I am looking at a new property, I am hopeful, but nothing is certain yet - the mortgage still needs to be applied for, engineers need to be consulted etc. Early days but fingers crossed.
When one is daydreaming, the internet can be a disaster - but sometimes it helps.
One thing I would like to do is keep chickens. When I was a child in Connemara, my grandmother kept them - as did my friend Sean in Roundstone, with whom I spent many happy days.
Chickens provide food
Chickens provide pest control
Chickens provide a great deal of entertainment- especially for children (if you meet me in a pub ask me about chicken dominoes)
There are several companies in Ireland who provide chickens commercially.
Two I have seen are:
henpecked based in Galway, and present at the Connemara Pony Show (see pics) & chique-hen with whom a schoolfriend of mine was involved -
Both these companies also provide coops, equipment etc.
I remember as a child, a box of chicks being delivered to my Grandmother by Bus Eireann.
|That'll teach him to stick his fingers into the cage!!|
But in getting chickens, I saw something recently that I thought was a cool way of getting chickens and doing something compassionate. A quick internet search will give quick results - but essentially it is re-homing rescue birds from battery chicken farms.
Rescue Hens Ireland is probably the biggest.
Pethelpers.ie - and their facebook page Halfway Henhouse
Nuthouse Hen Rescue are in the North
Little Hill Animal Rescue also - at times - save chickens from mass culls.
Adopt A Pet Ireland have a list of other rescue centers who may be able to help or advise near you.
Afterwards, treat them as other hens by worming and mite prevention. You will probably find the eggs are larger than you will get in the shops as well once they have moved back into full-lay. They can be great for double yokers. Give battery hens a chance in life, treat them with respect and you won't be sorry. The main psychological problem is feather plucking, it can be stressful for the bird on the receiving end of this habit, identify the bird responsible and the vet can snip his beak in the appropriate place to stop this. It does no harm to the bird and doesn't prevent her eating etc, just makes it difficult to get a hold of the feather, they usually stop once they go free range though, although sometimes one can persist. Please don't get a "I-can-do-that-for-you" person to do it, if it goes wrong, you can end up with another stressed hen.
I think its a bloody great idea. Rescue chickens, give them dignified and decent conditions - and you get fresh eggs, virtue IS its own reward.