I had my first bantams when I was in my teens, and since moving here to Hellingly in 2008, I have kept a varying number of chickens since the four hybrids which got me back on the poultry merry-go-round. They were called Ida, Emily, Daisy, and Peggy after my grandmother’s lengthy name, and I stuck with the familial theme for a while after; this is the reason I have a duck called John.
I favour traditional breeds over hybrids, and have bred a number of my own birds both as replacements and to sell. I have a succession of broody hens through the summer so I don’t waste this valuable resource, even if it does mean I end up with quite a few cockerels (I currently have 6).
On my courses, we discuss all aspects of poultry-keeping, and as with the beekeeping, I try to mimic the birds’ natural needs as much as I can to ensure they are fit, strong, and lay a nutritious and health-giving egg in return. Chickens and ducks are a characterful and valuable addition to your garden, and nothing tops a fresh egg from your very own hens.
Please see the Courses tab for more details of the Introduction to Chicken-keeping course.