While the garden and allotment are looking a little sorry for themselves this winter, the chickens are flourishing. Some of the ex-battery girls decided that December was a really good time to moult! Silly things. They didn't seem to mind the cold though, and now Hazel, who had looked very threadbare since I first got her back in February 2008, has now grown herself some knickers and a skirt so isn't showing of her bright red bare bottom any more!
There were 2 new arrivals in December. Becci and Baz and the girls got me 2 more ex-battery chickens to join the flock. Holly and Lavender are both White Stars and have totally different personalities to all the others, being quite shy and sticking together most of the time under the laurel hedge or tentatively coming to join the others when I go out with their afternoon treats.
As the original coop was far too small to house 13 chickens, Adrian helped me to build a super-dooper new coop out of shed panels. It's big enough for me to stand up in, and so far easier to clean. I've added 4 external next boxes since these photos were taken, so there's plenty of room for roosting, perching, laying eggs, and sleeping. One of the nest boxes has been taken over by Holly and Lavender as their bedroom and no-one else is allowed in there after dark.
I've started sowing seeds ready for planting in the allotment when the weather warms up a bit. On the Grow Your Own Grapevine forum www.growfruitandveg.co.uk/grapevine/ there's lots of advice given about "Moon Planting" and I'm following that with great interest. So far, I've got 4 types of tomato seedlings growing well, Aubergine have just germinated, Broad Beans I saved from last years crop are also just showing their first leaves and I've got Red Onions and 2 types of leeks. Hopefully they'll all grow well and I'll get a good crop from them all. I've also started off lots of flowers to add some colour to the front and back gardens.