HOME | CONTACT | news | protect | products | feeding | publications
The Kitchen Garden publishes books, sells products and runs courses for henkeepers and gardeners. www.kitchen-garden-hens.co.uk

We hold individual courses for two or more participants.
For more info. see website:

Subscriptions 01823 365 203
General smallholding mag with large poultry section
Practical Poultry Subscriptions 0207 633 3333 plenty to interest if you keep and breed for pleasure, good health advice.
Country Smallholding 01392 888 588 general smallholding
Poultry World for commercial poultry farmers 0845 0777744
Fancy Fowl Magazine for the Breeder and exhibitor
Diseases of Free Range Poultry. V Roberts Whittet
Homoeopathic Treatment for Birds. B Chapman CWDaniel
Poultry Homeopathy Dr BP Madrewar - B Jain Publishers PVT Ltd
Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable - J de Bairacli Levy - Faber and Faber.

Useful Addresses
Battery Hen Welfare Trust. Jane Howorth 01769 580 310 www.thehenshouse.co.uk

Many local Agricultural Colleges run short courses on animal husbandry. Please let us know of any worthwhile courses you have attended on info@henkeepersassociation.co.uk

Founder Members
Sue Carpenter
Elizabeth Lida BVM&S MRCVS
Francine Raymond secretary and spokesperson
Hugh Burton
Fred Ingrams
Melanie Townsend
Jane Howorth

In the Run
*Order chick crumbs from your feed merchant for any new arrivals.
*When your chicks are a week old, prop up the bottom of the coop, so mum and chicks can explore the run while the others are in the garden.
*Keep the cock segregated if he is pestering his wives, but let him keep them in sight.
*Grind up or mash any treats you give your hens for their chicks.
In the Garden
*Protect the lower leaves of runner beans till they've grown up out of reach.
*Cover the bases of shrubs with large pebbles if a dustbath has been started.
In the Kitchen
*For a quick spring salad: add a few finely chopped sorrel leaves to a dressing of 3 tabs mayo to 2 tabs yoghurt. Mix and spoon over warm waxy new potatoes and halved boiled eggs. Garnish with extra sprinkle of sorrel or mint.

In the Run
*If you want to hatch eggs, make sure your hatching stock is kept separate from your kitchen supply.
*Eggs stay viable for hatching for two to three weeks.
*Mkae a note in your diary of the date your broody starts to sit on her eggs and what eggs she is sitting on.
*Calculate hatching day: 21 days from the time they were first brooded.
*Check your cockerels spurs. Blunt with dog nail clippers and file smooth.
*Isolate him if he is over- ardent or purchase a saddle {www.kitchen-garden-hens.co.uk}

In the Garden
*Cover new lawn grass sowings with clear plastic till germinated, then protect with netting.
*Protect new growth with cloches, netting etc.

In the Kitchen
*For a really long-lasting egg to decorate - hardboil for at least two hours. Eventually the interior will disappear. Not for small children.

In the Run
*Time to order fertile eggs from your breeder or swop with a friend for a new bloodline.
*Order new birds.
*If new growth in the garden is under threat, keep your hens in the run.
*To stop hens escaping, get help and trim the tips of the first three feathers on one wing.
*Collect eggs regularly.

In the Garden
*Plant vegetable seeds undercover in pots to give them a head start.
*Cloche or net any vulnerable new growth.

In the Kitchen
*Try a frittata - an Italian flat omelette - adding peas and mint, or chopped leek and spinach, or broccoli and garlic to your usual mixture.
Fry one side and grill the other. Sprinkle with cheese and eat with hot crusty bread.

In the Run
*A good time to repair henhouses and runs.
*Have a complete clean-out and hoover the roof space with a car vacuum cleaner.
*February 14th taditionally the time hens start to lay.
*Make sure they have extra protein,Poutry Spice {see Kitchen Garden website}is a good addition.

In the Garden
*When sorting compost heaps, rmember to layer contents with chicken manure - an excellent activator.
*Let your flock into fruit cages to eat pests and manure plants.

In the Kitchen
*Shrove Tuesday - Pancake Day. Add an extra egg to your batter. Try marmalade and marzipan, or ice cream and warmed honey.

In the Run
*Resolve to clean out the henhouse more frequently. Fumes from droppings cause lung problems.
*Good early Spring tonic, a couple of tablespoons of cider vinegar in drinking water with a crushed clove of garlic. Best in a plastic drinker.
*Your flock may stay in their house if it snows.
*If icy, refill water containers frequently. A large plastic flower pot saucer is easiest to empty if contents are frozen.

In the Garden
*Make sure early bulb tips are protected from clumsy feet.
*Old cabbages are past their best for human consumption, but great for your hens, though may cause diarrhoea.

In the Kitchen
*Make a nest of leftover mashed potatoes, parsnips or any root vegetable, crack in a freshly laid egg and cover with grated cheese. Leave in the oven till the white of the egg is set.

In the Run
*Protect your flock against strong winds and gales with strategically placed bales of straw.
*Hang greenery in the run in an old string bag, so it doesn't get muddy trodden underfoot.
*Animal quality codliver oil will boost birds' vitamin D levels and help with brand new plumage after the moult.
*Keep a watchful eye for vermin.

In the garden
*Leave fallen leaves in the run for your birds to scratch through.
*Don't forget the wild bird population, but follow Defra's advice to feed them in an area away from poultry.
*For breakfast, mix wholemeal bread with warm water during the cold weather. And don't forget, hens love leaftover porridge.

In the Kitchen
*Homemade marzipan is quick and easy to make:
1lb ground almonds
1lb light muscovado sugar
2 whole eggs plus 2 egg yolks
A tsp lemon juice
A tsp vanilla essence

Stir the eggs into the sugar and whisk over a pan of simmering water till thick. Add the flavourings, then the ground almonds and knead into a paste. Roll out flat, dusting the board with icing sugar so it doesn't stick. Have a Happy Christmas.

In the Run

*Pullets may still start to lay, first eggs may be the size of a blackbird's.
*Older hens will stop laying.
*If you've had a bonfire, hens love to dustbathe in woodash, check there are no hot cinders. Obviously they won't like fireworks.
*Make plans to visit the National Show at Stoneleigh in Warks. see www.poultryclub.org
*Visit the Kitchen Garden,at Troston, near Bury St Edmunds for Christmas Shopping 1st - 10th December 10 till 5. For presents for gardeners and henkeepers. See www.kitchen-garden-hens.co.uk

In the Garden
*Save any greenery from the veg plot and hang it in the run for your birds.

In the Kitchen
*Take a crusty wholemeal roll, cut off the top and remove some of the interior {your hens will enjoy these crumbs. Crack a newly laid egg in the hollow, top with cheese and a few mushrooms. Pop in the oven and cook till set. Replace the roll top.

OCTOBER -bit late -sorry.
In the Run

*Feed your flock earlier as nights draw in.
*Make sure last feed is mixed corn - a slowly digested meal that will keep them going till dawn.
*Invest in an automatic feeder, placed undercover, if you are back late from work.
*Order straw bales to provide shelter for your flock.

In the Garden
*Protect pathways to your run with duckboards, roll-up paths or paving slabs. Mind you don't slip.
*Leave seed heads on all plants for the benefit of wild birds.

In the Kitchen
* Delicious easy walnut biscuits made with 3 large egg whites, 3oz caster sugar, 2 teasp. ground rice and 4oz chopped walnuts.

Whisk whites with pinch of salt till stiff, add sugar, fold in rice and nuts and drop in blobs on rice paper.
Top with walnut halves.

Bake in cool oven {300F/150C}till pale brown, but still chewy.

In the Run

Cock crow 6.00am
*Your birds will be in full moult, make sure they have extra protein.
*A tonic will help boost their systems. Crushed garlic and cider vinegar in the drinking water {make sure the drinker is plastic} or mix with a little moistened wholemeal bread. Poultry Spice {see Products Section} is also effective.
*Never clip wings during the moult. Newly grown feathers have a blood supply in the shaft.
*Rats loose their summer homes with the harvesting of the crops and may take shelter in your garden and run. Keep your eyes peeled and clear away all excess food.
*Point of lay birds are ready for collection. Set up separate living quarters for the newcomers till they become accepted by the rest of the flock. This can take some time.

In the Garden
*Extra feathers make excellent compost.
*Old leaf mould heaps should be emptied in time for the next pile of autumn leaves. Let your hens on to the heap first to pick through.
*Once your veg has been harvested, let the flock into the plot.
*Elderberries and blackberries are good for hens. Pick some from the hedgerow if you have none in the garden.

In the Kitchen
*Place warm new potatoes and halved hard boiled eggs in a large dish and drizzle with homemade pesto.
*Windfall Apple Snow is an old-fashioned, but underrated pud. Fold 3 beaten egg whites into 4oz sweetened apple puree. Bake in a buttered dish for about 20 mins in a hot oven.

In the Run

Cock crow 5.00am
*If you are going on holiday, organize a hensitter to come in twice a day to feed your hens, change their water and collect the eggs.
*Consider buying an automatic feeder to make life easier, but human supervision is still essential.
*Check your birds for lice and mites {see PRODUCTS section for tried and tested
*If the dust bath is under cover, add a little powder, and extra wood ash.
*Make sure protein levels are up as some birds are already beginning to moult.

In the Garden
*Let your birds finish any veg that has gone to seed.
*Leave seed heads on plants, so that your flock can enjoy them. Mine have just demolished lots of Milkweed thistle heads - a homeopathic cure for liver problems.

In the Kitchen
*Puree excess fruits and freeze to make icecreams and sorbets when you have surplus eggs.

In the Run

Cock Crow 4.30am
*Hens don't really thrive in hot weather. Make sure that they have access to plenty of shade. Rolls of bamboo fencing or panels are useful.
*If temperatures don't drop at night, replace a door with a netted panel.
*Make sure water is available and freshened up regularly.
*Keep houses clean. Use sheets of newspaper to line the bottom of the sleeping area for easy daily disposable bedding.
*If you normally keep your flock in a small run, think of extending or let the birds into the garden if safe so they can find their own shade.

In the Garden
*Protect soft fruit from predators, but let them have any that is overripe or bruised.
*Dry spots in the border are often used as dust baths. Vulnerable roots can be protected with large pebbles.
*Terraces and places where the family sit, will have to be swept clean regularly.

In the Kitchen
*Favourite summer pudding: Eton Mess, with chopped strawberries, meringue pieces from all those leftover egg whites and cream.

In the Run

Cock Crow 4am
*When your chicks are a week old, prop up the bottom of the coop so mum and chicks can get out and explore the run while the rest of the flock is in the garden.
*Grind up sunflower seeds and peanuts in an old coffee grinder for your brood, and shred lettuce and grapes, so they have a wide menu.
*Order growers pellets from your feed merchant.
*With older chicks, remember that mum starts to lose interest at about six weeks, just as they become more confident and inquisitive, so take special care.
*If the weather ever warms up, take time to relax in the garden with your flock.

In the garden
*Once the danger of frost has passed, plant out seedlings started in pots.
*Net strawberries. All birds love strawberries. And gooseberries.

In the kitchen
*Take a couple of newly laid eggs and wrap small branches of tarragon around them. Leave overnight in a cool place. Soft boiled, they taste delicious, with a hint of tarragon.

In the Run

Cock crow 4am
*If you have a determined broody and you don't want chicks, I usually leave mine for a three week break, making sure she feeds and drinks adequately. After this period she should be encouraged to leave the nest and get on with life. Take her out to the other end of the garden and offer her interesting things to do. You may have to repeat the process many times.
*If you are hatching, order chick crumbs from your feed merchant.
*Keep the cock segregated if he is pestering his wives. Let him out into the garden and leave them in the run. It is kinder to let him keep an eye on them.
*If your cock's crowing is driving you or your neighbours mad, he could spend nights in a large, well-ventilated box in an outhouse or garage.
*Search for missing hens, they could be sitting broody in a hedge somewhere.

In the garden
*Cover any new seedlings with cloches or cages.
*Protect the lower leaves of runner beans until they,ve grown up out of reach.
*Cover the bases of shrubs or trees with large pebbles if a dust bath has been started.

In the Kitchen
*Try dipping asparagus spears, instead of toast soldiers into soft boiled eggs.

In the Run

* Always date eggs with a soft pencil, especially if you are planning to hatch.
* Fertile eggs stay viable for up to three weeks, but set up to 14day old eggs to be on the safe side.
* Only set perfect regularly-shaped eggs and those that are normal sized and undamaged.
* Calculate hatching day. 21 days from the time the broody sits on them � not from the day the egg was laid.
* Make a note of when the broody starts to sit and which eggs she is sitting on.

In the Garden
* Protect new growth with cloches, nets, cages or upturned hanging baskets.
* Vegetable seeds planted directly into the ground will need netting
* Try shredded newspaper or cardboard bedding from your feed merchant, it
will rot down very quickly on the compost heap.

In the Kitchen
* For a really long-lasting egg to decorate for Easter, hard boil for two hours. Eventually the contents will disappear.
* Try replacing bread with hot cross bun in a really eggy bread and butter pud.

In the Run
Cock crow 5.30am
*If you want a change of breed or new bloodlines in your flock, order fertile eggs from breeders or swop with a friend.Think carefully though, whether you really need new birds this year, if Defra wants us to keep flocks under cover, will you have space for more hens?
*Also order any additions to your flock, so they can be hatched and ready for you at point-of-lay {20 � 24 weeks}. You can take pullets as soon as they can be sexed, but they must be housed separately until they are full grown, to escape bullying.
*Spring clean your henhouses. Use a car vacuum to hoover up the festoons of dusty cobwebs in the roof space.
*Dig over bald parts of the run and re-seed with grass. Protect with netting.
*To stop your hens {especially bantams} escaping, get help and trim the largest three flight feathers on one wing to a third.
*Collect wood ash from wood burners or grates to put in dust bathing area.
*Collect eggs regularly to discourage broodiness.
*Check your hens backs and flanks for damage from cocks� spurs and claws. Both can be trimmed slightly with dog nail clippers and then filed smooth. If the hens are suffering, invest in an Orpington saddle www.kitchen-garden-hens.co.uk
or separate them from the cock.

In the Garden
*Plan to extend your run, and then if new growth in your garden is under threat, keep your hens in till plants become established. Set up garden compost bins in the run to keep your flock busy.
*Plant vegetable seeds in pots under cover, so they get a head start.

In the Kitchen
*Date mark eggs with a soft pencil, and give away any excess. Make the most of eggs when they are really fresh, or bake and freeze. The freshest eggs are best poached, then scrambled, then boiled, and the least fresh can be used for baking

In the Run
Cock crow 6.30am
*February 14th � traditionally the time hens start to lay.
*Your birds should be looking at their best, ready to lay, mate and breed. Keep an eye on your cockerel, some start the breeding season over-enthusiastically, especially with new wives.
*Make sure layers are getting adequate protein and encourage with supplements or tonics
*Some of the more heavily wattled breeds can get frostbite on combs. A smear of Vaseline will protect.
*Inspect for lice - small brown insects that live on the bird. Dust with insecticide see Products page Play safe, wear disposable gloves and mask.
*Repair runs, re-paint henhouses and treat inside the house for red mites.
*Watch out for muddy slippery paths in the run. Rolls of plastic paths can be bought in garden centres.
*Bales of straw offer excellent shelter from the prevailing wind.
*Plastic flowerpot saucers make good water containers in icy weather. The iced water is easy to knock out. Refill regularly.

In the Garden
*Sorting out compost heaps, remember that chicken manure is an excellent activator between layers of garden waste, and bedding breaks down as great soil conditioner.
*Let your flocks into fruit cages to eat pests and manure fruit bushes.
Protect any vulnerable bulb growth with cloches or netting.

In the Kitchen
*Sometimes the first egg a pullet lays is tiny, the size of a blackbirds egg.
*Shrove Tuesday � Pancake Day, add an extra egg, some grated apple and a pinch of cinnamon to your pancakes.

While all efforts are made to check out reported information, the Henkeepers’ Association
cannot be held responsible for advice which later proves to be incorrect.