We love our hens, and I can’t imagine a time when we wouldn’t have them here – after all, what smallholding doesn’t have hens roaming around? Although ours have lived at times in a contained area, they love to free range around the place, but this comes with a couple of downsides. Principally that we have a large growing field that supplies our food needs, and into which said hens like to sneak to dig up any freshly planted seedlings.
If you’ve never seen an enthusiastic hen digging over a patch of ground, then you’d be amazed at just how much they can turn over in a short space of time, and so the effect of ten lively girls digging away is something that we discourage in the veg plot.
The time has come however, when we’ve decided that although we do need a few hens for eggs, we don’t produce enough eggs to make it worth selling them, and the damage that the hens do en masse outweighs the pleasure we get from having their company.
So we’ve decided to send the majority of our flock to live with a friend, who will be able to give them a good home. and we’re going to keep 3 or 4 for eggs, and Robbie the rooster (who is no trouble at all). Then at least we can contain them better.
It will be a wrench to see them go, but part of our journey is learning what works and what doesn’t. Hens and veg is firmly in the ‘doesn’t’ camp.