Why we keep chickens

Posted by on Feb 11, 2014 in News | 0 comments

Why we keep chickens

Is there a greater pleasure in eating than the first boiled egg from chickens that you’ve fed and nurtured yourself? Eat it with soldiers you’ve made from bread you baked with your own hands and you’re close to a perfect breakfast, or lunch… or supper…

They say that life that nurtures life is a life enriched. It’s why we keep plants to cheer us up. It’s why we keep pets. It’s why Tŷ Paned got chickens.

When we made the decision to keep chickens it was based on food but it was more to do with feeling closer to the land. It wasn’t a political decision but I would never buy a battery egg knowing that the chickens have lived their entire life in a space no bigger (in fact a bit smaller) than an A4 piece of paper.

If I’m honest, my wife was a bit apprehensive about how she would bond with “such stupid birds” but within hours of moving into their new home “the girls” were making quite an impression. Harriet, Lottie and Lucie-May have made their home in our garden and in our hearts. In return for a roof over their heads and a little food, they provide us with three eggs a day and more than a little love.

The journey started last September with a trip to River Cottage to get our chickens. We got an Exchequer Leghorn (Lottie), an Amber Rock (Harriet) and a Black Rock (Lucie-May). We had been promised help to build a run for Christmas by my father in law (he’s a bit handy with a saw and drill), and, once finished (July), they settled in very quickly. Well, two of them did anyway. Within a couple of weeks we were getting two eggs a day but it took a long time for little Lottie to decide she was comfortable enough to start paying her way.

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They say a wise man learns from other people’s mistakes, I guess that means I’m not that wise. There have been a few things I may have done differently if I was starting again. We ended up with an egg eater. I hadn’t anticipated one would want to lay her eggs ON TOP of the nest box I had kindly built (out of a piece of art by my brother in law, but that’s another story!) and so they kept rolling off and smashing on the floor. Once curiosity of this smashed object took hold and they all discovered how tasty this goodness was I had a hard time stopping them. Two new shelves later and I now get all the eggs!

They all have their little characters and that’s part of the appeal. It’s entertaining to see them chasing each other round and having mud baths as if they’re having a spa day.

When we first got them we wanted delicious eggs, which we get daily. What we didn’t bargain for were three more members of the Tŷ Paned Gang.

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