Keeping Hens, in the Town or Country

 The hens have settled into their new home and are all laying.

Happy clucks and soft singing emanates out from the hen house.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe secure enclosure promises to keep the Fox family away…for I have lost too many of my lovely hens to Mr and Mrs Fox. www.bealtainecottage.comInside, the house is spacious and comfortable, with an upstairs and five windows in total!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe system is similar to the one I used in London for over a decade.

It is known as a deep litter system, using lots of straw.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe dirty straw is then used in the gardens as a mega-mulch!www.bealtainecottage.comThe deep litter system allows the girls foraging in a limited space and I collect greens for them on days when they are stay at home.

www.bealtainecottage.comDays when I am in the garden, the girls are allowed out under my watchful eye!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe mulching continues unabated, as the grass paths are mowed…grass clippings are piled onto cardboard as a weed suppressant, allowing newly planted trees to get a footing!

www.bealtainecottage.comThis is the system I have used for ten years and all the fruit trees are producing well.

www.bealtainecottage.comHonesty is in full bloom now and being enjoyed by the bees.

www.bealtainecottage.comMost of the early bees are bumble bees and are most prolific here at Bealtaine Cottage, where succession planting keeps all visitors fed from February through to the end of November.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe painted stone Cockerel stands guard by the front door of the cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.comNewly mown paths allows everything alongside to look lush!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe Cherry tree, grown from seed, stands covered in blossom,  with the promise of lots of Cherries, some high for the birds and some low for me!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe Bealtaine Feast has begun!

www.bealtainecottage.comSeedlings are flourishing in the late Spring sunshine.


  1. I love seeing a Bealtaine post in my RSS Feed Reader. Your garden is splendiferous and most gorgeous. I am getting some really good ideas for our own garden from your plantings. Your hens look incredibly satisfied and healthy and I love the idea of the deep litter system. Every time I see your pots and tyres and interesting garden art it makes me feel good inside because you really don’t need a lot of money to have a garden, just a lot of imagination :). Cheers for brightening up my grey tuesday morning 🙂

  2. The Lunaria seeds that I got from you last year are all in flower now and looking strong and healthy. Do they self seed and spread themselves about? The Aquiligea has also come up where I sowed it in situ! So thrilling! Bealtaine poppies have all germinated as has the Foxglove. I am going to be awash with blooms this summer and i can’t wait for all that glorious colour. Thanks so much for saving your seed.

    • Great to hear! Now is your chance to save seed, as all of those are simple and easy to save…all will self seed easily too…wonderful food for the bees and a joy for the soul! Enjoy abundance! Blessings X

  3. That all looks gorgeous! We are going to have chickens when we finally set up in Atchingtan ( – just for the eggs, manure, and bug-eating, not for “meat” – so I may be picking your brains later! Do you have a rooster as well, or just hens? I’d love to see more pics of the henhouse, or measurements (she asked, hopefully…).

    • The hen house about 10 feet at the apex…the sides are roughly 8/9 feet long and there is a loft. No rooster as I don’t want the hens to breed…just eggs, manure and lovely presence! I shall post some more pics soon!
      Blessings X

  4. Colette , your Chicken Cottage is wonderful. Its roomy with plenty of light and safety. I have just started planting herb seeds in the house. I am excited to see everything in bloom at your house and looking forward to having that here soon. My best to you.

Your comments are welcome!