, the novelty (if there ever was one) of such things has long since waned. Don’t get me wrong, we loved picking and eating our own home-grown veg, after all, nothing really beats a freshly picked carrot eaten straight from the (pesticide free) soil. As children we even used to set up a stall on the front lawn to sell the surplus to our neighbours down the road.
It’s the laborious journey to this bountiful harvest that I don’t miss, mainly the never-ending removal of waist-high weeds that myself and my three siblings seemed to be constantly battling with. The stinging nettles and thistles fought us every step of the way, not to mention the dreaded slug of which I have almost a phobia (“Limaxaphobia”, apparently). I had visions of my husband doing the ‘nice’ bits ie. planting and picking, and I would probably be the one left with all the rubbish jobs as he works long hours.
So no vegetable patch.
But what about chickens?
Long story short, I relented and surprised hubby with a build-your-own chicken coop for his birthday a couple of years ago. He’s a blokey type of bloke and enjoyed building the coop and run so much that I nearly didn’t bother with the hens, but Christmas was only three weeks later so present shopping was easy that year.
We started with six hens, two of which quickly became broody and prompted the donation of some fertilized eggs from a farmer friend for them to sit on. Twenty-one days later we had three black chicks which turned out to be two hens and a cockerel.
And what a handsome beast he is! We gave him the unimaginative but obvious name “Cock” and he definitely rules the roost among his harem of girls.
I now thoroughly adore all nine birds and could watch them pecking their way round the garden all day long.
Watching them peck for worms and other tasty titbits reminded me that I had some fabric remnants from a roman blind in my son’s bedroom called “Rooster” by Clarke & Clarke – here’s what I made with it: –
Photos of the hens will be sure to ‘wing’ their way onto these pages before very long and will no doubt inspire some more hen creativity in one form or other.
For those who would like to make a similar tea cosy, a tutorial is on it’s way shortly so “follow” the blog to make sure sure you don’t miss out!