This time every year I’m brought right back to basics. Why? Because now is the time the bookings come flying in for me to give talks to groups, schools, libraries and businesses. Requests come in all shapes and sizes – will I talk about blogging, living self-sufficiently, children and social media and lots more (click HERE for more details). But the one that brings me right back to basics is the request for my Keeping Chickens talk. It was the first class I ever taught and I have a special love for it. Why wouldn’t I? Not only does keeping chickens mean I have a constant supply of fresh eggs, but in the dark days of my corporate life, my feathered friends helped me keep my sanity! What’s not to love? And I’m firmly convinced that most of us, whether we’re urban or rural dwellers, could keep a couple of chickens if we set our minds to it. So it’s that time of year again, when I root out my smallest (quail) and biggest (ostrich) eggs to use as part of my interactive Keeping Chickens class.If you are thinking of keeping a few chickens, here are some tips for you to consider..
Start by buying “point of lay” hens. These hens are usually between 18 and 24 weeks and are literally on the point of laying (the darker their comb, the nearer they are to laying). In no time at all you will have a fresh supply of eggs, and if you are a beginner, these hens are much easier to manage than chicks. Expect to pay in the region of €20 for a point of lay hen.
You don’t need a large back garden to keep chickens. A 9ft x 3ft chicken coop that has an attached run is perfect for three laying hens and will fit in most urban gardens. These small coops often come with wheels so they are very easy to move around every couple of days, allowing the hens to enjoy fresh grass.
If you are building your own chicken coop, allow 1ft sq of space per hen in the coop.
Have a think about keeping chickens – it’s not as difficult as you might think, and believe me, you won’t regret it.
* Buy the full set of Freddy Buttons books (signed) for a special introductory offer of €25 over on www.freddybuttons.com
* Read Fiona’s feature on lavender in the new edition of Irish Country Magazine – in shops now.
* To book a ticket to meet Fiona in Ariel House, click HERE
* To book Fiona to visit your group click HERE