Apart from Napoleon, the chickens were the first animal additions to Moorparks.
Getting chickens was a big priority for Michele and that meant getting the chicken run up and running again was on my ‘to do’ list. We were very lucky that there was already a run which had been used previously, but the house had been empty for almost two years so the weeds were high. We chopped weeds and small bushes down and were left with a grass area (first picture) to work with.
Although this was a priority for Michele, I was trying to get the cottages ready and make a private garden area ready for each cottage. There was a playhouse in our garden which was in a bad condition (not helped with my inaccuracy in tree felling) and needed refurbishing and a new home. I thought it would be nice to move it into what would become ‘The Secret Garden’, belonging to The Barn. Whilst moving the playhouse into position we realised that having fencing underneath would mean the chickens could also be seem from The secret garden. An added bonus is that the playhouse keeps the soil under it completely dry so the chickens use it as a ‘dust bath’.
We keep the chickens for their eggs, really fresh eggs are amazing. I don’t mean the ones that say ‘fresh’ on the box. They get collected from the farm every 4 or 5 days, transported to the distribution depot, sent out to the shop and then sit on a shelf until purchased……and then sit in your kitchen until you use them. I mean from the coup to the plate same day, that’s great. Yes, I know, it’s strange how the small pleasures make such a big difference when you move away from the ‘big bad city’. 😉
We don’t ‘just’ keep the chickens for eggs, they are great fun to watch (yes, we do have a TV but it’s rarely on). The guests love watching them, collecting eggs, feeding them and even picking them up sometimes. Our chickens are not free range, they have their coup and run. But we do try and make the enclosure as interesting as possible and we also give them different foods i.e. tomato, sweetcorn, salads, melon, fruits.
During the summer, if we get a quiet day, we will let them out into our garden to wreck the lawn!
The girls work hard to produce our eggs, the eggs which our guests get to sample.
All of our chickens are hybrid not pure bred.
The main difference is that a pure breed chicken will lay eggs more consistantly but for a shorter period of time. So, as with Eggbert, when they get to the stage where they stop laying eggs this is also their retirment home.
We always leave some eggs for guests when they arrive, any extra are available for a small donation (which we match) going towards the Devon air ambulance.
2017 Devon air ambulance Donation
The Circle of Life
Unfortunately no animal lives forever. Bringing new chickens to live with us is wonderful, but animals die as well and it’s something we have to live with. We make sure that, whilst all our animals are with us, they have the best life we can give them, ‘pampered’ some would say.
But it’s a sad day when we have to say goodbye to one of them.