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.
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…