New year in the garden …

We have been considering the possibility of having some more (full sized) hens … thinking Sussex (various colours) or Marans etc. Only this week we’ve been offered some ‘second hand’ utility hens, POL last spring. Are we getting a reputation for taking on other people’s hens when they are no longer able to keep them?!

Anyway, whatever we decide, the garden needs some work doing … not only to cater for the hens, but also in preparation for a new growing season. I used to grow a lot of veg, but the hens have slowly taken over most of my growing space, so I now have seven raised beds, one down to strawberries and another to raspberries, leaving five for whatever veg we decide to grow each year. However, we’ve now decided to take out the raspberry bed, thus making more space for grass for hens …

We also gained some space by the removal of the bank at the top of the garden, since we discovered it concealed a manhole cover. So today we’ve been out in the sunshine (I don’t believe we won’t yet have a cold spell … ), raking and sowing grass seed. The ground is fairly compacted, so all I did by way of preparation was to lightly rake the surface. Hopefully that means the cats won’t be tempted to use it as a latrine. But we do still need to provide some protection from the birds …

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Meet Janet, our scarecrow. She’s looking rather underweight, since I didn’t bother to stuff her body, but it does mean she swings freely in the breeze, and the CD I’ve given her as a pendant (not in view) catches the light which is also supposed to be a deterrent.

I’m not too optimistic that the grass will grow this early in the year … but we’ll see.

In the meanwhile, we also need to refresh the woodchip in the Hen Run, so have spoken to the tree surgeon and await news of a suitable load. It will be a lot of work to dig out the old stuff, not least because we laid bamboo screening to try and protect the ground. It didn’t really work and there are loosed pieces of split bamboo all over the place!

Elsewhere in the garden, the Moppets are feeling the heat in the greenhouse. We will try and shade them, but they certainly can’t stay in there all summer … so we’ll have to bring the Moppet House back into use, probably up against the back wall on the new grass (which won’t therefore last very long) :doh: Until then, we get them out as often as we can. They’ve cleared the bed of vegetation, tossing all the woodchip that we had used as a mulch onto the now thinning grass. So we will have to rearrange their fencing onto some new grass at some point … we are destined never to have the entire garden down to grass at any one time, as there will always be bare patches where the hens have been!

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    Our original hen keeping adventure came to an end in January 2013, when a fox took our entire brood of hens. But don’t let that put you off … you can find the story at The Hen House Archive where there are still lots of stories, photos, and information about keeping hens I hope you'll find useful.
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