I have kept chickens for thirty years and I think that EVERYONE should have hens in the back garden! I grew up on our family smallholding on the edge of the Quantock Hills in Somerset. I still live close by and my large fowl are kept there, whilst my bantam fowl are kept here in our garden in the village.
I keep a small number of breeds, concentrating on Barnevelders and and Salmon Faverolles, breeding them for dual-purpose utility and their dark brown and tinted eggs respectively. I also have Cream Legbars, for their pretty, blue-green egg.
I keep Millefleur Pekin bantams, as they make good broodies for either hatching or fostering chicks. They lay tinted eggs. I also keep bantam Araucanas in blue/black and am aiming to breed for splash next year. They lay green eggs. This year I have also started keeping bantam Welsummers, which lay brown eggs.
I sell eggs weekly at the local farmers' market in Minehead and I sell hatching eggs and young birds when I have them. I run courses from beginners, through hatching to despatching and preparing for the table. I also keep quail, ducks and table rabbits and can run courses on these on request.
A second adult from the same family and children (5 to 16) are welcome on my courses for £30 and £10 respectively - BY ARRANGEMENT, please. Additional fees can be paid on the day if necessary.
Smaller children may be possible (free) on the beginners course by negotiation - it depends on how many places are available. I also sometimes run 'Family' courses that are particularly aimed at little children; but we are very flexible, so please do ask and I will see what we can do to work around them on a 'normal' course.
I leave it to parental discretion regarding whether it is appropriate for your children to participate in despatching/plucking/dressing. I'm happy to teach children who are comfortable with it and I give plenty of time for everyone on a course to decide whether they want hands-on experience on not.
My website is http://greenmeadowpoultry.co.uk
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