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!

Saturday 23 May 2009

Chickenailia catch up - March and April

I didn't really feel I wanted to post a "chickenailia " post for March, after what happened to Genghis and Cathy :-(

and the end of April sort of has passed me by as I have been sooo busy in the garden, polytunnel and wood......and I have realised I haven't given you an update on the hens for over 2 months!

So...to make up for my tardiness...the egg and general behaviour report for all things chicken related here at Compost Mansions ;-)

We are now into long days, an early start and a late bedtime for the chickens. The sun rises at about 5 am, although, bogglingly the silly males (Capt'n Flint and Long John Silver) often crow at 2 am ( why? it is dark then? so why crow?)

The days are lengthening noticeably and thus egg laying really starts to improve as it is controlled by day length ( which is why caged hens are kept under artificial light for most of their lives, to maximise egg laying :-( ).

The girls all look happy with this extra natural day length and seem pleased to be able to eat bugs and worms for longer and are mostly all laying an egg a day. Good job I now have a regular clientele for eggs at school .....otherwise we would be overwhelmed with eggs!

Henny laid 27 eggs in March and in April she laid 25!...she lays the biggest eggs! 90 - 100 g dark brown speckled whoppers!

Ginger has laid well both months (26 and 28), she is the Number 1 hen and by far the most intelligent of them all...I seriously worry about how bright she can be, sometimes it is quite scary! Henny and Ginger are now 2 1/2 years old and have been with us for just over 2 years, so they are doing very well for us and it is lovely to see them as the leaders of the flock..much brighter than the 2 males I might add!

Attila laid 18 eggs both months, many of which were soft shelled or shell-less... she really is not much good at this egg laying lark...ho hum..I forgive her anyway ...

Sweetiepie has now gone mad bad bok bok broody again but laid 22 eggs during March and in April ...she is now though puffed up like a powder puff, bok bok hogging a nest box and really quite behaving quite potty! I like letting a broody hen hatch out eggs BUT it means a long wait to get an egg laying hen AND, of course, the chick may not be a hen, but a cock instead...

Yet again though , the absolute stars of egg laying and general loveliness are Babs and Goldie! Yep they laid the most eggs and the most splendishous...! Babs and Goldie laid a magnificent 60 eggs out of a possible 61 for March and April.

I am seriously considering buying more Rhode Rocks from Oxenhall soon, as these two have been SUCH good hens, brilliant layers and such friendly hens as well.

The big girls laid at total of 157 eggs in March and 147 in April, which is really pretty good, from 6 egg laying hens they have averaged 5 per day, which isn't bad going I think! AND the egg laying was 5 or 6 a day from the 6 laying hens from mid Feb.

The Silver Dorkings continue to delight, Cap't Flint the naughty cockerel is on a re homing list..I hope to give him away in the next week ... Cap't Flint chases Compostgirl every time he sees her and *I* have had to push him off with my foot and show him who is boss!

Long John Silver still lives in Cluckingham Palace with all the big hens and they are HIS harem. He leads them off into the Wood at every opportunity! Long John Silver is reasonably friendly and I hope that continues.

Ruby, Violet, Buffy and Willow are very sweet and cluck and croon at me and follow me around! And, of course, they are all now laying!

Dorking eggs are small (55g)at the moment but with the MOST amazing yellow yolks! Even more so than all the other hens! See what egg mayo sandwiches look like made from ther eggs....

The Fab Four Dorking girls coming into lay means even more eggs for me to sell and I recoup all of the feed bill as well, now. I have now 4 regular customers who LOVE the eggs and think they are fabulous!

Egg mayonnaise sandwiches, home made bread, salad, eggs, mayo...mmm delicious!

THANK you all, my lovely, lovely girls, you make my life very happy (and now you are finally paying for all the layers pellets and corn, I am made even happier!)


  1. Absolutely wonderful!! I love to hear about the girls. I however do owe you a huge apology... somehow! I missed the sad news about Cathy... and have only just caught up now... I am so sorry to hear about Cathy's passing, she was an amazing lady!!
    You seem to have your hands full with the other girls though and all their individual personalities and what good girls they are with the amazing amount of eggs they produce....
    Have a lovely weekend!
    With Love, Jane xxx

  2. Yum, yum what lovely looking sandwiches, eggs are my absolute favourite food at the moment and we pick up our eight girls next weeks, so they will be MY eggs soon. Mmmm, can't wait!!

    Sue xx

  3. Mmm, I love fresh eggs! My husband has a friend at work who raises chickens and sells the eggs to her coworkers. We buy often. Fresh organic eggs are so, so much better than store-bought!

  4. Well done t your Feathered Lil friends.
    It is so great having REAL eggs.

  5. Is the grey hen a Dorking? I'm not familiar with them but that is a beautiful and stately pose in the photo.

    I've never seen much logic in when cockerels crow.


  6. Hello Mary :-)

    If you mean the hen in the picture just above the eggs, then yes, she is Ruby the Silver Dorking,

    They ARE very stately looking, aren't they?

    A bit daft, though...and tend to go broody at the drop of an egg ( or feather)

    Violet Dorking is broody AGAIN!
    she makes noises like she is being murdered whenever I open up the nest box....

  7. There's hen called Violet in one of the St Trinian's films. She's taken to sea by the policewoman (played by Joyce Grenfell). Strangely, once they reach a desert island 'Violet' starts to crow.

    Is your Violet named after that Violet or is it coincidence?


  8. Ooh those egg sandwiches do look tasty... we get local organic eggs delivered with our veggie box and they are one of our favourate foods. I'd love to have hens but I just don't have the space to keep them humanely, so I'd rather not do it at all.
    They're such expressive little creatures, and yours do seem to shine on camera. :)


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.