Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Illegal To Feed Chickens Kitchen Scraps

Yesterday I wrote a post about keeping chickens near the house and one of the advantages I listed was being able to easily feed your chickens scraps from the kitchen, but I also stated that this activity is illegal in the UK. 
This seemed to surprise quite few commentators so I thought I'd look into it more and see if what I said was actually right (I have been wrong before!).
A Chicken picture from last year that I love! 
There are quite a few links on the internet about it but the rules are quite clear here in the UK, anything that enters a domestic or commercial kitchen can't then be fed to chickens.

You could argue a case if your a vegan family but the rules are in place to prevent the risk of cross contamination with high levels of animal proteins (although chickens are omnivores) and to reduce the risk of salmonella.

So the rules state that vegetables, like a glut of courgettes, can be taken from the veg garden straight to the chicken pen, but if they go to the kitchen first then they can only go on the compost heap, as your kitchen is an unregulated space.

What do you think to these rules?

Potentially sensible when applied to commercial farms with sheds that house 10,000 birds, but not appropriate to the average domestic chicken keeper? Or a good rule to help control what chickens are fed.

I'm fairly sure I don't need to put my opinion on here as most of you will know where I stand on this.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Pros and Cons Of A Chicken Pen Near The House

This weekend my dad and I have been carrying on with the extension and one job that needed doing was to move the chickens by the house. In doing this it gives us much better access to the garden to and to move building materials around. 

Moving the coop
This got me thinking about the pros and cons of having the chickens next to the house. I've had chickens living there in one form or another for the past 4 and a half years. It was located about 15ft from the house and was big size, easily accommodating 20 or so chickens. 

Pros -
Easy to feed your chickens kitchen scraps (if you did that, I don't of course as it's illegal in the UK..)
Easy to keep an eye on the hens - more likely to spot/hear problems 
Less likely predator attack - as the predator is much less likely to go so near to the house.
Easy to collect the eggs - I have been known to run out and grab an egg half way through baking a cake. 
Quicker to feed and check water - well it's less far to walk anyway! 
Easier to enjoy their company! 

Noise - chickens even without a cockerel are noisy creatures. I personally like the noise they make but some people don't.
Smell - there is a little bit of smell that goes with a large flock of birds, but cleaned out regularly it's not too much of an issue.
Flies - this year this has been a major issue, we've had loads of lies in the house and we're sure it's from the chicken pen. 
Not on fresh ground - in  a fixed pen like we had by the house you can't move your hens around to give them fresh grass, although they had loads of weeds as a constant supply of greens. 

Chickens on new grass

 What do you think - anything you'd add to the list?
Do you keep your chickens near to the house?

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Extension Progress - Brickwork Up To Damp

So we managed to get a little bit further with the extension this week. Dill, my bricklayer, came for a few days and managed to get the brickwork up to Damp course and start laying some slabs on our patio.
Dill - the bricklayer
 The first day we spent a few hours making sure we'd accurately set it out. To help keep costs low I made sure that all the materials he needed were close to hand and I'd already made the "goal posts" that bricklayers use for setting out buildings. 
Goal posts for setting out the footings and blocks close by

Brickwork up
Now I've got the task of getting the drainage in place before filling the internal with the right layers of stone, insulation and then concrete. That means lots of work before he comes back! 

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Germany Stockpilling

Sol sent me a link yesterday about Germany recommendation to stockpile food and to be honest I hadn't been at my computer much so I would have missed it otherwise.

There are some news articles from the BBC here and the Independent here.

In short  the German Government has advised it's citizens to stockpile food and water for the first time since the Cold War.

This has resulted in what the Germans call "Hamsterkaeufe"  or panic buying. Shelves in some supermarkets have been stripped bare in a few hours with Germans trying to get enough food for the recommended 10 days and water for the recommended 5 days in case of terror attacks.

Another wake up call to keep household essentials in stock, if you lived week to week with your food then a simple news item like this could leave you without food for that week without anything even happening.

Do you have what the German Government is recommending in your store?

What would be the thing you'd have to rush out and buy?

Monday, 22 August 2016

Chilli's Ripening - Recipes Please!

I have a good selection of chilli peppers ripening at the moment. I think I planted about 10 different varieties with different degrees hotness so I'm looking forward to trying them all out, maybe I'll get some friends to play a chilli roulette! 

One thing I have been loving this year is a hot sauce to add to stirfrys, chips, pizzas and anything else that takes a sauce. By adding some once it's cooked it means that the children (and wife) can have it quite mild and I can ramp up the heat a bit more.

What I'm really after is a good recipe that I can preserve my harvest with, I want a good shelf life - and I don't mind canning it. I'm already planning on sweet pickling some like I have done in previous years but doing each jar with a mixture of different chillies in it this time.

What's your favourite chilli preserve recipe?
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