We’ve various forms of accommodation for the poultry residents of the Smallholdings and they seem to be getting more involved as the years pass. On Sunday I took my Godson Theo to collect the day’s eggs and he was delighted to have a total of four nest boxes to examine and nine fresh offerings to gather. The latest development, devised by James, is a twin-run system on the back of the main chicken coop (illustrated above). Our hybrids, dependable layers and industrious grazers that they are, decimate grass pretty quickly, so the enclosure that he’d fenced off for them in the autumn began to look rather bare a few weeks ago. Rather than giving them a larger area, James decided to create a two-way enclosure so the flock can run on one strip for a period while the other recovers (see above picture). Cobbled together with an old gate that was out of use, and a roll of chicken wire, this simple solution involved annexing the current run with the same strip of garden, while the gate switches the girls from one side to the other once the grass has replenished itself. With access to fresh turf, the flock are producing the most fabulous rich-orange yolks as a result.
Now the days are longer and warmer, too, we’re thriving on a plentiful supply, in various forms – poached, scrambled, boiled, baked, fried, and eggs are the star ingredients in a range of cakes as well as savoury dishes. I don’t think the novelty of taking a still-warm egg from the straw that lines a nesting box chicken coop will ever wear off. Happy henkeeping all!