Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically and to Permaculture principles, which we share with Chickens, Cats and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I am a Master Composter and have spent more than a decade as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council.
I'm a self employed Environmental Educator so I run workshops and events where I talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. I also run crafts workshops and Forest School/outdoor play sessions in our wood.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun.

To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!

Friday 25 July 2008

Hen trouble no longer

As you may remember, I have spent the last 2 weeks trying to add 4 hens ( 2 plus 2 from a social grouping viewpoint..) to my original 2 girls..and boy has it been an eye opener!

The 4 new girls were a pair of Marans , same age, same hatching...who had their own pecking order .............
and the other pair were a pair of ex battery hens who had their own pecking order .............

and ALL of them decided to pick on the biggest hen I had..... who just squatted down and let them peck her to bloody......

the only thing which has worked is to separate out the two dominant hens...one of the Marans, one of the ex batts...into a separate house and run....so they went into the Eglu.

It has taken a week of this, all the hens could see each other but the two bully hens could not get to the others..........and it has worked! I have let them all out together and they are all now a reasonably happy bunch,rather than the two top hens pecking hell out of 3 of the others!

AND after reading a thought provoking post on a Poultry forum I am on, I tried some rubber eggs in the nest box to see if it would cure Wednesday of her egg pecking/eating habit...........she has been destroying her freshly laid eggs from the start AND had begun to peck at the other eggs, even though I collect them as soon as I hear one being laid!

The idea is that there are so many eggs to peck, which don't actually break, that the hen gives up! I think the technique is called "flooding" in behavioural speak.

WELL! It has WORKED! since I put the rubber eggs in the nest box I have had NO broken eggs from her!

Hurrah! As if she had kept this behaviour up I would have had to "consider her options......"

Also Sid the puss had been to the Vets and been neutered...the Vet joked that they wanted to keep him there as he was such a cutie! He is fine, very hungry and a bit sore round the bottom area but otherwise OK!


  1. Glad to hear that the chickens are all sorted. The rubber eggs thing sounds interesting. With the Internet you can so often read about so many possible solutions to problems, but it's good to hear experience of one working!


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