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The Zen of Hens

Posted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:53 pm
by Marigold
See article in today's Observer https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyl ... -113712434
i couldn't resist adding a plug for the Forum in the Comments section under the article.

Do follow up the link in the article to Queen Victoria's 'extensive hen house in gothic style.' I bet she didn't have to go in wearing that crinoline to do the poo picking!

Re: The Zen of Hens

Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:28 am
by chrismahon
Interesting article Marigold, but the comments following it are the more interesting. Quite amazing some of them. In our case the move to France was driven by the desire to find a secure environment for both us and our chickens. Turns out there are even more predators here, but chicken theft is almost unheard of. I only said last night that where we live now would be pointless without livestock as we would just be sitting in the middle of a large empty field doing nothing. Poultry keeping has few drawbacks if armed with sound advice to start and is a particularly inexpensive hobby, especially if combined with DIY coop and enclosure construction.

Re: The Zen of Hens

Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:38 pm
by dinosaw
Not sure where the evidence behind their assertion that chicken keeping is on the rise is. I think that may have been true in say 2008 or even 2011 when they wrote similar articles but the anecdotal evidence would suggest that the boom in people taking it up is over, certainly if the British based forums are anything to go by. Nice to see that in an ever changing world CiF is still inhabited by the same motley crew of smartarses, grammar pedants and vegan nutters.

It goes without saying that I exclude you from that list Marigold.

Re: The Zen of Hens

Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 3:32 pm
by Marigold
Thank you, Dinosaw, - although when describing me, the only superfluous adjective on your list is 'vegan! '

I suppose everyone starts out keeping a few hens in their garden with the hope of some kind of idyllic rural lifestyle, where the chickens can roam freely and decoratively, occasionally pausing to nibble daintily at a bit of grass without scratching holes in it, and being trained to sit nicely on the scrubbed wooden kitchen table without pooing on it, like in the picture. (Yuk!) Then reality strikes, the owners find out about mud, poo, rats, and complaints from neighbours, before a fox jumps in and kills the lot. Or they believe the coop-and-fixed-run manufacturers' estimate of how many chickens can be kept in a tiny run, and then find out about feather pecking, bullying, red mite etc. Winter comes, the novelty wears off, the hens stop laying, the drinkers freeze up, it's dark before and after the owners go to work, and only too often the hens get neglected at the bottom of the garden. Thus is like the 6-month-old-puppy stage, where the pup has become unmanageable and is sent to a rescue, although that's not so easy to do with chickens. It's a shame, because everything the article says about the therapeutic and other benefits of keeping chickens is absolutely true, but people do need all the right information before they get started on the project in the first place. All the problems are manageable with the right information about choices of equipment, how much space will be needed for the numbers being kept, suitable breeds and numbers of birds, and realistic expectations on long-term care. (All of which can be found on Poultrykeeper or on here, of course!) Chickens are remarkably resilient and only need safe accommodation and a few minutes a day of basic care, the right food and water and clean conditions,- plus whatever else by way of love and attention the owner has the time and desire to provide.
In return, they donate lovely eggs - what more could you want?

Re: The Zen of Hens

Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 4:25 pm
by rick
If only we all had a hen house and run like Queen Victoria (with poop picking butlars of course.)
There seems to be more people keeping chickens around here but that may be just being tuned in.
I guess it's the same with all pets to some degree, unfortunately. And chickens can occupy any position between pets and utility livestock - they are closer to being 'farm' animals but then they are better off, generally, than a bugie maybe. Or lizards and snakes! - that get bought on a whim.
I would miss them a lot and once the teething stage of right housing is over the daily routine is a pleasure (well, like walking the dog in a blizzard not the best of fun always!)

Re: The Zen of Hens

Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 5:18 pm
by Marigold
rick wrote: (well, like walking the dog in a blizzard not the best of fun always!)
Agreed - but at least our little dog does make us get up and out for a walk twice a day, which is good for our health, especially when nobody in their right minds would have left their armchairs otherwise!

Re: The Zen of Hens

Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 10:51 pm
by MrsBiscuit
We have been looking after my SIL's dog and cat for 10 days, although no chicken. I have come to the conclusion that having one of each makes the day go so much faster, there is so much time taken up looking after them, not that I begrudge it at all, I really miss all our animals. It was hugely enjoyable, being out and about in the countryside, whatever the weather, although possibly this is because I knew it was finite!

Personally I also think the heyday of backyard chicken keeping for pleasure was about 10 years ago, I am a bit surprised to still read this sort of puff piece. But I do think they are good for your mental health, a bit like gardening, or generally being quietly outside. I also can't believe what goes on in some people's heads, judging by the comments :shock:

Re: The Zen of Hens

Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 5:44 pm
by Margaid
The same sort of things that go through the minds, sorry - heads of the people BYM has traveling on his buses! :-)07

Re: The Zen of Hens

Posted: Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:35 pm
by Marigold
ATM I'm trawling through archived posts to move relevant ones to our new subforums and I came across this interesting one from Tim, in 2010, reporting to a journalist about why people keep chickens. I thought you might like to read it.
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2036

Re: The Zen of Hens

Posted: Fri Mar 23, 2018 8:16 pm
by bigyetiman
As relevant now Tim's comments. As are yours Marigold about the people on our buses
Talking of things bought on a whim. One cold frosty morning OH was at work walking along the river wall at Rainham Marshes when she spotted something atop a bush on the salt marsh. Quick look through her telescope and she realised it was an Iguana not exactly known for frequenting the Thames foreshore. She scrambled down grabbed the poor hypothermic critter which was completely immobile stuffed it up under her sweatshirt thinking it needed warming up quick. By the time she got back to the centre it had warmed up and had attached itself firmly with sharp claws to her bra.
Luckily for the iguana which turned out to be some Australian variety someone in the centre knew a reptile expert who duly turned up and gave it a home, it was malnourished as well. Another case of something being brought, when the novelty wore off lets just dump it somewhere it will be ok.
The Iguana is still alive and well and occasionally pays everyone at Rainham a visit