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 31 December 2011

New Year Eve Sat 31st Dec 2011

Just come in from removing the electric heater and tent to keep the hens warm in the polytunnel.

We put this up last night to try to keep them warm, as they are so featherless and a few felt very cold.

We made a big tent out of wooden frame and tarpaulins over the two runs, with a low power heater inside so hopefully the poor bald girls felt a bit warmer 

Also have started dosed them each with vitamin drops which was VERY messy indeed. Got Compostman to hold them so he got spattered rather than me (hee hee lol)

Friday 30 December 2011

Ex battery hens day 3 Fri 30th Dec

So, after the trip to the vet yesterday with broken wing and limpy ( why do I suspect those nicknames will "stick"? ) we started today with a couple of new routines..

Broken wing and Limpy having some food
Broken wing and Limpyin the nest box having a rest

In addition to the normal routine for the existing 9 hens in two separate house/run combinations (say hello, collect eggs, check food and drink and condition, later check for eggs, let out to free range, later still check for eggs, last thing feed high carb and protein food late afternoon, then an hour later shut in ( well before dark) and top up feeders and drinkers etc ..)

I now have the extra checking of 7 not so great healthed hens, including 2 who are really poorly.

So they need a lot more attention at the moment!

but...look at them doing proper hen stuff, after only 36 hours of freedom!

Thursday 29 December 2011

Ex battery hens Day 2 (Thurs) at Compost Mansions

The 7 hens were all eating and drinking and pooing normally after their ordeal on Wednesday, which was a great relief BUT one hen was dragging her wing a bit last night and this morning it was worse, so I have had a trip to the Vet with her for treatment today. She is now in a body bandage and on painkillers :-(
Also have two limping girls so they went to be looked at as well. One is just bruised but the other may have arthritis ( quite common in caged hens, as are brittle bones due to lack of exercise and natural light

The hen with the broken wing and the very lame  hen are in my ICU on extra special special treatment, the bruised hen has gone back in with the others but I am keeping a close eye on them.

My vet is used to me by now bringing all sorts of animals to them but I am sure they must think I am mental for being so concerned about hens - most people would just cull a bird with a broken wing and never take it to the vets and tbh if she had been looking like she was on the way out I would have done just that -  BUT she is a feisty, fighty little hen and too full of life to give up on – so I won’t!

Am concerned about the hen with the broken wing – as the body bandage may not work, but the alternative was it being pinned under anaesthetic – which we did not think she would survive :-( so it is the best available option we have – she didn’t like the pain relief drops, either…pecked me and drew blood, ungrateful hen!

One of the hens gets her first taste of jumping up onto something :-)

 ICU for poorly hens on left and the main run on the right, all inside the polytunnel to keep them a bit warmer and also isolate them from my other hens ( just in case!)

Ex battery hens - the collection!

So yesterday Compostgirl, Compostman and I drove the 70 mile round trip to get our new ex battery hens. Compostman came with me to curb my bringing home loads more hens than I ordered I suspect….!

We arrived at 2 pm at a farm out on the Hereford - Brecon road, where a load of people were arriving with cat baskets and dog crates and boxes and basically anything suitable to carry away hens.

We were welcomed by the BHWT volunteers and signed in to say who we were. I joined the queue in the barn to collect my hens. They had been brought up from a battery farm near Bristol at noon,  so were still quite dazed and confused by space, air and light.

They looked pathetic and bald and really rather poorly and I felt ashamed to be a member of the same species as those who had subjected these animals to such cruelty, all in the name of greed and " economic food production"

I got 7 from the BHWT collection point :-) and gave them my gift aid form and what I hope was a generous donation.

5 of them looked very ropey, poor things and one somehow broke her wing on the way home :-(

2 of then though you would not think were ex battery hens – apart from a bigger comb they look wonderful – alpha hens or maybe a cage where some had died off?


Saturday 17 December 2011

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Only a few Sleeps To Go…

(With thanks to Jo Barlow for the original idea for this post)

Excited children all over the world are beginning their festive countdowns. 19 sleeps until Christmas!
However, for rescuers of battery hens in the UK there is another, much more wretched countdown. They have until 30 Dec  to rescue and find homes for as many hens as possible before the unlucky girls who don’t have homes go to slaughter.

How can we possibly celebrate the festive season when so many hens, who have spent their lives entombed in cages, will be sent to their deaths during the festive season?

The thought of these poor, desperate, unloved hens being slaughtered, has spurred many people, me included, to offer a home to an ex battery hen or several.

Some lucky hens will wake up a few days before Christmas and be whisked away to new homes, where they can scratch in the grass, bathe in the dirt and see the sky. The others will spend a few more nights in the cages before waking up one morning to be transported to the slaughterhouse, hung upside down in shackles and killed.

Which would YOU prefer to happen to YOU?

Please, if you can, rehome some ex battery hens. Click on this link and arrange to have some.

If you can't, please conside donating to a rehoming charity? AND please, make sure you do not buy any products which still have eggs from caged systems in them - look for " enriched cages" or better still buy free range or organic products. That way you can be more sure the hens have had a better life while producing the eggs you eat.

Monday 5 December 2011

Z is for ...

I have no idea on this one!

But am glad to have (finally - blush) finished off the Alphabet challenge. It has only taken me 3 months more than it should....oops

I hope you found some, at least, of my answers interesting.

Sunday 4 December 2011

New crafty blog

I have decided to collect all my crafty posts, how to's etc which relate to art and craft making on another blog - The Crafty Compostwoman. 

So, if you want to see what I have been up to with making things, have a look there :-)

I will gradually be moving all the craft related posts over to this other blog, so if you are looking for a particular item or idea, try there!

Saturday 3 December 2011

Y is for


I still feel inside much as I did as when I was in my late twenties or mid thirties ...even though I am nearly fifty now (only a few more months ...!)

Outside I am very different, oh yes, I am much more decrepit and ill and physically limited than I was twenty years ago..but inside, ah inside I still feel about thirty five ( which I view as the best period of my life, physically)

Strange how much our view of our age is governed by our mental image, rather than our actual physical age?

Friday 2 December 2011

X is for

\Blimey...what could I say which begins with an "X"?

I have been known to behave in an X rated manner ..but that is between me and Compostman!

I can "Xert" myself... but only when needed!

Thursday 1 December 2011

W is for

Wife              - to Compostman, for 26 and a half years now. Gosh. What a long time!  but I love him as much ( if in a slightly different way?)  as I did 26 years ago :-)