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!

Thursday 8 January 2009

Our eggs

N.B. I have NO idea why a draft version of this post was published earlier today. I must have done something wrong with my scheduling. Ah well, you all get to read this slightly different version ;-) and the sharper eyed amongst you can even comment twice if you like!( ooo see how kind I am to you all...)

Compostgirl started back to school yesterday ( after a false start where I managed to send her and Compostman off to school on Monday by mistake, oops sorry). That also means the re-start of my egg selling, as it is friends and staff at school who are my main customers. Which made me muse about our eggs and what goes in to them and why they are so very popular!

Our eggs come, obviously, from our VERY free ranging laying chickens, Babs, Goldie, Henny, Ginger, Sweetiepie and Attila. Cathy and Genghis don't really lay very often, being poor old worn out ex battery hens and the Fab Four Dorking girls are too young to lay eggs just yet (BUT they are 17 weeks old today so not for much longer, four or five more weeks and they should be laying also.) This means the chickens eat grubs and worms and the bits and bobs which they furtle up by scratching around in the soil. And grass. LOTS of grass. It is actually quite astonishing how much grass and greenery chickens like to eat.

Our chickens are fed on Organic Layers Pellets ad lib and Organic Mixed Corn as a treat. They LOVE bits of wholemeal bread soaked in warm water but they get that as a treat, also. They get some fruit and veg including raisins, broccoli (a favourite with all chickens I think!) and any other bits and pieces which we have to hand or which they can raid from the garden ( apples are a favourite!) They are also getting a warm porridge made from their layers pellets in the afternoon at the moment , to keep them cosy in the cold ( brr -8 C) night weather we are having at the moment.

To supplement all this we add a number of other things to their feed to keep them happy and healthy. Their warm mash is mixed in with some Poultry Spice, a blend of minerals and spices which chickens generally find very attractive ( I like the smell also.) Apple Cider Vinegar is added to their water as a general tonic as is Citricidal. Sometimes they get some garlic powder added to their feed but I am careful not to add too much as it can come through as a taste in the eggs, as can anything strong tasting!.

I also spend at least an hour a day in total with my chickens, checking them over and talking to them and looking after them. I freely admit I actually spend more time with my chickens than is really needed, as I enjoy being with them and seeing what they get up to! This also means I can spot if one of the chickens is unwell and take prompt action.

Compost Mansions hens eggs are VERY different from what I have seen of bought, supermarket eggs! Our hens lay eggs where the yolks are a deep, wonderful yellow, due to all the green stuff they eat whilst free ranging. EVERYONE who has tasted our eggs has commented on how fabulous they are! We eat lots of our eggs and think they are terrific, and all our customers have made very happy sounding noises ( but have not started clucking....yet). We had several people buying them to eat especially on Christmas Day, scrambled with smoked salmon, for breakfast. Which was nice!

Also our eggs are VERY fresh! The eggs we eat or which are sold to our customers are laid within the last few days, maybe even laid yesterday or this very morning! I have been know to sell eggs which are still warm from the nest......or even allowed someone to go and get their own egg from the nest box ( children young and old LOVE doing this!) how much fresher can you get?

If you buy eggs from a Supermarket, do you get to know who laid the egg? *I* can tell who laid what egg by looking in the egg box at the colour of the egg...I can even tell who has actually just laid without looking out of my window, by identifying the different " I've laid an egg" racket.....

Top THAT, supermarket eggs!


With thanks to Garden Hens for giving me the idea for this post.


  1. I just love the stories you tell about your 'girl's. Keep them coming, Margaret

  2. *Bravo* Compost Woman!!! I agree, supermarket eggs don't even come close .... it still really bugs me to see cheap eggs on the shelves in the supermarket. Like you said, people always comment on the colour of my girls' yolks ... as for the supplements to their diet, I think they're better fed than my children sometimes!!
    Willow x

  3. I have a request for a 'how to' post from you. I havent been able find a post on starting a compost bin... Other than going through individual posts. I think I am a bit silly some days.

    Could you possibly post about how to start one. Especially in one of the Dalek, bought from the council, made from plastic one.

    I keep thinking would it decompose quicker if I chopped everything up finer. So say, chopping the potato peeling smaller? Would that help??? You know if you say that, I will be putting everything through the vegetable moule!

  4. Been in read it all loved it to bits.

    Pol XX

  5. SoL I am planning a post on the Simple Green Frugal co op blog on making compost in the next 4 weeks, or you could look

    here http://compostbins.blogspot.com/2008/07/how-to-maximise-your-compost-production.html

    or here http://compostbins.blogspot.com/2008/08/composting.html

    in my back posts to see how it is done

    If you find a post which has "compost" as one of the tags and click on it, all posts which are tagged as such will be listed.

    Hope this helps!

  6. or here


    Cw x

  7. Hi Compost woman,
    I have just recently come accross your site and am relieved to find that someone else in the world likes just spending time with their chickens, I love my girls and talk to them as if they were one of my children. I even ask them questions sometimes. i think I must be a batty old hen myself.
    Your site is wonderful to read and can make me homesike as I am originally from Cheshire but now live in Brisbane Australia.
    Keep up the good work
    Batty Old Hen

  8. Batty Old Hen welcome! I am glad I am not the only one....
    (Compostman caught me chatting to the chickens the other day and made a similar comment about me talking to them as if they we people....)

    I am sorry if I make you feel homesick, though...

    Pol, welcome! glad you like my witterings.... how is it all with you?

    Cw xx

  9. Great post! so inpriring - I am currently sat here with a notebok trying to work out which breeds of bantams to buy ( I'm going to look at a local breeders on sunday ) Not sure how long it will be until I can taste the eggs though!!!


  10. I am "jazzed", as my Niece would say. That not only are you going to post on the Green coop about compost and your links above, but also that I have just checked out Down to Earths site, and she is running the Kitchen Table about first time chicken keeping.

    Do you call a lot of chickens a herd, brood, clutch? I am still thinking that we could maybe get some.

  11. Oh, I don't know why my comment above came up as 'anonymous', but, hey ho, it was me! Thanks for asking about my 'droopy' chicken, CW ... she's ok, just not quite herself .. still eating reasonably well & scratching around, but spends quite a bit of time, sitting on the bench looking a bit 'puffed up' and sleepy. I still wonder if she's brewing an egg? I sat with her on my knee for a little chat today and she loved it - got all snuggly and made little cooing noises!
    Willow xx

  12. SoL, the way they have been today I would call them " a pain in the A***"

    They flocked to my feet and tripped me up.....

    Is being "Jazzed" a good thing? I know not this word....?

    I hope so! ;-)

  13. There is a huge difference in home grown googies....
    And yes the lovely little feathered friends that give us them are just the best!

  14. Of course I read your twitterings. Things just cold here, garden is so solid its unbelievable & I live in what is supposed to be a mild area!!

  15. Love hearing about your girls.. and as usual they have done a really good job of providing you with eggs!!!
    Love Jane xxxx

  16. I am the same with my hens CW, I spend time with them,i know their individual personalities, i can tell pretty much who has laid each egg, they get extra treats, good food, a good life, and as you say, the eggs are out of this world...

    Leanne x

  17. I can also tell my hens eggs apart which does seem to impress people, especially when they cannot tell the hens apart let alone eggs! I dont think I could go back to eating supermarket or shop bought eggs now.
    Apologies for my lack of comments, been ever so busy since moving into our new house. I try to catch up when I can, hope all is well xx

  18. Hello Aromatic, Leanne and tgs!

    Keeping chickens is such fun! I managed to capture Cathy purring on video, so will be posting that up when I get a few mins away from the dissertation....

    Chickens all doing well, but egg laying has dropped off the last few weeks, I am only getting 3 a doay from the 6 of them, must be the cold!


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.