Is this the chicken keeping idyll?
Keeping chickens in your garden (that’s a backyard to our American cousins) has become less a hobby and more a way of life for many of us over the last decade.
For people with a few 'poultry' (sorry for the puns) acres, or those of us with just a small area in our back gardens marked out, the joy and love of chickens is increasing everywhere.
To be able to stroll into the garden and collect the freshly laid golden treasure from your chicken coop, to gently wander back up to your kitchen with the freshest of eggs is a delightful pleasure.
Or what could be more enjoyable than a sunny afternoon amble around the flowerbeds to be confronted by a statuesque Brahma marching imperially from among the begonias, a Wyandotte with their chess board like feathers or a crinoline-skirted Orpington among the oregano?
The sound of soothing clucking mixed in with bird song and the perfumed smell from a jasmine tree in sunshine, really completes the joy of a sunny summer’s day. Of course as soon as you scatter a handful of corn onto the path, your girls come running and your tranquil cottage garden comes to life.
Your daily trip to the hen house will give you lots of lovely eggs, which can only mean one thing; back to the kitchen to bake cakes, make omelettes and the perennial favourite runny eggs and soldiers.
Chickens don't stop when you get to the kitchen door though. If you are as passionate about poultry as we are, there will be Egg Crocks overflowing with eggs on the worktop, kitchen textiles festooned with hens and mugs stacked in the sink, with poultry marching around their sides.
As you prepare your Sunday morning fry up, with fresh eggs collected only half an hour before, sizzling away in the pan it’s the perfect time to get the kettle on. With the tea pot brewing, freshly cut thick slices of rustic farmhouse granary bread fresh from the bread bin, it's bon appetit and you're ready for the tastiest bacon and eggs you've ever had.
The satisfaction of eating an egg, from the hens that you have cared for, makes it delicious. But the added bonus of it being a free range hen fresh from the chicken not half an hour before makes for the perfect scrambled egg.
It’s not that we are obsessed with chickens of course … but chickens can be found all over our house and garden. From cushions in the lounge, to ornaments in the garden – yes its true to say that ‘I Like Chickens’!