The Townie Farmer

Building the good life without knowing a sodding thing

In The Coop

Poultry Farm.

That’s what Rowan Farm was called when we bought it.

We thought the name a tad grim and after an estate agent with exceptionally shiny shoes warned us it adversely affected the value of our future smallholding, we set about thinking up a new one.

In the end a friend suggested Rowan Farm and it stuck.

It was previously called Poultry Farm because that’s exactly what it was for many years.

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Five Oak Projects HQ – with original hatchery funnels on the roof

Our office on site is the old egg hatchery, complete with funnel vents on the roof to aerate the place (also useful when inhabited by Guthries).

It’s been about a quarter of a century since they were last here…

But chickens have now returned to Rowan.

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These are our new Pekin Frizzle chicks.

Despite sounding like some sort of 90s complaint rock band fronted by Courtney Love, they are in fact a curly feathered breed of chicken, who are supposedly pretty good egg layers.

About 260 eggs, each, every year.

We eat an unacceptably large number of eggs in our family.

We’re hoping having over 1500 eggs a year without packaging or shipping will help our gluttony become more sustainable.

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They’ve just come out from under the nurture of their breeder’s heat lamp and been thrown into life at Rowan Farm.

We’re keeping them in the bootroom for a week or so until they’re old enough to go outdoors.

It’s fair to say they have quite an attentive audience.

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Rory is not at all alarmed by the new arrivals

Right now we’ll have to sit tight and wait for eggs.

They are still babies and won’t start laying until around August.

Naming them became a family-wide decision.

So welcome Henrietta, Shelley, Wingafred, Mother Clucker, Jessica and Bob the Builder.

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Now, when we got pigs I was extremely responsible.

I did loads of research.

I went on a course.

I became fully accredited in porcine husbandry.

With our chicks, I’ve got a little cocky.

I ordered a coop, six chicks and a few bits of feeding kit with very limited knowledge.

But so far they’re still alive.

This despite the fact we also have an incredibly ballsy local vixen.

Our foxy lady hunts happily in the day for rabbits at Rowan.

Let’s hope we’ve done enough to stifle her efforts to eat our hens too.

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Avian Adhentures – Our new hens have their work cut out surviving my ignorance and a feisty fox

I’ll perhaps foolishly put the hens in with the veggies.

Pekins are meant to be rubbish flyers.

I’m hoping they’ll stay grounded enough so as not to get up in the boxes and eat all our supplies.

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Despite a recent hard frost we have plenty food growing for the summer.

That’s not to say there haven’t been failures.

There’s not a beetroot in sight and most of my courgettes were killed off by the cold.

But by and large it’s been a fruitful season and we’re heading for something of a glut.

We’re also in the process of installing some new solar panels to take the strain off the biomass boiler in the sunnier months.

Once the panels are in we will have all the heat and hot water we need without having to burn any wood at all between April and October.

Having been told initially by the council we didn’t need planning for the panels…

Turns out we do.

This despite the fact that if we wanted to put a whopping great oil or gas tank there instead we wouldn’t need any approval.

So much for presumption in favour of sustainable development.

So here we go again with another heated planning battle.

On the plus side, it’s given our merry band of objectors a renewed sense of purpose to their border patrols and ranting correspondence.

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The threat of eviction still hangs over us.

In the manner of a bad John Cleese farce our legal drama rumbles on.

The lawyer at the Council looking into the complaint – that our permission to live at Rowan Farm is illegal – has gone awol.

Perhaps our case sent them over the edge.

They’ve left us and others in complete limbo without leaving a forwarding address.

So we still have no idea whether the Council will eventually rule in our objectors’ favour.

Fingers crossed we continue to outfox the naysayers and get to stay cooped up in our heavenly patch.

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1 Comment

  1. Jennifer Martin-Kepes

    May 20, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    Our mutual cousin Pete Martin has a lot of chicken experience. I’m sure he’d have pointers, if you’re looking to enhance their lucky-duck lives, so to speak!

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