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Hens in the garden


by Pippa Greenwood

Until last weekend, we had two hens. And while they're beautiful and friendly, they're very elderly ladies and only lay an egg once in a blue moon.


Hen in the gardenUntil last weekend, we had two hens. And while they're beautiful and friendly, they're very elderly ladies and only lay an egg once in a blue moon. So last weekend we made a unanimous decision to buy more, and off we went in search of some happy hens.

Now, once again, we have plenty hens and plenty of eggs. The garden will soon benefit from larger quantities of well-rotted poultry manure and we should also see a decline in the numbers of slugs and snails.

I expected the kids to be happy - I've allowed each one to claim two hens as their own - but I was surprised at how pleased I was to see hens pecking around the garden again. It's an unusual looking collection; we have one Maran and one Black Rock (the two elderly originals), two gingery types, a Blue, a Speckledy, a Light Sussex, and a stunning and very friendly Magpie. There's been a little aggro as they've adjusted to their new home, and the Black Rock granny has not taken too kindly to the new, younger residents.

But on the whole the hens are very well behaved. The place we bought them from had obviously treated them well; they have little fear of us at all, a far cry from some of the neurotic and miserable critters we've housed before. Who needs a Nintendo Wii for the children when they've got a garden and some hens?



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Gardeners' World Web User 11/09/2008 at 21:05

It was delightful to read about Pippa's new additions to her old lady hens. I too keep hens, ex-battery ladies rescued via the BHWT and they are a delight to look after, very curious and follow me about like sheephens!! I too am getting more hens in late September, not just for the eggs but because I have the room for them to have a wander and a scratch and dig - gosh they love to scratch and dig!

Gardeners' World Web User 11/09/2008 at 21:49

I would love to have a couple of hens in my garden but am plagued by urban foxes (I live in the middle of a large town in Essex) is it just to be a dream or do you think there are ways and means to keep the hens alive and happy?

Gardeners' World Web User 12/09/2008 at 10:52

I'd love to keep some chickens but my family isn't so keen. I'll just have to be mildly envious of others who have them... and hope that when we move again/ I retire there'll be space for some then.

Gardeners' World Web User 12/09/2008 at 22:37

My daughter and son-in-law plan to buy a couple of laying hens. They are in an old farmhouse with plenty of space but have no experience of keeping poultry. What are the best birds to start with - the grandchildren want to do their bit too!

Gardeners' World Web User 13/09/2008 at 08:50

We have five Black Rock hens free ranging around our garden and they are not only a joy to watch but they are pets that produce too if you see what I mean. They're so friendly they'd come into the house if we let them. I have some photos of them here.

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