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, which we share with Chickens, Cats, Guinea Pigs 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 work as an environmental educator, lecturer, writer and Forest School leader at Moors Wood . I am a Master Composter and have spent the last 11 years as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council. I offer talks and run workshops and events where we talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. We also make crafts and have fun.

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, 19 February 2009

And Buffy makes four!

And Buffy made it four eggs, today :-)

This is Buffy!

She laid an egg today ! a 45g whopper! the biggest one of all of her siblings!

Buffy, Willow, Ruby and Violet are all from the same cockerel but could have 4 different mums..they came from a batch of 7 eggs laid by 4 hens over 4 days..so at least some of them are full sisters and ALL of them are half sisters....the two cockerels Capt Flint and Long John Silver Dorking are also at least half brothers to all and full brothers to some....( which I will have to consider in future breeding plans I suspect...)

Now the Fab Four Dorking girls have ALL started laying they have become more tame and follow me around a lot...They are such little sweeties! They are so gentle and tame and VERY friendly!

and yes, I CAN tell them apart without the leg bands...its hard, but it IS possible!

Just in case anyone doesn't know.....these are their VERY first eggs! not just the first of this year...which is why I am so eggcited about it..

These are chicks Sweetiepie hatched out for us when she went broody last August, I got some Dorking eggs for her to hatch and she did a WONDERFUL job with the chicks..... and we have been watching them grow throughout the winter ( stupid time to try to raise chicks, but there you go.....)

and in the last week they have all started laying, at 24 weeks old which is about right for chicks hatched out at the normal time, but NOT in the depths of winter!

These times are for "normal" clutches, hatched in summer....NOT clutches hatched in September!

The results have been comical; mad clucking, squarking and general mayhem as the new girls get to grips with laying eggs..sitting on a nest for several hours but not, actually, laying an egg...and then dropping an egg as you leave the nest box...ooops how rude.....( I swear a hen CAN look embarresed...!)

.....Fab Four Dorking Girls..you have amused us enormously this week and you are WONDERFUL!!

(anyone else think they sound like a WW2 dance band?)


  1. I love the story of how they all come about, and adore the last picture with the baby chicken ontop of the older.

  2. Its good , isn't it....


    I love to watch them and know I helped to make them be here....IYKWIM....

  3. It is quite unusual for a hen to sit eggs in the cold months but it looks like it worked for her.. theres nothing cuter then a hen and her chicks.

  4. I have a very soft spot for them all, I admit.....

    I have also just had an email exchange on am email list I am a member of...where a vegan (?) member has been abusing me as a )sic) big mac sucking, fast food addict type of person.....

    just because I pointed out that if everybody went vegan who would look after farm animals or chickens or bees?...I also posted specifically about MY animals and MY meat eating habits.....

    I got this as a reply

    "No, it shows how hypocrytical you meat eaters are. Oh yes, modern farming methods cause so much destruction to the environment, transporting livestock and culling is fine as long as you can enjoy filling your belly with what satisfies all is well and good right. Steroids, antibiotics, factory farming, battery hens, mass dairy production, cruelty, disrespect towards animals, need i go on

    Try opening your mind, you can live a healthy life on plant based food, oh but of course, nothing like a nice bit of factory farmed turkey right."

    and I feel a bit rattled by the vitriol of it all..IYKWIM....

    so it is good to come back to my blog and be reminded of my lovely chickens...

    Oh and I got insulted over keeping ex bats as well...apparently I am

    "killing animals for my pure greed and pleasure. Do these ex battery
    hens end up on your dinner table or do you sell their eggs for
    profit? I wouldnt want to eat them after all the chemicals pumped
    into their tiny bodies and stress they have been through, do you
    tell your customers that?"

    which was not nice....

    Honestly I do wonder why I bother to contribute to internet forums and email lists, sometimes...

    as all I seem to get is crap...

  5. I think your hens are beautiful. It's really a lovely color pattern, isn't it?

    No arguments from me on keeping animals. I wonder if those vegans might be chemically unbalanced because of their diet which might explain the hysterics?

  6. Sadly you get the odd moronic idiot that ruins the whole vegan concept... its always the minority that spoil and give the majority a bad name. My sister in law is a vegan and although she has very strong opinions she does respect a meat eater his or her right to eat meat. And she keeps ex-batts herself because of her love of animals, to give them a better life and other family members use the eggs... so this silly little person (and I am been very polite here!!) is not worth worrying about... Delete and block emails if possible... and let the (bleep ** bleep) get on with it...
    I believe its called live and let live and everyone is entitled to their beliefs but not to the extent of venting abusive, unkind and cruel remarks...
    Try not to feel too troubled over this CW.. we all know what a lovely caring person you are... and just looking at all the lovely pictures of your happy contented girls tells all.... Thank god for you and all the other lovely bloggers that look after the ex-batts and give them the happy well looked after lives they so deserve!! If I lived nearer I would be around in a flash to buy a dozen or more eggs.. ex-batts or whatever!!Keep up the WONDERFUL work CW.. you and MrCW are doing a FANTASTIC job!!!
    Love Jane xxx

  7. beautiful chicks! I think I have chicken envy.

    As to the forum reply you received, it reads like a fairly typical diatribe born of pure emotion, a total lack of reason, and a blinkered concept of ethics.

    It does feel horrible when that stuff is directed at you, but really, people who do that are just never prepared to listen and just want to fanatically push their barrow. So although it feels personal, it's not.

    The irony is that they think they're being ethical, but they are in fact really quite abusive and disrespectful.


  8. Ah - since both my two pullets have promoted themselves from POLs to layers, that explains why I found a couple of eggs on the roosting bars and not in the nest box one week. I was wondering! (Both smashed, blomin big footed buffs!)

    Do the shade and patterns of the eggs they lay at this stage stay the same for the rest of their laying lives, or do they change as the hen gets older?

    As for the ridiculous responses you've been getting: well, I won't say what I think as blogger might ban me. I don't know you personally but it's bloomin obvious to all and sundry that your chooks lead the life that all chooks would love to have and if some people can't look beyond their opinions to see that, that's their problem not yours.

    Keep it up and keep smiling!

  9. sounds like there's some really lovely people around, from reading your blog I can't imagine you eating a Big Mac. This person obviously hasn't read your blog.

    The markings on the chicks are gorgeous, really striking.

  10. hello all!

    Dorking girls making a racket here this morning...bloomin woke me up with their noise! (They have a VERY distinctive cackle compoared to the other girls...)

    Thank you all for the comments about the emailing vegan....It was more personal because it was aimed directly at me in my email inbox on a personal email ( not on a forum or emailed via this blog...)

    But I shake my head sadly , and get on with my day......

    Bringmesunshine...the eggs do change a bit over time ( and get bigger!) but the basic colouring is pretty much the same....as that is a function of genetics,

  11. That's what I thought!


    In that case, I can keep Speckle without every worrying that I'll put her eggs under a broody hen (she's in with her papa who sees to all his females...)


  12. Afternoon!
    I realised it was their first ever eggs, sorry I didn't convey that very well in my text did I. Even more wonderful with the rest of the story today, how lovely are those chick pics!
    Thats awful about the offensive email, also rather underhand if they sent it to your personal account, I thought the idea of a forum was for open discussion or debate not to seek out individuals and use bully boy tactics just because some people may think differently.
    I must say that I think yourself all the earlier commentees are very eloquent, am liking your blog a lot, I'm off to study a thesaurus, take care all.

  13. I am having to avert my eyes here and would please request that you no longer post pictures of THESE BEAUTIFUL HENS and the chicks. I do NOT need to be encouraged or seduced into getting even more chickens!!!! ;)

  14. Sorry Lucy!

    But they are SO lovely....

    would you like a cockerel?

    I am considering selling Long John Silver Dorking....

    He is lovely, but 2 cockerels is a BIT too noisy...

    They compete to crow loudest, and one alone would be much quieter....



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