Welcome to my blog, where a 30-something couple from the UK renovate and extend an old cottage, build some outbuildings, raise some hens and grow firewood trees and vegetables on our Acre in Hampshire. It's a bit like a smallholding but without too many animals, so we call it a homestead - living within our means, relying on ourselves and having a wonderful life!


Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Ready for Hens!

We had a good taste (ha ha) of the amazing eggs that garden hens provide when we were waiting to move into our house. We managed to organise six weeks of house-sitting to tide us over between moving out of Eastbury and into our new home. Part of the deal was to feed the hens - in return for as many eggs as we could eat. There were only four hens to look after, but we still struggled to keep up with production - and they were the egg-iest eggs we had ever eaten!

We lept at the chance of some hens at home, and all our neighbours mucked in to help us out. One neighbour had some surplus fertile eggs, a second had a broody hen and a third had a spare ark - so the prospect of locally born hens laying home layed eggs loomed. Alas, Mother Nature had other ideas, and only one of the five eggs hatched...

Next, we needed an enclosure. I fancied the idea of hens free to forage the garden, but this wouldn't have worked for a number of reasons. Monty loves chasing moving targets - he had a nip at a fleeing hen when we were housesitting - so hens roaming about wouldn't last five minutes. I ordered some fence posts and rails, and some specialist stock fencing with very narrow holes - to keep hens one side and border terriers the other! A six foot gate finished the job - big enough to get the tractor mower in if we need to. Note the rails fitted at ground level - these serve two purposes. Firstly, they reinforce the bottom of the stock fence against digging dogs, and secondly they will allow me to mow and strim right up to the stock fencing without the strimmer line catching and pulling the wire fence.

Lastly, hens need a hen house. Anything well built and nice looking was north of £400 - and funds are rather tight with all the groundworks we are having done. I did a bit of internet research and decided to crack on with my offcuts pile and spare slates from the workshop move. I am delighted with how it has turned out - and I've only had to spend £15 on the feather edge boards. All ready for some hens now!


  1. This looks wonderful, Kristy! Well done to you both! The only thing I wanted to mention was foxes...it looks like it might be somewhat easy for a fox to sneak in a take some/all of your lovely new hens...just a thought! Hope you are all doing well! xx

  2. Thanks Tiffany - foxes are a concern, but we've buried the bottom of the wire to prevent tunnelling, and both sides of the enclosure have free running dogs. Apparently foxes are put off by the scent of dogs - but only time will really tell!