A novice's guide to producing his own food


Chooks away! The chickens have landed!


My big new venture for 2013 has begun. The chickens have arrived!

To be precise, the eight little ladies arrived on Sunday, February 3. Thanks to a major amount of hefting from Sue’s friend Tony, plus his 10-foot trailer (which he converted from a caravan base), we were able to move the chickens, their 4ft x 4ft coop and a 8ft x 4ft run from Broughty Ferry to my garden in just over an hour.

The cost was £200. All the equipment and the birds were only a year old, and the cost of the coop alone was £200, so it seems a pretty good deal.

As I said, there are eight birds — two each from four breeds. They are: snowflake (which I can’t find any info on), copper blacks, rangers and black tails. My understanding (so far) is that I should get between 200 to 250 eggs a year from each hen. That’s a potential total of 2000 eggs, or, to put it another way, 5.47954 eggs a day (let’s call it six). Quite a lot. I might try selling a dozen or so a week which should cover the cost of food, but my primary aim is to feed to family and possibly supplement the dog’s food too.

In a neat sort of cyclic thing, I should be able to use the chicken’s muck as manure for the allotment, and any excess greens etc that I grow can go back to feed the birds. Perfect.

The next step is to get their home location sorted as soon as. At the mo, they’re just stuck in corner of the garden, but the plan is get them permanently situated near the greenhouse. The hens should get enough light there, but the location also means the run won’t be too obtrusive.

That’ll be the task for this weekend (weather permitting).