At last the sun is shining, the trees are in blossom, the bees are flying and all of our chickens are laying, except for Broody Butternut who is trying to hatch chicks from the other girls’ offerings… Our courses are well under way with bookings coming in regularly and requests for bespoke sessions. So let me officially welcome a new season at Hen Corner (and hope that I haven’t spoken too soon…)
Last week, I was very pleased to have been invited to run a chicken keeping course at Hounslow Community Farming Association. This exciting project aims to provide vocational employment opportunities in horticulture/farming for individuals in Hounslow whilst at the same time improving the quality of the urban environment. They are based on an underused allotment and have set up an urban farm complete with growing plots, herb garden, polytunnel, and over 40 hens laying eggs for the local market. The training base was tables and chairs in an outside classroom and this electricity-free site is well equipped with a gas stove for making well needed mugs of tea and the most fantastic compost toilet! We had 2 1/2 hours together and were pleased that 15-20 people turned up to learn about Keeping Chickens in London; this is becoming not just a popular past time but also a positive response to the supermarkets who now cannot guarantee that their eggs are GM-free. We spent an hour in the classroom looking at the daily, weekly and seasonal responsibilities of keeping hens and then went over to the chicken shed to meet the HCFA girls. The association have built a secure run for their healthy flock of Rhode Island Red Hybrids and having so many made it easy for everyone to hold a hen whilst we went through the anatomy of the chicken and how to spot illnesses or health issues. The session ended inside the large chicken shed with the children rummaging in the straw for that morning’s fresh eggs. If you’d like to join us on a course here at Hen Corner, we still have spaces available on most of our dates.
The chickens are laying really well, we’ve had 239 in the last month alone! So not only are we enjoying them for breakfast, lunch and tea (a favourite is using yolks for a Hollandaise served over our asparagus and beating up the eggs into a meringue for a pavlova…), but we are now supporting our friends at Edible Ealing and supply their customers with local eggs that can be ordered with their Fruit & Veg Boxes. Do like them on Facebook and if you live in the area, why not try them for your groceries for a few weeks, it might change your life!
I have a Google alert set up for London Bees, just to keep up to date with the urban bee keeper scene and very quickly discovered that there are more fans of my local football club here in Brentford than those of us who don smocks and veils to inspect our colonies. Brentford FC is fondly known as The Bees, apparently due to the central role of Bee Keeping in Brentford in years gone by…
Well this afternoon, just before a big match, the large police horses were trotting passed our house to the club at the end of our road and I popped out with bucket and spade to scoop up the manure dropped in the road to add to our compost bins. This not only cleared up a mess on the street but will help boost the fertility of our kitchen garden helping us grow some fab veggie this year!
Lost in London: Adventures in the City’s Wild Outdoors
By Lucy Scott, Tina Smith
A wonderful hardback book that opens up the unlimited opportunities to discover quite a lot of country living within London. We especially love this book as we helped them with their research and are thrilled that the chapter on chickens tells the story of Hen Corner.
This book is available with many of our other favourite books from the Hen Corner Shop!
- We received the April edition of Grow It! magazine and are very pleased with the 4 page article on Hen Corner
- We’ve replaced the insect bands around the base of our fruit trees, the codling moths will be out soon
- We have inherited an old Observation Hive and are lovingly restoring it ready for our courses
Jobs for next week:
- Research publishers and see if any are interested in our book
- Plan a bespoke course for a special Birthday Party
- Enjoy our postponed holiday at Feather Down Farm
Join us on the Journey!