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Re-stocking The Flock

Re-stocking the flock

Well we are thinking about adding some ‘white’ egg layers to our flock so we have three colours of egg.

So selecting a new breed we first considered our present flock of chickens. We were advised that caution should be shown when adding to an established flock, as a ‘pecking’ order will be well established. Also size and amazingly colour of chickens that are added need to be considered, as the new chickens will become an instant ‘target’ to the flock. Thus new breeds of chicken need to be added in sufficient numbers so as not to become a target from the other chickens in the flock.

It is amazing how breed personality traits show through in the chickens. The ISA brown chickens  are reknown for being easy going, healthy, friendly girls and YES they really are! The ISA brown s will happily let my 3 year old son catch them and pet them. Administering mite/lice powders or medication is also fairly easy to accomplish with the gentle ISA brown chicken. They are also reliable nearly every day layers of medium – large light brown eggs into relatively old age.

We have one Cuckoo maran chicken so it is difficult to generalise her personality to the breed. But from what i have researched she is fairly typical! The cuckoo maran chicken is flighty to say the least. Much to my childrens annoyance they have never been able to catch her. Even age does not seem to slow the chicken down. The cuckoo maran lays on average every 2-3 days a dark brown medium sized egg. However maintence health checks and medication administration is virtually impossible with this chicken. It takes at least three of us to catch her!

The cream legbar chickens are also a fairly nervous, flighty bird. However they seem slightly larger and less agile than the cuckoo maran chicken. This makes it somewhat easier to catch them, although they have quite a peck on them! Needless to say they are the childrens least favourite chicken!

So the search continues for a docile, friendly, large white egg laying chicken  that will adapt into our flock easily. We have room for 4 new chickens so hope they will be a big enough ‘gang’ on their own to stand up to our original chickens. Any suggestions gratefully received!

How The Chicken Conquered The World

How The Chicken Conquered The World

How The Chicken Conquered The World is a great article posted on Smithsonian Mag the other day.

Basically it gives a three page history of keeping chickens and how the chicken as we know and love it evolved and helped shape history.

How The Chicken Conquered The World

 

Keeping Chickens In The Back Garden

Keeping Chickens In The Back Garden

We’ve been keeping chickens in the back garden for just over three years now. So we thought we’d stop and reflect on what we’ve learnt along the way.

Our ‘keeping chickens’ experiment started as just a thought, a dream, a figment of our imagination of how much grander life would be if we had our ‘own back garden flock’; a desire (like it would seem very similar to thousands of other people’s these days) to move further away from the food dependencies that we have built up and reliance we place on big business to do the ‘providing’ for us.

For us deciding to keep chickens seems to have been a long drawn out process and started several years before we actually took the plunge and started out with our back garden flock.

Like most people interested in keeping chickens in their garden, we did a lot of reading and online research. There’s loads of good chicken keeping books out there to dip into, willing chicken keepers, who are generous and free with their advice and chicken breeders who are only too happy to help you along the way with pearls of chicken keeping wisdom.

But as with most things in life though, the more you ruminate over a topic, the more knowledge you gain, the more you weigh up the pros and cons, the more you seem to place barriers in the way of just getting on and doing it etc; nothing can actually replace the decision to just go and do it. When the idea is fixed, don’t let if’s and but’s stop you - if you have decided that keeping chickens in your back garden is a reasonable practicality for you, do it!

Get all the practical chicken keeping stuff sorted; like sourcing a chicken coop, or building a chicken house yourself. Find a chicken breeder and decent chicken keeping supply source locally or online. Decide which breed or hybrid you’re going to have – start with something easy like ISA Browns for example. Then just jump in! There’s nothing like waking up in the morning, trotting down to the end of the garden and finding freshly laid eggs in your chicken coop.

It’s been said time and again that there are few hobbies you can have that are actually as rewarding as keeping chickens in the back garden. That’s before you even consider that it can also be financially rewarding!

A great example of this is our brother and sister-in-law who are more ‘organised’ than us, and who actually made a record of all the initial and on going ‘costs’ of keeping chickens in their back garden. It worked out for them that each of their six chickens turned a ‘profit’ of £10 – 15 per year when compared to the price of buying eggs in supermarkets!

Now obviously this profit isn’t a ’money in their pocket’ type of profit, as they don’t actually sell their eggs on – preferring instead to keep friends and neighbours supplied with free back garden eggs as bribes; for looking after their chickens when they’re on holiday, or gifts for people who’ve come round to visit etc.

But when they compare the cost of eggs bought at the shop, with what they give away, and what they actually spend on their chickens; feeding, housing and cleaning them etc, they do actually come out with a ‘profit’ on their ‘hobby’ of keeping chickens in their garden – and you can too!

This is before you actually take into consideration the ‘joy’ the chickens will bring to your life, through owning them and keeping chickens in your own back garden.

There’s nothing quite as hypnotising as watching chickens go about their daily routine in the garden. If you’re the kind of person who loves to stare at a ‘real’ fire, then you’re going to find that you lose great portions of the day just staring at your chickens. There’s something soothing and relaxing about it… I know, I know, you think I’m mad! But just wait and see and tell me I’m not right. You’d pay through your nose for this kind of treatment at a health spa!

So when all is said and done, basically what I’m trying to say is don’t be one of those people who dreams of keeping chickens, sure be practical and ensure that you have the time, space and actual inclination; but don’t let the gremlins of doubt stop you from taking the decision to do it, once you’ve made your mind up!

Keeping Chickens In The Back Garden

Blue Eggs

Blue Eggs

Blue eggs… We’ve got blue eggs! It seems we only just posted on introducing our Cream Legbars to the ‘big girls’ cage and now we’ve got blue eggs. It’s been a couple of days, and we’ve had at least two little blue eggs per day waiting for us to collect so far from our Cream Legbars!

Blue Eggs

Blue Eggs

So it would seem that two of the Cream Legbars have decided to start laying. The blue eggs are small – they seem smaller than the pullet eggs we remember from when our Isa Browns and French Maran started laying.

So you can image our surprise when we walked up to the chicken run and found these little blue eggs in the nest box next to the big girl’s eggs!

The blue eggs look funny next to the larger brown eggs that the other girls give us; in fact it was quite a shock the first time we found the blue eggs as we weren’t expecting them.

The blue chicken eggs are so small they almost look like what you’d expect to find in a wild bird’s nest. They’re really I suppose a pastel colour of blue and the eggs range from a blue colour to a green-ish colour.

Blue Chicken Eggs! Blue egg between an egg from our Isa Brown on the left and our French Maran on the right.

Blue Chicken Eggs! Blue egg between an egg from our Isa Brown on the left and our French Maran on the right.

The image on the left shows one of the blue eggs between eggs that we usually get from our big girls.

The egg on the left is from one of our Isa Browns, the egg on the right is a deeper brown coloured egg from our French Maran.

As you can see, there’s a fairly noticible difference between the colours of the Isa Brown egg and the French Maran egg – although they’re pretty much the kind of coloured eggs that you’d expect to buy in any grocer or supermarket here in the UK.

The blue egg on the other hand is completely different. You can get blue eggs in shops in the UK – usually they’re in the ‘speciality’ egg section – along with the duck eggs and sometimes if your lucky, goose eggs.

Cracking A Blue Egg

Cracking A Blue Egg

So, we had to to try the blue eggs didn’t we! We decided to have a ‘fry up’ with the blue eggs. The first thing we noticed was the shell of the blue egg seemed to be a little bit ‘thicker’ than the shell of the eggs from our Isa Browns and French Maran.

Maybe this will change as the Cream Legbars mature and the blue eggs become more of a normal larger size, but initially it took more of a ‘thwack’ to break the shell of the blue egg.

So we had a three blue egg fry-up – of course as there’s five of us, we had to suppliment the eggs with some of our Isa’s and French Maran’s eggs, but the image just shows the blue eggs frying in a pan.

Three Blue Eggs Frying In A Pan

Three Blue Eggs Frying In A Pan

The next problem of course was who was going to get to eat the blue eggs! We have three kids and our eldest two (6 year old and 3 year old) are very much involved in the day to day care of our chickens. They have been pretty excited about the prospect of getting blue eggs – especially since they’ve all helped with the rearing of the Cream Legbars from one day olds.

So we did the diplomatic thing and the three year old and the six year old had a blue egg each and Tim and I shared the other blue egg…

The blue eggs tasted beautiful! Of course any egg from your own back yard flock taste so much better than shop bought eggs. The fact that you’ve just trotted up the end of the garden and got them as fresh (sometimes still warm) as possible makes them taste all the much nicer.

Below are a few more images of our blue eggs… I suppose from this you can gather we’re pretty excited about the whole thing, so please excuse us!

Blue Eggs Fry Up Collage

Blue Eggs Fry Up Collage

So there we have it, we now have blue eggs. We’ll post another when the blue eggs have progressed from pullet size to full sized and take a few photos of them compared to our Isa Brown and French Maran Eggs, but for now we’re more than happy with our blue eggs!

Blue Eggs

Cream Legbars

Cream Legbars

Well our cream legbars chicks have grown and are now I suppose really classed as cream legbar pullets! All we’re waiting for now is the first appearance of ‘blue’ pullet eggs!

Cream Legbars

Cream Legbars

We have managed to ‘keep’ all of the cream legbar chicks that we had as ‘day olds’ (as detailed on the keeping chickens post on the 11th April) and they’re now getting close to being 19 weeks old.

We moved the cream legbar chicks from the utility room after about three weeks, as they needed a little more room than a large cardboard box, and transferred them to a shed we have close to the main chicken run.

We have lighting and electricity in the shed and although it was mid may managed to keep the baby cream legbars warm using a ‘reptile’ light that we hooked up in the shed.

We fed the baby cream legbars on chick crumb for the first 8 weeks, before moving them on to grower pellets

We slowly reduced the temperature of the reptile light as they developed feathers, until the baby cream legbars chicks got used to being at ‘normal’ temperature and as soon as they started looking like ‘real’ chickens, we moved the baby cream legbars to a spare chicken house that has a ‘downstairs’ run.

Cream Legbar

Cream Legbar

We put the chicken house that we moved the baby cream legbars in to next to the main chicken run, so that our ‘older’ girls and the new cream legbars could ‘get to know’ each other…

After a couple of weeks, we started opening the baby cream legbars house and giving them the run of the garden with the big girls whilst we did chicken house chores – such as cleaning them out etc. The baby cream legbars at first even though their door was open didn’t venture out of their chicken house. They just stretched their heads out and pecked at the grass.

Of course, the big girls wanted to ‘get to know them better’ and a few times we had to remove our two Isa Browns and French Maran from the cream legbars’ house! But after a couple of weeks the cream legbars and the older girls when allowed out together made a large flock and methodically went round the garden together searching for creepy crawlies and digging through the compost heap.

So a couple of weeks back we decided to take the plunge and introduce the cream legbars to the main chicken run and house. Surprisingly – apart from a little squawking and a few pecks from our matriarch Isa Brown (Ginger), things seem to have gone well.

Cream Legbar - French Maran - Isa Brown

Cream Legbar - French Maran - Isa Brown

Oddly the cream legbars want to roost at night on top of the chicken house. Perhaps there is still a little bit of a heirachy issue going on, but we go in at dusk and physically remove them from the roof and put them in the house.

So, all being well it looks like we’ve succesfully doubled the size of our flock and introduced the new cream legbars to our old girls.

All we’re waiting for now is some of those pastel coloured blue eggs and there’ll be another post as soon as we get some. By the look of a couple of the cream legbars, the wait shouldn’t be too long!

Cream Legbars

Buy Organic Chicken Feed

Buy Organic Chicken Feed

We’ve been looking for an easy place to buy organic chicken feed, the problem being is that there doesn’t seem to be many organic chicken feed suppliers in our area.

Organic Chicken Feed

Organic Chicken Feed

We can get hold of normal layers pellets and mash fairly easily locally, but organic chicken feed would be much more in keeping with our ethos in trying to do things as organically as possible.

We’ve used Wells Poultry Housing & Equipment in the past to buy a few chicken keeping bits and bobs. Their service has been second to none and their delivery time has been excellent in the past. They now seem to have (and are constantly adding to) a fantastic range of chicken keeping related goods to buy online.

They now stock Organic Layers Pellets in their ever increasing range of chicken keeping supplies. The organic chicken feed is Farmgate Organic Layers Pellets priced at £13.14 for a 20kg bag.

Farmgate Organic Layers Pellets are described as being a highly palatable feed specially formulated to meet the need for a general, all-purpose diet which can be fed to flocks of mixed ages under any management system.

Feeding Guide
Offer on an ad-lib basis from point of lay. Farmgate Layers feeds do not require any additional limestone or oyster shell grit. The diet is fully balanced for optimum egg production, consistent shell quality, good yolk colour and excellent egg size.

Additional Information
Fresh, clean water should be available to the birds at all times.

So if you’re looking to buy organic chicken feed for your chickens, it may well be worth giving them a go.

Baby Chicks

Baby Chicks

Well the baby chicks have arrived!

Baby Chicks

Baby Chicks

After much searching we eventually found some baby cream legbar chicks back at our local breeder at Southmead Poultry, which is incidentally where our other girls have come from.

Tracy at Southmead Poultry has put up with me phoning on a almost weekly basis, asking whether she had any baby Cream Legbar chicks available, and as always has been sympathetic to our plight and free with excellent advice.

We felt like expectant parents again as we phoned on the morning after hatching to check how many baby chicks had made it. Luckily four of the hatch were girls, so later that day we hot footed it down to Southmead Poultry to pick them up.

One of the reasons we picked the cream legbar breed of chicken was that they are auto-sexing as day old chicks. The boys have a very easily distinguishable yellow spot on their heads, so we knew we were definitely getting girls; who tend to be slightly darker and more stripy.

We knew our neighbours would probably not be too impressed with cockerels, plus we do not have the space for them, so this way they were taken out of the equation.

Creamy Legbar Chickens

Cream Legbar Chickens

Cream legbar chickens are a very pretty silvery speckled bird that apparently tames down well and best of all lays pale blue eggs!

Once we got our new baby chicks back to the house we settled them into their new home. This was constructed of a large cardboard box with newspaper on the floor and a wire mesh lid, a small saucer of food and a red drinker.

Baby chicks can drown easily in open water troughs, so it is worth investing in a chick drinker. They are fairly inexpensive plus chicks are supposed to like the colour red!

Of course one of the most essential additions to the brooder box for the baby chicks is a heat lamp. This is positioned towards one corner of the box. That way if the chicks are too warm they can move away. I also added a reptile thermometer on the floor to keep a check on the temperature - which should be around 37 C (or 95 F) for the first week.

The temerature can then be reduced by around 5 degrees a week until the environment in which the baby chicks are kept in reaches ambient temperature. This is achieved by raising the lamp, until hopefully at around 3-4 weeks or when the birds are fully feathered it can be removed altogether.

Brooding Baby Chicks

Brooding Baby Chicks

The brooding box needs to be sited in a quiet, secure, draft free area. We have a small outhouse/utility room which is ideal. We set the box up the evening before so we could check that the lamp was working properly and maintaing a good temperature for the baby chicks to be introduced into.

For the first couple of days we just had newspaper on the floor; chicks peck at anything at their feet and we wanted to make sure they knew where the feeder was before they filled up on sawdust! Although we changed the paper frequently as they are quite messy, and it is very important (as with any poultry) to keep them clean to prevent disease. Straw is too ‘big’ for the chicks feet and not really absorbant enough.

As we introduced the baby chicks to the brooder we dipped their beaks in the ’drinker‘ so they knew where it was; then we left them completely alone, (much to the childrens annoyance!) as they were still quite sleepy after their ‘struggle out of the egg’ and we wanted them to recover from the car journey and settle into their new home.

A good method of checking whether the temperature of the brooding box is right, is to check on the behaviour of the chicks. If they are huddled together under the heat lamp the temperature may be too low; alternatively if they are far away from the lamp it may be too hot.

Of course it is important that the feeder and drinker is close to the heat source so the baby chicks don’t get too chilled when eating and drinking. Happy baby chicks we’ve been told should be fairly active and move in and out of the heat source freely.

The feeder was filled with fresh chick crumbs. This is fed for the first 6 weeks or so, it is small so can fit in their small beaks, also it is full of all the nutrients that the baby chicks will need; but do remember to check the expiry date on the feed sack as we have been caught out by that before!

Once the chicks were settled and happy after a few days we moved them onto a deep sawdust bed. It is important not too keep them on newspaper too long as not only are chicks very messy, but they can suffer from ‘splayed legs’, as they slip about a bit on the paper.

Stroking Baby Chicks

Stroking Baby Chicks

We all stroke and cuddle the chicks on a daily basis, including our 3 and 1 year old who are amazingly gentle and calm. The chicks are growing incredibly fast and already getting wing feathers. They are also getting strong, chasing each other around and scratching at the floor like their grown up counterparts, I was quite pleased that we added a wire mesh lid to the brooder box!

The utility room where they are is next to the kitchen and it is lovely to hear the occassionally ‘cheep cheep’ whilst washing up – i shall miss them when they are ready to go outside. Once they are fully feathered up they can go out on warm sunny days from 5-6 weeks although they may not be ready to live full time outside until older.

When they are ready to go out permanently we hope to put them in the seperate run inside the main run. So our old girls can get used to the idea, although we will not mix them until the baby chicks are nearer their size, probably around point of lay.

So there’s the story so far about our new arrivals, we’ll attempt to add a few pictures and updates as time allows over the coming weeks as our new baby chicks grow.

To view a video of our new baby chicks see below.

 

Baby Chicks.

New Chicken Coop

New Chicken Coop

It definitely feels like ‘spring’!

Julia and the boys want more chickens to add to the flock, so in preparation, we’ve bought a new chicken coop.

We went for another self assembly chicken coop from this ebay seller – Garden & Pets. The name of the coop we bought was Large Chicken Poultry Hen Coop House Removable Tray c3t, and at the time of writing Garden & Pets has made over 8600 sales and has 99.2% positive feedback rating.

new chicken coop

new chicken coop

We ‘won’ the chicken coop with a winning bid of £86.50, which we thought was a bargain price, for the quality of this chicken coop is plain to see in the image.

The seem to be a ready supply of different styles at different budgets listed on Garden & Pets‘ ebay shop.

Within 24 hours of our ‘winning bid’, the chicken coop arrived via courier and I must say that Garden & Pets‘ delivery time was fantastic.

Now all we need to do is build it, (I’ll attempt to do a photo journal of this like the last time) and treat it to try and prevent the red mites being able to take hold.

We’ve been thinking about getting some Cotswold Legbars as they lay a ‘blue’ egg. It would appear that Cotswold Legbars are as rare as ‘hen’s teeth’ in our area, and we may end up paying Philip of Legbars of Broadway a visit to get hold of some.

We’ll update with more on the new additions to the flock and how we get on with the new chicken coop shortly.

Battery Hen Song – Walking In Circles – Interview With Phillip Lee Woolf

Battery Hen Song – Walking In Circles

An interview with Phillip Lee-Woolf who wrote the sad song about the life of a battery hen – Walking In Circles.

Phillip Lee Woolf breeds rare breed chickens, and he has kept hens since childhood. In 2004 Philip started the Legbars of Broadway business breeding Cotswold Legbars (blue eggs) & Burford Brown hens (chocolate brown eggs) for garden pets and domestic egg production.

"a flash of light, a deadly beam"

"a flash of light, a deadly beam"

Philip wrote a poem to illustrate the plight of the prisoned bird, and this was set to music.

The “Walking In Circles” CD is available at the Legbars of Broadway Web site or you can choose to download the song as an mp3.

What do you want to achieve from this song? Is it more awareness by the shopper or a change of farming practices? (or both?)

It is primarily to raise awareness by the shopper because it is ultimately the shopper who has the power to initiate change in production methods. The farmers and suppliers will only respond to market forces. Supermarkets prefer to sell high value products because they earn more money per square centimetre of shelve space, so in theory they would be happier to sell free range if the demand is there.

What is your ideal scenario for “Compassionate farming” (A kinder world) of egg production?

For farmers to embrace the idea that quality at a slightly higher price is better than quantity, and that the majority of their customers actually want a more ethically produced eggs, and from my experience they are prepared to pay. The issue of animal welfare will never be settled as long as we, the public retain the opinion that we have some kind of divine right to cheap eggs. An egg priced at 25-30p is a very cheap meal for one person – a bar of chocolate at double the price is a very expensive luxury with a small fraction of the food value.

If battery hen egg production is the only way we can get enough eggs, how can a compassionate way of farming produce the volume of eggs needed to satisfy demand?

There is more than enough land available for all UK hens to be free range. Suppose we stocked at 10sq.m per chicken (the Organic standard) – which is the highest standard for chickens. Assuming there are 30 million laying hens in the UK Which would need 30m x 10 sq metres = 300,000,000 sq.mtrs. = 300 sq. Km.
The area of the UK is 245,000 sq. Km. So the laying hens would require – 0.122% of the UK land. Since, according to DEFRA:- Grasses & rough grazing = 51.52% Crops & bare fallow = 18.9% Set aside = 3.5% Forestry = 11.65% Then I hardly think 0.122% is an impossible or unattainable figure. So lack of available land area is hardly a sustainable excuse.

The only thing not mentioned which I would like to get in somewhere is the very important point that a healthy Free-Range hen produces a better, tastier egg. Do you have any good quotes on this subject?

I don’t really want to get too scientific about all this. I think we are talking about free-range hens rather than just healthy hens. What I do know is that, without exception, people who keep their own garden hens insist that the flavour, albumin and yolk quality of their eggs is far superior to those of intensively produced eggs. In my experience, a muscular, fit and athletic hen will produce a quality of egg which cannot be matched by an egg produced in the cramped, unhealthy, environment of the battery egg farm, and it is a sad fact that a large percentage of the population has never eaten, and does not know what a real egg is.

Free Range Hens Produce Nutritionally Superior Eggs
Mother Earth News conducted an egg testing project in 2007, finding that eggs produced by free-range hens compare favourably with those produced by battery cage hens. Eggs from free range hens had up to:

  • 1/3 less cholesterol
  • 1/4 less saturated fat
  • 2/3 more vitamin A
  • 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
  • 3 times more vitamin E
  • 7 times more beta carotene

The study involved 14 flocks across the United States whose eggs were tested by an accredited Portland, Oregon, laboratory, and the results were similar to those obtained via a 2005 study of four flocks. In addition to the Mother Earth News research findings, there have been a number of other studies showing that free-range eggs are healthier than those produced by battery-cage hens.

In other words, if you could change the situation, how would you improve the industry?

To have a total ban on any kind of cage produced egg. This has to be the ultimate solution, and if the industry doesn’t embrace it with open arms, then we are saddled an industry unfit to be producing the nations eggs.

If you’d like to raise money this Easter for a worthy cause, all proceeds from the sale of this song will be donated to the charity Compassion In World Farming.

By sheer good fortune I stumbled across Phillip’s site www.legbarsofbroadway.co.uk as the website was updated with the song, and can therefore claim to be the first person to purchase a copy – a fact backed up by Philip’s email to me when sending me the download links!

Do something ‘worthwhile’ this Easter, purchase Walking In Circles, give it to someone as an alternative to an Easter egg.

Walking In Circles

Walking In Circles – A Song About The Sad Life Of A Battery Hen

Walking In Circles – Battery Hen Song

I’ve just stumbled across Walking In Circles whilst researching a chicken keeping idea…

Folks, you’ve got to go and check out Walking In Circles - A Song About The Sad Life Of A Battery Hen.

This beautiful, but sad song tells the true story about the hellish life of a battery hen.

All Chickens Of The World Unite And Crow About Your Dreadful Plight...

All Chickens Of The World Unite And Crow About Your Dreadful Plight...

Every year more than 20 million normal healthy chickens in the UK are sentenced to lifelong imprisonment, crammed into a tiny cage with no room to move and express their natural behaviour.

# The price I pay’s too much to bear hidden from the public glare… #

You can hear a clip of the song Walking In Circles and if you wish you can download a mp3 of it for 79 pence or get a copy sent to you home in the mail for £3.49.

All proceeds will be donated to the charity Compassion In World Farming.

In my opinion with Easter coming up, this would make the perfect Easter gift substitute to giving a chocolate egg… So go on, check the song out and if it doesn’t make you think, then you shouldn’t be keeping chickens!

Walking In Circles

Battery Hen Song Press Release As Below.

BATTERY HEN SONG EASTER EGGS FROM HELL March 2010

“Walking in Circles” is a song written to provoke a perfectly timed Easter Egg debate.
Philip Lee-Woolf, a chicken breeder, has written a song about the plight of the caged hen. Most people believe battery egg production is a thing of the past. Sadly, millions of hens are still legally caged, and as some die, the corpses are not always removed from the cages, so egg producing hens, can be forced to live alongside the carcasses. The dark side of egg production is kept behind closed hen house doors. The industry does not want you to see the sadness of the birds who mass-produce eggs for the UK market.

Phillip Lee Woolf breeds rare breed chickens, and he has kept hens since childhood. “There is no doubt in my mind that cage egg production should be totally banned, because it is a barbaric, inhumane way to produce food and there is no good reason for cramming nearly 20 million hens into a tiny cages, with less space per hen than an A4 sheet of paper, in artificial light, and forced to lay eggs until they are slaughtered. Enriched cages are just another form of imprisonment as they only offer each hen additional space the size of a beer mat. “ (Ref. RSPCA)

In 2004 Philip started the Legbars of Broadway business breeding Cotswold Legbars (blue eggs) & Burford Brown hens (chocolate brown eggs) for garden pets and domestic egg production. These hens, are free to roam, and produce tasty quality eggs; in total contrast to bland, pale, thin-shelled factory farmed eggs. Phillip says, “If you observe a hen, she doesn’t walk, she runs everywhere. Free Range hens, allowed to live a normal active life in the open air, produce superb healthy eggs.”

January 2012 should be a month of muted celebration for the 244 million battery hens of the EU when the ban on conventional cages comes into force. Several European countries (31% of EU caged hens) are applying to delay the ban which would result in no significant ban at all! The new, so called enriched cages are being enlarged by a mere 50cm2 per hen so 47% of eggs will continue to come from battery hens.

Philip wrote a poem to illustrate the plight of the prisoned bird, and this was set to music.
The “Walking in Circles” CD is available on Amazon or the Legbars of Broadway Web site
All profits will be donated to Compassion in World Farming. www.ciwf.org.uk
www.legbarsofbroadway.co.uk – please click here to listen. Thank you.

Some facts about the “Eggs from Hell”
2009 We consumed over ten billion eggs in the UK. 65% were from battery hens
2009 there are 39 million laying hens in the UK 30 million eggs are consumed daily in the UK
Caged eggs 58% Free Range 38% Barn Eggs 4%

The British Egg Information Council (BEIC) claims that the Lion Quality Mark on egg boxes and egg shells symbolizes that the eggs have been produced to higher standards of hygiene and animal welfare than required by EU or UK law. This is despite the fact that it permits the use of conventional battery cages that only meet the bare minimum standards of the EU legislation. The public are clearly being misled about hen welfare kept under the Lion Quality code scheme.

A Mori poll in 2005 found that 87% of consumers think battery cages are cruel and yet only 38% of the eggs available for us to buy are from free range hens, showing that retailers and the egg industry are not listening to the consumers’ needs.

45% of laying hens in cages break a bone at some point during their lives. (Webster 2004/Viva )

In summary:
Consumer power can make a difference. Simply refuse to buy battery hen eggs.
The shopper has the power to initiate change in production methods. The farmer and suppliers will only respond to market forces and will respond to our demand.
An egg produced by a free range hen only costs 25-30p – a very cheap & nutritious meal!
Chocolate Easter eggs cost pounds, with comparatively negligible food value.

Contact: Phillip Lee-Woolf Tel/SMS 078 318 490 36
Lee-Woolf Limited, (Registered in England 1984), Lammy Down Farm, Russley Park, Baydon, Marlborough, Wiltshire. SN8 2JY
www.legbarsofbroadway.co.uk

Song lyrics are on the website.
When choosing your eggs, think of The Song, and spare a thought for the hen- she has a life too.

Phillip Lee Wolf: “Anyone who has kept a few hens in the garden will be aware of their need for a busy life, and offer graphic and amusing descriptions of the different characters, the love of space, running, flying, foraging, dust bathing, and an incredible fondness for human company.
Short of giving every person in the Country a conducted tour, or an uninvited visit to a battery hen farm, we may never alter the egg eating habits of the average UK consumer. To appreciate a hen as an individual, rather than a faceless component of a massive flock, prompted me to write a poem that has now been turned into a song which we hope will strike a chord with the unconverted, and help persuade consumers to put an end to the intensive factory farming of egg laying hens. Why?…Because cage eggs still account for more than half of all eggs consumed in the UK. This cruel and shameful trade will only stop, if we the consumers start to buy a free range egg, rather than these cruelly produced and inferior eggs.”

With music and vocals by Dominic, ‘Walking in Circles’ is a small contribution this coming Easter, towards smashing our addiction to the ‘eggs from hell’, and hopefully, lots more people will think of the hen, its feelings, sensitivity, and the most basic need of all – its liberty and choose to eat heavenly produced eggs. ‘Walking in Circles’ – In short, the message is simple, when choosing your eggs – spare a thought for the hen, she has a life too. Think of The Song, and buy only organic or free range eggs.

Walking In Circles