Keeping chickens

My decision to buy chickens for the garden when we moved to Hunters Lodge back in 1999 continues to be one of the best decisions I ever made.  I had no experience.  I learned the hard way.  But I learned fast.  Nowadays, it’s so much easier what with poultry forums, any amount of poultry-keeping books and access to all the information you could possibly want on the internet.

Yet people flock (pardon the pun) to my poultry-keeping classes every summer.  You can’t beat first-hand experience.  Watching the chickens pottering around the garden, seeing where they sleep, handling them and learning about basic husbandry helps people get started on their own chicken-keeping journey armed with a good basic knowledge.

Eggs (36)

In my book Food From An  Irish Garden, I answer the all  the questions that recur  every year at the classes here  at Hunters Lodge.

I may have started with  keeping chickens for eggs, but  as the year passed, I added to  the brood.  Ducks and quail  for eggs.  It took me ten years to make the decision to rear chickens for the table.  Nowadays, we have a stock of our own chickens in the freezer and we rear a couple of turkeys for Christmas.

We have a pair of geese.  Mahatma Gander and Willow Goose are our pets.  Think of your pet cat or dog and you’ll know how I feel about Mahatma Gander!  While geese enjoy a mixed reputation, Mahatma is so placid he eats out of my hand.  I love him plain and simple.  So no, we don’t eat goose here at Hunters Lodge!


And then theres the chicks


Keeping chickens – the perfect hobby for all the family…



2 thoughts on “Keeping chickens

  1. Hi Fiona,
    Just found your website through Irish Fowl. I was just wondering do you still breed hens. I am looking for some white silkie bantam hens. I’m close to Carlow myself, thanks a mill, Louise

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