Moody broody hen

Part of our long-term plan has always been the production of our own meat. For welfare as well as health reasons we’ve gradually become more or less vegetarian during the week. Don’t get me wrong, we’re avid carnivores, but we like to know where our meat comes from, and that it was ranging freely whilst […]

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Sheepy smallholders

Given that we’ve spent over half a year starting to mould our land and getting chickens established, it might sound strange if I say that I only really started to feel like a smallholder a week ago when our lovely sheep arrived. We’d been looking for sheep for some time; we even went to a […]

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Catching up with the chickens

Getting chickens was probably one of the least demanding things we’ve done since becoming smallholders. It seemed like. huge endeavour when we actually went to get our first flock, but it takes practically no effort to run a chicken. As long as they’re fed and watered and have a little house to snuggle up in […]

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Field finds: troughs for all

One of the nicest things about moving to a new house is how it can surprise you. Of course that can also be one of the worst things about a new house too (boiler breaking down the week after you move in anybody?). But in the garden I’ve been constantly surprised and pleased at the […]

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Planning (more) fruit futures

The weather is dank and dark, the heating still isn’t working and the dog refuses to recall but I find I drift easily away from all of these petty everyday issues when I think of summer and the bumper soft fruit crops I hope we’re going to get. I’ve become increasingly irritated by supermarket soft […]

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Chilly chickens

It’s cold here at the moment. I mean seriously, nose-achingly cold. We can’t have had ice covering the car more than twice in the last three years that we lived in London but here it’s been almost every day for at least a month and as I type this the thermometer already reads less than […]

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Chickens, chickens everywhere, but three are on the blink!

When we first adopted our ex-battery hens I had visions of finding ourselves knee deep in eggs. The reality (as with most of the things I had idealistic, city-person thoughts about) is somewhat different. We do actually get a steady daily supply of eggs from our girls but at a rate of exactly one egg […]

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Flying the coop: creating a free range chicken enclosure

Since our chickens joined us here on the smallholding a week ago we’ve developed a lovely routine whereby we go and check for eggs every day. Nothing can make our little boy beam like finding an egg that he can pluck out of the nest box and pop into his little egg basket to bear […]

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Adopting ex-battery chickens (or re-homing hens!)

Today we made a start on re-stocking our little smallholding with that most versatile of creatures, the chicken. Or rather, four chickens (despite the ardent lobbying of the toddler son who for some reason had the figure of twenty stuck firmly in┬áhis head). We had decided to offer a genteel home county retirement to some […]

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Week two: Hello dog, goodbye alpacas

This week marked what I think is our first big lesson about smallholding, to whit, that we had some very strong preconceived notions of what this would be like. I wanted to like the alpacas, I really did. They were so dainty, with their pretty eyelashes and their long graceful necks. I had visions of […]

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