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!

Tuesday 18 November 2008

More hen stuff.

Sunday and yesterday Compostman and I have been moving the hen runs and houses around in the orchard, trying to get them onto some drier bits of land. We also want to move the perimeter fence to a new area of the garden in a day or two, so we moved the henhouses with a mind to doing this soon.

Uncoupling Cluckingham Palace from its run was fun, in the mud!

WHATEVER you do around here, a hen ( or several) will always turn up to have a look!

"When is it OUR turn?"

Lifting the rat proof mesh which sits under the Eglu run

And putting it in its new position.

Oh, and in case anyone WAS wondering, I DO participate in all the hard work as well...I just break off to take pics from time to time!

This is the end result, after we moved the runs and hen houses I spent another hour cleaning all the houses out, putting down new woodchip and straw in the houses, filling the drinkers and feeders ( I gave them all a good scrub yesterday so they were nice and clean)and generally making it all nice and cosy for the girls.

Then the girls came in to inspect the work, they often seem a little unsettled when we have moved their houses around, and wander around "visiting" each others places and having a good nose around inside.

Finally they went into their own choice of roosting place. Babs and Goldie have opted to sleep in the Broody Ark, they seem to be getting on OK with the others but prefer to sleep apart. Sweetie and the chicks all pile into the Eglu ( which must make it "cosy" in there!) and the rest of the girls go in to Cluckingham Palace.

Goldie the Rhode Rock, number 1 egg laying star and beautiful, gentle hen ( shhh don't tell the others but she is one of my favourites!)


  1. You've got some pics of your hens. Mine never seem to stay still long enough.

  2. Lovely pictures and the hens are such lovely models.... including Mr CW.....
    What a lovely feeling when the job was done and they were all nice and tidy... well worth putting your feet up and having a glass of home-made cider!!
    Love Jane xxx

  3. Oh what lovely 'girls'!! I've been cleaning out our eglu too in readiness for the opening of the new, more sheltered run. This is not my favourite time of year with hens, as the mud gets everywhere, and they have a habit of pooping right outside the back door whilst waiting for treats!! Goldie looks such a sweetie!
    Willow x

  4. Hello lovely people!

    The latest trick the hens have adopted is to lurk around in the depths of the "lean to"

    This is a substantial 3 and a half sided building on the back of another building, which acts as log store, general store and dumping place for all sorts of stuff...its also the place where the hen feed lives...

    and now they all have taken to hanging around in there, terrorising the cats ( who like to snooze on the log piles or hunt for mice in there) and generally acting as if they own the place....

    which, of course, they do!

    WPT I have many MANY blurry photos of the hens...I cherry pick only the best to put on here! ;-))

  5. I've been wondering lately about woodchip. Is there a special kind I should get? And where from! My girls have only been with me for about 3 weeks and could really do with a layer of something down in their run as it gets a bit boggy. I let them out for a few hours a day but can't leave them out as I'm on a housing estate and there are a LOT of cats about.

  6. Solorn I use Easybed inside the hen houses ( along with straw in the nest boxes)..its really good..Hemp based stuff seems so light that it gets kicked around whereas woodchip bedding does not.

    Inside the run? I use our own wood chippings from our own wood..when we fell trees for firewood we chip the twiggy bits and I use that inside the runs.

    Remember that my girls are only in their runs for an hour or so a day typically...then they are out free ranging in the garden.

    I think for putting in a run for hens who are kept in the run mostly, wood chippings is a good thing as it gives them something to scratch and furtle in...so a bag of untreated bark or chippings would be good? But put a pile up the middle line of the run if you can and let THEM spread it all out.....as that will be part of the fun for them...

    I think, if you DON'T let them out much, they don't mind being in a run nearly all the time, as long as it is a reasonable size and they have stuff to entertain them....shiney cds hanging up, an apple to peck at, is something my lot like...

    BUT once they DO go out into the garden for a longer time..they rapidly get very disenchanted with being kept in their run, however huge and palatial it is.

    My lot even hate being loose in a 50 m circumference paddock...because they have normally have had access to 3/4 of an acre of garden and orchard.

    spoiled , or what...( roll eyes)

    I just thought I should warn you...as long as they are happy in their run with an hour out a day , they know that is their "out" tiime....

    Seriously....although the girls need a good big space to scratch and play, as long as it is big enough for them all in the run, if they don't get more, they don't miss it..( please note I am NOT making apologies for "battery" conditions here...that is just Prison stuff and no animal should be kept like that!) but it seems to me that once they DO get more space, it upsets them not to have access to it all the time ...IYSWIM

    sorry, it is late, and I am rambling....I hope you can see what I am trying, rather inarticulately, to say!

    And Easybed is the best stuff for hen houses, and bark chippings is good in the bottom of hen runs...and so are leaves gatherd up about now.....

  7. Just noticed I missed a word out, I meant to say you've got some 'lovely' pics of your girls, not just some pics. I must try harder at getting some decent ones.

    Just wondering how often do you worm your hens?

  8. hi, just wanted to let you know that I've tagged you for a green meme. Looking forward to reading your responses!

  9. Thank you for tagging me kittyboo…I WILL respond but am still poorly with the shingles at the mo had a bit of a relapse, due to overdoing it last week…..)

    and am finding it a bit hard to read stuff

    so…will respond but it will be a bit….



Hello! Thank you for reading my blog and for commenting. I try to reply as quickly as I can and I really appreciate your interest in my life and doings here in The Compost Bin.