When I was a teenager living in Wateringbury, Kent, we kept chickens. We had a moderate garden behind the house, which I was proud to have helped to plan and build (I designed the curved patio area – to this date probably my only piece of landscaping), and my mum and stepdad set up a chicken house alongside it. At any one time, we had up to six chickens – I’m fairly sure we lost several along the way to foxes and dropsy, but I remember we had them for a good few years. They had free run of the garden and, if the bottom part of the kitchen door was left open, they’d wander in and investigate the house. I don’t remember having any real responsibility for them, other than a bit of cleaning and feeding; the clearest memory I have is of chasing them down as they ran, single-file, out of the garden gate and down Pizien Well Road. I don’t know where they thought they were going.
Now that, after twenty years, I’m back in the countryside, I have a hankering to get back into chicken-keeping. I miss building things with my hands. I miss learning and applying the lessons and experiences of nature, growing things. So I’m going to build a chicken house, firstly, and see where that goes. I’ll post my progress (assuming I make any).