Some eggciting news!

Filed in Blog by on March 5, 2012 11 Comments
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lucy-the-chicken

Lucy the chicken - settling in at zero waste towers

You remember Wendy don’t you?

Mr Green spent a week building Wendy and her sisters the most palatial handmade chicken house.

The entire structure was made from reclaimed materials including posts, netting and even the coop itself.Well after 6 weeks of settling in, the sorting out of pecking order and a couple of escapees, we finally had our first egg!

We’ve had four eggs altogether, three of which were perfect and one was trodden on! It would appear one of our lovely girls prefers to lay her egg OUTSIDE the nesting box on the floor.

Ho Hum.

I have to say I now view eggs in a different way. Before they were a box of something I bought in the shop which I never really gave much thought to.

I always supported free range and organic, but gave no more thought than that to the chickens or the process of laying them.

Now I’ve experienced our girls running over when they hear my voice, each having their favourite treats (Wendy likes cabbage, Lucy favours apples while Clutterbuck loves nothing more than broccoli stems) and their quirky ways I find it hard to put into words my experience when I pick up an egg warm from the nest.

It’s alchemy, I swear.

And it makes me cry when I think about the wonders of the egg.

I know, I know – for years I’ve heard people talking with great affection about their chickens and it’s fallen on deaf ears. Give me a cat, dog or rabbit and I totally get it, but chickens? Seriously?

But now I think I’m getting there.

I mean, we give them this three or four times a day:

scraps-for-chickens

And a couple of days later you get one of these:

mrs-green-egg

Well I find it incredible, I really do. When you plant a potato you get a potato. When you plant a carrot seed you get a carrot, but when you throw some kitchen scraps at a few chickens they reward you with eggs.

It’s not often I’m lost for words, but I think I’ve found something that brings me close …

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (11)

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  1. Carole Chapple says:

    Hi Mrs Green,

    Just a couple of points from an ex-bat chicken keeper of nearly one year.

    Firstly, kitchen scraps and treats should really only be given once a day or less often, it’s the layers’ pellets/crumbs e.g. protein rich chicken food that helps the girls lay eggs. Some mixed corn is ok in the late afternoons to help fill their crops to keep them warm overnight.

    Secondly, I hope you will support the wonderful work of the charities who rehome ex-battery girls and have a couple of those next time…even with the so called enriched colony cages, these poor girls still have a hard time of it.

    Many regards, and keep on with the blog!

    Carole

  2. This is lovely! Your chickens seem to have quirky little personalities!

    I dont personally eat many eggs and my mum has cats so chickens were never an option; however I still remember wandering out in the early hours to collect the warm eggs from my aunties coop! Magical πŸ™‚

  3. sandy says:

    well done chicks, we are getting more and more eggs each day, now the weather is getting warmer. shut a wonderfull feeling when your chicks give you such a lovley present.

  4. Mariann says:

    I have heard a few concerns about keeping chickens, which I’m hoping you can resolve.
    Do you get your chickens from hatcheries? If so, aren’t there a lot of welfare concerns, particularly vis a vis grinding up the male chicks at birth? I guess that’s another reason to get rescued battery hens, as suggested by Carole.
    Also, doesn’t there come a point after a few years when hens stop laying eggs, or at least drastically slow down? Do you keep them as pets at that point?

  5. Your very first egg. That IS something to get EGGCITED about. What a precious post!

  6. Carrie says:

    How fabulous that your girls have such a good home :O) I have guinea pigs and they are the same, in that they have their own personalities, likes and dislikes too; so I can appreciate where you are coming from. (Except that my piggies don’t give me lovely eggs each day!!)

    I feel that if more people got to know chickens, they would be less cruely treated than they are in the current intensive farming system. I remember Hugh Fernley Whittingstall doing fab work on this topic a couple of years ago, we need more like it. Keep up the great work Mrs G. and enjoy those yummy eggs πŸ™‚

  7. it is too precious to watch a suburban lady care for her new friends..
    chickens are feathered piglets..i mean, there isn’t any human food which cannot be recycled in the coop area..at any time..i chop all trimmings, vegetal or animal, old grains, seeds, anything..pick flowers and greens for my “girls” i call them chick-chick?

    however onions and garlic get you some quizzical looks..not their faves at all;, hot peppers deserve squawks; birds know what to eat and what to reject..coffee grounds get trampled and composted along with twigs and straw..bones and bits of snacks create a frenzy.

    i’ m sure you know never to give eggshells ‘as is’ to the hens, as they could cannibalize their own eggs if accustomed to them. you can put eggshells in blender to reduce them to paste, (and add tough fibrous veges or tasteless leftovers and cooking fats, serve in tin pan.

    there is only a period of two weeks when mine do not lay very much, post molting.. they lay in the cold as i feed them pizza from a restaurant, veges from the supermarket green grocer, and bacon grease from a neighbor’s leftovers..high caloric and fibrous matter if served in reasonable amounts keep them happy and long living and laying till 8 or 9…never need any store bought grains for 5 chickens. sad to say, at present am chickenless..

    i line their boxes with shredded paper when out of dried weeds and straw or leaves. a big pile to cushion eggs. they soon round it out and form a nest. good life to the ‘ladies’ and their green people..

  8. sandy says:

    I have been keeping Chick for the last twenty years, and like Nadine never buy food for them, she is right they can live until 9 or 10. keep going Mrs G xx

  9. Mrs Green says:

    @Carole Chapple: Thanks for your comments Carole.

    @Michelle Morgan @ Eco-Centricity: Sounds like a wonderful memory πŸ™‚

    @sandy: isn’t it? I still can’t get over it. Yesterday we had TWO eggs; I felt like a Queen!

    @Mariann: Hi Mariann; well I’m no expert and we avoided hatcheries; preferring instead to support a local organic farm who keep all the cockerels. Rescuing battery chickens is another way as you and Carole mentioned. Yes, it’s my understanding that they stop laying after a while and then it’s up to you – you either keep them as ‘pets’ as a thank you for all they’ve done with you, or if you’re harsh about it, they are, erm, dispatched… We intend to keep ours πŸ˜‰

    @Carrie: thanks Carrie; the level of awareness is increasing all the time. It’s always something I’ve felt strongly about but never really looked into that much. I’ve always supported organic / free range but not really looked into battery farming (I cry easily, so don’t tend to look into it!)

    @nadine sellers: thanks for all the wonderful advice, Nadine. I’d heard some people say they get shells back to the chickens, but we’ve decided not to, for obvious reasons. Ours are ignoring the layers pellets, so it’s scrap all the way …Ever your eager student …

    @sandy: Thanks Sandy; good to know!

  10. Zoe says:

    I would love some chickens for my own organic eggs. I’m not really into eating too many eggs because of farming practices. Can they live off just kitchen scraps or do they need special grain/feed too?

  11. Mrs Green says:

    @Zoe: Hey Zoe, well we’ve been feeding ours kitchen scraps (they seem to hate the layers pellets) and they are laying just fine πŸ™‚ I’d say hens have been laying eggs long before commercial feed became available πŸ˜‰

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