Jill has a degree in environmental sciences and has many years experience in conservation and education having worked for the Field Studies Council, Shropshire Wildlife Trust and through teaching geography and the environment in a number of schools and colleges. A life long enthusiasm for plants and green issues has led to a formal horticulture qualification with the RHS Advanced Certificate and she is currently lecturing at Walford & North Shropshire College
Andy has always had a passion for birds and the environment. Having obtained a degree in ecology and conservation, it wasn’t long before this enduring interest was put to use working for the Field Studies Council before spending 7 years with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
He ventured out into the corporate world for a decade but always meant to return to doing something he enjoys. Being an experienced practical gardener and avid poultry collector has now led to a career as a freelance writer
Both caught the bug, found no cure and now simply accept, plants and poultry are addictive so spend the majority of their spare time running ChickenStreet
No matter where they’ve lived, they’ve always been gardeners in some shape or form, and more often than not they’ve had to recover a neglected garden or start from a blank canvas.
As environmentalists Jill and Andy continually strive to garden with nature in mind and to this end use organic methods and sustainable resources wherever they can.
All the plants are home grown, either germinated from seeds or propagated from cuttings taken from their existing stock. All are grown in peat free composts and they are constantly looking for new alternatives to peat having trialled many over the years.
Only organic or natural methods are used for pest control, they re-use pots recovered from recycling schemes locally, and any plastics that go beyond practical use are passed on to a specialist plastics recycler to be made into compounds for drainage pipes etc.
With this mind it seemed only natural for them to fall into the ‘naturalistic planting’ style, and this led to them specialising in perennial grasses, native species, and easy care herbaceous perennials.
The poultry collecting started back in 2000 with a small flock of Black Rock hybrid layers and has been growing since that time working with a the huge range of traditional poultry breeds over the years.
The breeding flocks that they keep can vary from season to season as Andy loves to work with and learn about the behaviour of as many poultry breeds as possible, there is however usual something for everyone from the small friendly breeds like the Nankin or Pekin, through utility breeds like the Sussex and Ixworth, to the exotic ‘kings of chickens’, the Brahma, and some of the rarest and oldest breeds, the Owlbeards.
They breed, incubate, hatch and rear chickens with regular orders from across the UK for hatching eggs, growing birds and adult stock.
All the adult birds are kept outside in grass runs and are fed on a diet of GM Free pellet and wheat. The flock is fully DEFRA registered. In addition many types of housing are used, some homebuilt, some manufactured, in many sizes to suit all needs and breeds and whilst they don’t stock poultry housing Andy is always happy to explain the pro’s and con’s of each type of housing to ensure you buy the right kit for your birds.
In fact his knowledge and experience has led to an online guide written by him being published by the popular magazine Your Chickens