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!

Monday 24 August 2009

Chickenailia catch up

And welcome back to my mad world of the Chickens!

I didn't really feel I wanted to post a "chickenailia " post in July after the sad loss of Ginger, and then I got ill and it was all far too busy here so...basically the hens laid lots of eggs in July, ....and two of the Dorking girls and Sweetiepie spent most of July being broody....

So...here is a catch up post for July and this month! ...the egg and general behaviour report for all things chicken related here at Compost Mansions ;-)

The biggest news is that both the Cockerels and two of the Dorking girls have gone.

I drove to Monmouth on a very wet Sunday afternoon to meet the lovely Witch Hazel and her husband to hand over Cap't Flint, Willow and Buffy. They have become the foundation of a breeding programme at Witchhazel's place and seem to have settled in very well!

That reduced my Compost Mansions flock to Henny, Babs and Goldie the Black/Rhode Rocks, Sweetiepie the Maran, Attilla the Barred Plymouth Rock x Maran and Ruby and Violet the remaining Silver Dorking girls.

And Long John Silver Dorking the remaining cockerel.

I was hoping that the removal of the other cockerel from the Orchard would make LJS a happier bird and that he would also accept the two remaining Dorking girls into his harem of "the big girls", but sadly he continued to be very aggressive to them, actually injuring Ruby quite severely. He also persisted in the "crowing all night" antics, despite there no longer being another cockerel to crow at.

I spent another 5 days trying to find a new home for him, whilst attempting to ignore his chasing after me, Compostman and Compostgirl... a couple of times he actually made contact with me......

Then one morning last week he attacked me as I turned away from letting the hens out of their run and gouged my back quite deeply, in a place about head height on Compostgirl.... so that was that.

I shut him in the empty Eglu overnight, with water but no food, and the following morning I killed him, plucked him and dressed him. He is now in the freezer.
I felt bad about doing this as I never like to kill an animal BUT I could not have an aggressive bird around the place, no matter how pretty or rare breed.

Since then calm has reigned in the Orchard, Violet has now chosen to go in Peckingham Palace with "the big girls" and Ruby has gone very broody and took up residence in Cluckingham Palace, sitting very firmly in one of the nest boxes!

A very broody Ruby!

Everybody else has returned to being happy and friendly with me and each other.
Babs and Goldie continue to lay an egg a day each and now have poor little Violet to pick on so they are no longer bottom of the pecking order. Sweetie and Henny lay 6 days out of of 7, lovely dark speckled eggs.

The girls laid lots in June and July, which is really pretty good, from 5 egg laying hens they have averaged more than 6 each per week.

The Silver Dorkings continue to delight, Violet Dorking is very sweet and clucks and croons at me and follows me around, she lays lovely small very pale tinted eggs. Only Ruby laid every day in June and July, as Violet was Broody for 6 weeks. Ruby has been broody for a week now and it is Violet who now lays an egg a day!

Violet Dorking

You have already met the two new POL ISA Browns, who look like my beloved Ginger, one is sooooo like her she has been named Ginger2, the other is also a character and has been named Bunty ( spot the film reference there?)

THANK you all, my lovely, lovely girls, you make my life very happy :-)

And there are more new developments to report, but that will come another day.....


  1. We've just re-homed an unruly Sussex that was very close to becoming dinner. Hope your cockerel makes a good meal! Great pictures; what a lovely lot of cluckers you have :) x

  2. It's fab to find someone as nuts about their hens as I am! You have some lovely looking girls.

  3. Glad to hear your chickens are doing well. Shame about Long John Silver: hope he turns out to be tasty. I read somewhere that hand reared cockerels tend to be aggressive to humans because they think they are the same species and therefore a threat, maybe being taller than hens they are deemed to be cockerels. If you happen to know if he was hand-reared or had a lot of contact with humans as a young chick that might explain his behaviour.

  4. I dom Love a Chicken catch up.
    Sounds like your Girls are behaving
    My Big Gorgeous looking boys 9roosters) too went to live elsewhere last weekend.
    Getting determined to cahse my kids.

  5. Karin LJS cockerel was brooded as an egg by Sweetie last August and hatched out in Sept...so he was reared by her and socialised by us from the very start....he was lovely until he reached cockerel puberty and then it all went wrong....he got increasingly nasty and we hoped it was because there was his much bigger half brother ( from the same hatching) around...but obviously not...he just didn;t have the "right" temprement to settle in a flock with us...shame :-( but there you are.....

    I tried SO hard to re home him...but sadly I couldn't find him another home...

    John..Ruby IS lovely, isn't she... ;-) she is now firmly settled on 3 cream legbar eggs in the Broody Ark, she has now been moved 3 times while sitting...so is a very dedicated mama!

    Lucy, Sara and Cupcakes.....

    oh yes I freely admit I love my chickens.....and I have just got another 4 diferent breed POL pullets......more on them soon!

  6. When you say LJS was socialised by you from the very start, perhaps that is where the problem lay: he thought you were chickens or he was human and so once puberty began and his hormones kicked in he thought he needed to defend his hens from you. It's only something I read, but the person had the same problem.

  7. Love reading all the chicken blogs should be getting my three girls any day now !

  8. Has to be done sometimes,it's real life.I'm still not brave enough to do it and gave up breeding because I'm a wimp.
    Tried Araucanas? the gorgeous blue eggs!!


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.