OUR CHOICE…

Your Chickens - - Feature | Omlet -

Why our writer San­dra Kes­sell and her hus­band James would choose an Eglu When my hus­band and I were given a hand-built chicken shed by neigh­bours, we re­pur­posed an old aviary and em­braced the trend for home poul­try keep­ing. Back then, the Eglu seemed a lit­tle too ‘ur­ban chic’ for our very ru­ral gar­den and or­chard, which is ad­joined by a copse and river and sur­rounded by farm­ers’ fields. Clean­ing the pretty wooden hen­house out was okay – who could re­sent deal­ing with a bit of muck when it was the per­fect ac­ti­va­tor for the com­post heap, which in turn fed the veg­etable patch and flowerbeds? But af­ter a few years spent bat­tling mink and foxes (the lat­ter even showed up in day­light dur­ing half-term when the chil­dren were play­ing in the gar­den) to say noth­ing of the wily in­tent of squir­rels and the per­sis­tence of jack­daws and badgers, we ad­mit­ted de­feat and gave up on the idea of fresh eggs. Our re­main­ing birds were adopted by a poul­try-keep­ing friend and we all, chick­ens in­cluded, we reck­oned, breathed a sigh of re­lief.

See­ing close-up the care and thought that has gone into the lat­est model of the Cube was like dis­cov­er­ing the light bulb had been in­vented while we’d been liv­ing in the dark ages. It’s su­perbly easy to move around (some­thing our heavy wooden chicken shed could never be, de­spite its cham­fered han­dles) and muck­ing it out is as sim­ple as pulling out a kitchen drawer. As Jo­hannes tells us more about Amer­i­can and Aus­tralian pests, in­clud­ing snakes, which make our tri­als by fox, bad­ger and mink pale into in­signif­i­cance, we can see why the re­lease catches have to be be­yond the wit of racoons. Our hen house still sits in the gar­den, a glo­ri­fied tool shed, a re­minder that we lost the war. Should we have in­vested in some­thing more mod­ern, with built-in wildlife re­sis­tance and kept up the good fight? Af­ter view­ing the new Cube we’re tempted to start poul­try keep­ing again.

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