Chickens are a wonderful edition to any family home and they are a perfect way to recycle*
I have kept chickens for many years now and have enjoyed watching the shenanigans and pecking order of a whole host of different breeds - from cream leg bars with their beautiful blue eggs, light sussex for their reliability in terms of laying, beauties such as the blue haze and many more. Amidst all the variety however there has been one constant - eggs.
In this time I have really grown to appreciate eggs and still now,nothing beats the sense of satisfaction and sheer pleasure when opening the coop to find a perfectly formed egg ready for you to enjoy. There have been many occasions when the humble egg has come to the rescue when the fridge has been empty…
Hens really are are a great way of bringing the small holding to your doorstep, without the need for acres and acres of space. Children get hours of entertainment out of them and learn about their life cycles, particularly if you choose to incubate some eggs and rear your own- its such fun watching them hatch and grow. As long as you take a bit of time and care getting their set up right and do a bit of research into the breed that would suit your needs the whole family will get years of enjoyment out of them.
The perfect recycle system for your household waste- Mine enjoy eating all of my garden weeds, raw peelings and fruit and veggie scraps. They do a great job of keeping down garden pests such as snails and slugs and they turn it all into beautiful eggs. You can even add their baked egg shells back into their diet as grit to aid digestion and strengthen future egg shells. Their droppings are a perfect catalyst in the compost bin and they do a great job fertilizing my garden as a whole when they are scratting about.
There are literally hundreds of breeds of chickens to choose from, each with their own unique traits. I have settled on bantam silkies for a number of reasons. They are small and incredibly friendly birds, perhaps not the brightest, but when you have young children a lot can be said for this non flying manageable sized fluff ball. And fluff ball they are- brought to Europe, along the ancient silk route, these cute little powder puffs were originally introduced to folks as a cross between a rabbit and a chicken! And what child doesn't like to pet a rabbit?!
They also tend to continue laying throughout the colder months which is a bonus. As most hens tend to lay during the summer. Their eggs are quite small but cute and flavoursome. They range in colour from white to pinkish white.
Silkies tend not to dig like other chickens and as long as you don’t mind the odd crater dotted around your flower beds, which they’ll use to dust bath, they will happily spend hours pecking around enjoying the sunshine and space in your garden whist tackling unwanted garden guests and providing your family with endless hours of entertainment.
* its important to note that you mustn't feed anything cooked or any meat scraps to your hens