A novice's guide to producing his own food


Hot chicks having a bath!

My chickens have become an instant hit. They’re relatively easy to look after (so far) and are producing a crazy number of eggs. In a month, they’ve laid 158, and all but 30 have been scoffed by the family (including the dog). I realise it’s a total cliché, but the eggs they produce are genuinely tastier than anything I’ve gotten from a supermarket. The yolks are thick and full of flavour.

As the evenings are dark and still very cold, the chickens and I haven’t spent as much quality time together as I would like. There’s little time for them before work, and on my return home they’re tucked up in their coop, digesting the contents of their crop.

Last Saturday, though, I spent an entire day in the garden, tidying up the greenhouse, chitting potatoes and putting onion sets in modules. While I busied myself, I decided to let the chickens out of their run. I was a bit nervous about this as I wasn’t sure what our cats would make of them, but Sue had successfully let them out earlier in the week, so I gave it a go.

The cats were nowhere to be seen, and the chickens just loved scratching about new territory. It was great looking up from my work in the greenhouse to see them happily exploring. By and large, they seemed to stick together, and weren’t interesting in escaping from the confines of the garden. Mind you, one was determined to dig up a flower bed which had 50 bulbs in. I had to chase her out six times.

At one point in the day, all the chickens decided to have a dust bath under the hedge. It was so nice to watch, I couldn’t resist reaching for my iPhone.