About Chickenstreet

Breeder of chickens, grower of peat free plants, gardener & writer. Author, blogger, blagger, chickeneer and some say gobby poultry pundit

Comfort Food 101


Now this is one I need to try… looks wonderful!

Originally posted on Things we make:

We’re in the middle of a heat wave. The Met Office are giving out safety warnings on the news, everyone’s found their summer clothes from the last decade and the lawn has gone brown.

Oh, hang on, it’s gone again.

Sunday morning and it is overcast, rapidly cooling down and starting to drizzle. That’s more like it; good English July weather. What we need is a nice bit of oven-baked July comfort food.

Eggs & potato

We all have different definitions of comfort food, but for me this is it. I think I remember eating something like this as a child, which I reckon is a large part of the effect. Add to that something containing mashed potato, cheese and egg and I think whoever you are you could find comfort in this dish somewhere. In my definition, comfort food is savoury, easy to eat and (don’t laugh)…

View original 293 more words

Why a chicken might be the perfect pet for you – Telegraph

“If you are looking specifically for pets, then focusing on the breeds with docile temperaments is perhaps the best route. If space is limited or young children are involved, then a bantam breed like the pekin can make a good starter. If you have more room and older children, then it’s hard to beat the Brahma for appeal, entertainment and temperament. However, the more docile breeds are often not usually high egg producers.’’ said I in this weekends Telegraph. I said a lot of other things too but hey at least this time I wasn’t misquoted :-)

Why a chicken might be the perfect pet for you – Telegraph.

What’s wrong with this picture?

World News! Another non-event of avian flu breaks out here in the UK… but look closely at the picture. Each of the hens has been debeaked, a practice that removes one-half to two-thirds of the beak of the bird to reduce cannibalistic pecking. A behaviour brought about by overstocking, overcrowding, boredom and stress. Surely in todays drive for better animal welfare it’s time we addressed the cause and not the symptom, remove the factors that cause cannabilistic pecking and #keepdabeak ?

Authorities act as avian flu confirmed in Hampshire chickens | World news | The Guardian.

Forces of Nature

I’ve kept chickens for quite some time and living in a rural area means that the threat of the fox is pretty much something I have to live with.

I have a railway not too far from the property which provides a perfect “motorway” for them and on the opposite side is a large estate where game birds are reared. In between are various copses and fields with hedgerows and rabbits. Foxes are simply a fact of life.

I’ve had day time attacks from foxes. Sometimes they have struck when I’ve been away from the property. I’ve had other instances where a fox has been waiting for me to open the coop door in the morning and no sooner had I turned my back it ran out and grabbed the first thing it could. I’ve had foxes run through a flock of 20 free range birds, clear a fence and grab a bantam Orpington from the lawn where it was preening no more than 6 foot from where I was sat reading the paper.

Given the freedom I give most of my chickens it means these sorts of attacks I can do little about in the first instance. A fox that bold is either very hungry, fearless or inexperienced. Such encounters that involve the risk of close contact with humans are infrequent in a rural environment and not as regular as the urban situation. Note that I stated “I can do little about in the first instance”. A fox that attacks during the day will invariably return in the day again. Its predictability is frequently its downfall.

Night time however is a different story, foxes can and do wander around my place every night. I see evidence of their footprints (sometimes on top of coops!) and they are simply doing what is natural, they are looking for food, they can smell it’s there and so they are looking for a way in, just as I would try the door of the local fish and chip shop if I could smell the fried food inside.

It’s my job to make sure they don’t get a meal and so without fail I lock my birds away every night. Any fox visiting overnight will find nothing out and they will just have to rattle the doors of the chippy so to speak.

There is however one factor that has resulted in a fox killing birds overnight and that’s the weather. Some years back I had a very promising flock of Araucana. I had a down selected a suitable breeding group from the birds I’d hatched that year and brought them together in a pen in the December. It snowed. It started around 3pm and it was heavy. We had quite a job locking up at dusk, the snow was deep by that time and snowballs needed to be thrown. Come the morning there was a beautiful white covering of crisp snow…. spattered in blood and feathers. The Araucanas had not encountered snow before and unbeknownst to me they took shelter under the coop at 3pm. I didn’t check they had gone in when I dropped the door. My failing and the opportunity handed to the fox.

Yesterday morning I took this photograph. These are retired and random chickens that happily wander around freely in the field having their feed. It made me smile.

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We had some rather stormy weather last night, the wind was gusting and it whipped the door open on the front of the coop during the night, this is a photo of the same birds 24hrs later once I’d found (most of) them

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Which force of nature is to blame? The fox or the weather, or do I just accept that these things happen? It’s a tough one to answer sometimes.


Startling Results in Campylobacter Study – The Poultry Site

Startling Results in Campylobacter Study – The Poultry Site. – The survey runs Feb 14 to Feb 15 and cuts across all retailers. It will be interesting to see the results and whether there is any variation according to source, rearing technique, retailer etc

Scottish Television on the hunt for urban pig and poultry keepers

Is that you? It could well be as I know quite a few folks who read or follow this blog fall into that urban farming category.

To cut a long story short I’ve been contacted by Will Steel of STV via Jane Perrone of The Guardian (ok, ok, name dropping… did I mention I was on Countryfile the other month? I did? Oh well my apologies) and he is developing a programme about people who have chickens and pigs in their city gardens.

As such he’s looking for anyone who has chickens in their city home who he could potentially contact about the programme? At the moment he’s just looking for some stories but you never know, this could be a fine opportunity to show your flat pack farm or backyard Bonanza !

If you are interested then contact Will directly will.steel@stv.tv

Blatant Book Plug – Chicken & Egg: An Egg-Centric Guide To Raising Poultry

Well it’s my blog, so why not plug my new title due out in the Spring of 2015…..?

The title might sound a little corny however the focus of the book is in fact “eggs”. The origins and science of eggs along with the ways to get the best out the breeds you choose with particular emphasis on a number of the key laying pure breeds, all beautiful illustrated in the loose water colour style of that exceptional artist, Kate Osbourne . I’ve yet to see the finished product but if it’s anything like the previous title I worked on with Ivy Press then it will be exceptional and well worth owning…. and I’m not just saying that because I wrote it, but because the other book genuinely is a cracker ;-)

New title due out in Feb 2015

New title due out in Feb 2015