I don’t think there’s anything quite so delicious as freshly laid free-range eggs. We’ve had our 4 hens for 14 months and life with the girls has been blissfully uncomplicated, until very recently when I noticed a sharp drop in egg production.
A few days ago, whilst cleaning the hen house, I heard rather unexpected calls emanating from the log store and went to
investigate, only to find Matilda emerging from a secret crevice sandwiched between some logs and old tarpaulin. On closer inspection, I discovered she’d made a nest and had been laying a collection of eggs there. Instinctively, I took all the eggs inside and blocked up her hideyhole in the mistaken belief that this would be the end of the matter. However, yesterday my husband found yet more eggs hidden behind the lawnmower!
This morning, I felt the time had come to consult my chicken bible: Henkeeping – Inspiration and Practical Advice for Would-be Smallholders by Jane Eastoe, who suggests:
if your chicken starts to lay in the garden, the great trick is to never remove all the eggs at once. Either leave one there permanently – mark it “Do Not Eat” and return it to the nest – or leave a rubber or marble egg there instead
If anybody has any more words of wisdom I’d love to hear from them.
I get quite excited by hen house window shopping! Last year, at Chelsea Flower Show, I was very much taken by The Happy Hen House Company stand who offer a good range of attractively designed hen houses and runs in various colours. GD Timber Designs also offer fabulous coups – a great friend has one, and after 5 years it still looks amazing. For sheer ease, Omlet have everything you need, delivered direct to your door, including the chickens! However, you don’t have to have a big budget to keep happy hens. We bought our own hen house from Hen House World for £129:00 with free feeder and drinker and my hens love it. Ebay and the local paper often have great deals too, or you could make your own. Jane Eastoe’s Henkeeping book also has a great section on customizing an old rabbit hutch into a hen house should you feel inspired.
Wishing you a very happy New Year and happy hen keeping!