Page 1

In ter view Chickens With Lesley Bennett


16 How much do you know about the anatomy of a chicken? And do you know of any illnesses?


keep chicke 08 you favo Contentschick of your or have a fa breed? 10 Do you b chickens from other breede 12 Do you h certain routin your chicken 14 Do you ra your own ch 05 Introduction

06 What’s the main reason you keep chickens?

08 you favour any of your chickens or have a favourite breed? 10 Do you buy chickens from other breeders?

12 Do you have a certain routine with your chickens? 14 Do you raise your own chicks?

16 How much do you know about the anatomy of a chicken? And do you know of any illnesses?

18 How is your egg business doing? What made you start selling eggs? 20 What do you feed your chickens on?

22 Have you had any encounters with any predators?

24 How do your other animals get on with you chickens? 26 Do you have any problems with rodents? 28 How many chickens do you have? 30 Reflection


18 How is your egg business doing? What made you start selling eggs? 20 What do you feed your chickens 4


In troduction In troduction

This publication is an interview on my chosen subject – Keeping Chickens. I am conducting my interview with my mum’s friend Lesley as she knows a lot more about chickens than I do. Ever since she was young she has owned chickens, on the farm she grew up on. Therefore, I thought before I indulge any further into how to keep chickens, I would ask her a few key

questions on some aspects of chicken keeping I am not so confident about. Whenever we have a question or concern about a chicken she is the first one on the phone. She knows more about chickens than anybody else I know, as well as having chickens as pets, she also has a free range egg business when she produces and sells to local shops and garden centres. Most

of her knowledge about chickens has been learnt from her mother, Les says she used to watch her mum from a very early age out in the chicken pens. She has learnt a lot by just being in the trade too, selling chickens and eggs.

5

The interview is going to qualitative and free flowing, more of a conversation. I want Lesley not to feel pressured, and be able to talk freely and truthfully about the experiences and difficulties she may have encountered throughout her years of keeping chickens.

I am conducting the interview sat in her back garden overlooking the fields of sheep and cattle while her chickens scratch around under the table waiting for me to give up my biscuit. Her farm is an ideal sanctuary to keep chickens, along with all her other poultry and farm animals.


'what's th e main reason you keep chickens? '

6


'what's th e main reason you keep chickens? ' This publication is an interview on my chosen subject – Keeping Chickens. I am conducting my interview with my mum’s friend Lesley

as she knows a lot more about chickens than I do. Ever since she was young she has owned chickens, on the farm she grew up on. Therefore, I thought before I

7

indulge any further into how to keep chickens, I would ask her a few key


'Do you favour any of your chickens or have a favouri te breed? ' Favourites come and go, my favourites are usually the older chickens though, the ones I’ve reared from chicks and have spent their whole life on the farm with me. They understand that I’m not going to harm them and therefore are the friendliest. Favourite breed though would probably have to be Bantams, Pekin Bantams usually. My son Jamie gave me a few not long ago, and now it seems to

8

be all I have at the moment, well out of the chickens that live in the garden that is. They have a content, docile nature not flighty birds generally but can be harder to tame than some breeds.


'Do you favour any of your chickens or have a favouri te breed? ' 9


'Do you buy chickens from oth er breeders? '

10


'Do you buy chickens from oth er breeders? ' I do buy chickens, from a variety of breeders though. I normally go with my son to the poultry market every month or so, either in Hereford, Ross-onwye or Cirencester. The market houses over 400 birds selling all types of poultry from geese to pigeons. They are lined up in cages with numbers on, they get

auctioned off cage by cage. You have no idea who the breeder is or where the birds have come from if it doesn’t say on the cage. You just have to go by your knowledge and instincts about chickens as whether the bird/birds is healthy and suitable. I can say I have never bought a bad batch back.

11


'Do you have a certain routine wi th your chickens? '

12


'Do you have a certain routine wi th your chickens? ' My routine starts at about 6.00am. After breakfast the pet chickens are next to be fed, they are only outside the back door so it doesn’t take long. I let them out their runs feed and water them all together in the drive. Then off up the farm to feed the

free-range chickens and the rest of the farm animals. The chickens fil their day with scratching about

13

the garden, escaping into the field, laying eggs in their pens etc. I feed them scraps and greens around 2o’clock, then back out at 5.30pm to shut them up. They are good and are usually in by then, unless it’s really light stil .


'Do you raise your own chicks? ' I do raise chicks but not often, only if a hen gets broody and chicks hatch I wil raise them, but I don’t encourage them to have chicks as there is enough baby animals on the farm as it is. My youngest son does love it when we get chicks hatching though.

14


'Do you raise your own chicks? '

15


'How much do you know about th e anatomy of a chicken? And do you know of any illnesses? ' 16


'How much do you know about th e anatomy of a chicken? Oh god (laughs). I know the basics, mainly the digestion side of the anatomy. I know the crops

purpose and how to prevent or help cure problems with that. I know quite a few il nesses off

the top of my head; Bumblefoot - an infection underneath the foot, Coccidiosis – a parasite that

is ingested by the bird, and attacks the digestive system and gut, tell tail signs of this are blood in their

poo. Marek’s Disease – highly contagious disease that attacks the white blood sells and immune

system in chickens, causing them to have paralysis in there legs and is always fatal. Thats the

main most common il nesses I know that are internal. Other problems like eye infections and ear

mites are a lot easier to spot and treat.

17


'How is your egg business doing? What made It is going very well thank you. I deliver to a list of local clients regularly and am making steady profit. I started it just for a bit of extra money, as keeping the chickens costs me next to nothing anyway, and we already have the land and hen houses.

It wasn’t a hard business to set up, due to our good reputation with our sales of livestock some traders didn’t need much convincing. Evidence of conditions and birds was required at some local establishments but I would expect nothing less.

18


'How is your egg business doing? What made you start selling eggs? ' 19


'What do you feed your chickens on? ' My chickens are fed on Layer’s pellets. They also have corn and grit regularly, as well as scraps from the kitchen, greens, fruit, bread etc.

20


'What do you feed your chickens on? '

21


'Have you had any encoun ters wi th any predators? ' We have had countless encounters with foxes ever since I can remember. As it’s a working farm we have farm dogs that are on look out 24/7 but foxes are very sly, the dogs go inside for 10 minutes and they can take the whole flock. It’s disheartening when situations like this occur, especial y when it leaves behind such a mess. I always have my pet hens roaming around the garden though, they learn to stay inside the gate and if they have any sense, not to enter into the big field. Other predators like hawks and badgers we don’t have a problem with here.

22


'Have you had any encoun ters wi th any predators? ' 23


'How do your oth er animals get on wi th you chickens? '

24


'How do your oth er animals get on wi th you chickens? ' I’ve always kept ducks with my chickens, they get along absolutely fine together. I’ve had guinea foul and geese in the past which have also got along fine with chickens. Our dogs

25

have all been brought up on the farm from pups so are used to all the livestock and poultry. The chickens don’t really have any contact with the cattle of sheep unless they escape into their paddocks, which has happened on a number of occasions, but they don’t interact with each other, just ignore each other if anything.


'Do you have any problems wi th roden ts?'

26


'Do you have any problems wi th roden ts?'

Yes, living on the farm it’s too hard to be fully rid of them for a long period of time. We just have

to control them to be honest. Using poison is the easiest way, making sure it’s hidden away from

any of the other animals. Our feed and bedding is all clean any tidy in the barns, but they stil

27

find food to scrounge off. Mice aren’t really the problem, rats are more the issue as they can spread

disease and tend to do a lot more damage.


'How many chickens do you have? ' At the moment I’d estimate at about 20 pet chickens and 30 free-range laying chickens. This is a controllable amount, as the pet chickens are mainly Bantams they are quite small. And the free-range hens need to be a

decent number in order to lay enough eggs to keep my business going. I would recommend beginners to get a least 4 chickens, any less wil argue and bully each other.

28


'How many chickens do you have? '

29


Reflection The interview has given me a better insight into what keeping chickens involves. I learnt quite a bit from what she explained and am now happy with the knowledge she’s provided to go and write my book on the subject of keeping chickens.

30


31


Designed by Amy Richards

32

Interview: Chickens  

An interview I conducted with Lesley Bennett to get a deeper insight in my topic - chickens.

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you