Counting Chickens - Here come the girls!.Childhood memories, collecting eggs from the musty hen house, of my grandmother a professional Cook
not a Chef a Cook. Most definitely a Mrs Patmore ! - from Downton Abbey Kitchens. She started her career as scullery maid at Moundsmere Manor, Hampshire.
It was here she fell off her bike on the long drive and was rescued by my grandfather the cowman, the rest of us are the history.
Keeping few hens in the garden is a rewarding pastime, both for grown-ups and children alike. A bit of forethought required should you consider, something I can not, with two year old Rosa - Springer Spaniel.
Broadly speaking, hens come in three sizes the diminutive bantam, medium sized birds and then large fowl,
there are dozens of modern and traditional breeds, some good for egg laying, some just for beauty and tufted elegance. Hardy creatures, tolerant to cold they hate damp and draughts. Make a well ventilated hen house scattered with shavings or straw (never hay) allowing one nest box per four hens. The house should be easy to clean and suitably solid to keep predators at bay.
Decide if 'your girls' will be enclosed in a run or allowed to roam during the day. Chicken wire keeps chicken in it does not keep Mr Fox out they will always need to be kept shut up at night. Hens love to forage and one of the greatest pleasure is watching them hitch up their skirts rush off to scratch up the Lawn for moss and grubs, but filling your boxes with eggs.
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