12 October 2010

Chicken 100

Have you ever thought of owning chickens but just didn't know where to start? We aim to get 100 Wivenhoe households to have chickens. Initially, we are looking for five households who would like to give it a go. Expert advice will be given, and the group will help each other to source and build inexpensive chicken houses and runs. There are all sorts of reasons why you should join this brilliant new venture. Read the 'Every Egg Matters information sheet below to find out. Then, if you do decide you'd like to join in, contact Jon Scales or Juliet McKenzie on the numbers below.


Jon Scales – 22 Rosabelle Ave, jon@strategycomplete.com – 07909 693937
Juliet McKenzie – 25 Rosabelle Ave.

Aim:  To encourage a minimum of 100 households to keep home poultry
70% of eggs sold in the UK come from battery farms where each hen has only
space the size of a piece of A4 paper and a bare cage with a mesh floor
on a slope.  At 72 weeks they are used for soup etc and replaced by a new birds.  Eggs produced in this way travel large distances and are a number of days, if not weeks old, by the time they reach retailers’ shelves.

There is a different way of doing things.  Traditionally, people in the UK often had a few hens in the back yard or garden.  For some reason this seems to have died out but there is no reason why it shouldn't become popular again in Wivenhoe -
with a little help and encouragement from us.

Benefits of home hens
·               Daily fresh, top quality eggs 'on tap'.
·               Hens fed on grass have much more Omega3 oil in their eggs - good for you.
·               One less thing to carry home from the shops.
·               Over time can save you money – especially for those on tight budgets.
·               Fewer food miles.
·               Chickens eat kitchen scraps - less landfill and rubbish created.
·               Chicken poo is the best fertilizer.
·               They are great fun.
·               They eat slugs and snails.
·               You can give away surplus eggs - or swap them for things out of other
Peoples’ gardens - or even sell them!

A great way of promoting the TTW agenda
·               Countable eggput – can calculate exactly what impact the campaign has on local egg supply – great media story.
·               Quick, easy success – immediate payback for people.  Will link in with other sustainable food ideas.  A way to get people into local food production more generally

What TTW could do to support home poultry in Wivenhoe
·               Use the TTW network to recruit home poultry keepers
·               Do a publicity campaign through local media.
·               Put out a call through TTW/ local paper for any free fencing
           materials etc.
·               Talk to local poultry breeders / suppliers and arrange
           TTW discounts on birds and equipment.
·               Create a poultry group who can let people view their backyard hens and mentor them in how to get started.
·               Create a network of hen keepers who can physically help get people set up – e.g. building runs etc.


  1. You have my whole hearted support, however I have been advised that my garden is unsuitable as foxes roam through at present. But would be happy to be told otherwise or help where I can.

  2. Fantastic! What would you say is the samllest size of patch required for a couple of happy hens?

  3. Great idea. We already have chickens, they do need feeding at least twice a day so it takes commitment. However perhaps a few neighbors could share chickens and move them between their gardens in a coup on wheels, that way they all get to benefit from the manure, but don't have chickens on their land for too long.

  4. Sorry Sharon and Bob, didn't see you both there! The best person to get answers from is Juliet McKenzie - julietmckenzie@btinternet.com. Thanks too for your input Miriam. Some people are going to be sharing the chickens so hopefully they will share the poo!

  5. Well, we've finally taken the plunge and are now the proud keepers of four hens (19-week-olds).
    A beautigul 'French Gray'; a black/gray 'Barred'; a red 'Redco' and a creamy-white 'Amber Star'.
    Their first night in a luxury mansion (an old wooden Wendy-house) - so plenty of space, and one end of the garden to scratch around in. My 7-year-old daughter is thrilled and will probably be awake before the the hens are.
    We collected them this afternoon from Landbase Poultry in Ardleigh.
    Thanks to encouragement from John and Juliet.