Type: Chicken Keeping

Date: Sat 06 Oct 2018

Time: October 6, 2018 09:30 - 12:30 pm

Location: Near Taunton, Somerset

Rating:   6 reviews


4 available
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About the course

Wheelchair Access: Yes

Dog Friendly: No

Child Friendly: Yes

This is an introductory session for people who are thinking about keeping chickens. It is divided between theoretical and practical learning, including a look at the different breeds and housing we have and the chance to handle our birds.

  • Learn about different breeds - Which are best for your situation? Large fowl or bantam? Heavy breeds or light breeds?
  • What sort of housing and space do they need?
  • Bedding, cleaning, health and hygiene.
  • Pests, parasites and common diseases.
  • What do they eat?
  • How many eggs can you expect?

After introductions and a chat about what each person hopes to get out of the session, we spend a most of the time outdoors looking at real-life examples of housing and pens (including an Eglu), handling some birds and talking about health and feeding.

For the last forty-five to sixty minutes, we come back indoors and over tea and coffee we have a general question and answer session based around what we have seen outside. We also have a look at the fourteen-page course booklet that participants go home with, that I hope covers everything that has been talked about during the afternoon.

You will need to bring sturdy footwear and clothes you don't mind being close to a slightly nervous and potentially dirty-footed hen. If it's absolutely pouring down, the outdoor aspects of the course might be curtailed slightly.

About Me

I have kept chickens for forty years and I think that EVERYONE should have hens in the back garden! I grew up on our family smallholding on the edge of the Quantock Hills in Somerset and in my teens I earned my pocket money by selling eggs at the local market. I still live close by and am involved with my family's business.

Because of family circumstances, I keep a smaller number of breeds now than I used to, concentrating on Barnevelders, Salmon Faverolles and Millefleur Pekin bantams, as they make good broodies for either hatching or fostering chicks. I also keep tiny Barbu D'Anvers bantams.

Until June 2017 we sold eggs weekly at the local farmers' market in Minehead. I still sell surplus eggs in a basket by our gate and I sell hatching eggs and young birds when I have them. I run courses from beginners, through hatching to despatching and preparing for the table (usually on request). I also keep ducks and can run courses on these on request. 

Smaller children may be possible (free) on the beginners course by negotiation - it depends on how many places are available. I also sometimes run 'Family' courses that are particularly aimed at little children; but we are very flexible, so please do ask and I will see what we can do to work around them on a 'normal' course. 

I leave it to parental discretion regarding whether it is appropriate for your children to participate in despatching/plucking/dressing. I'm happy to teach children who are comfortable with it and I give plenty of time for everyone on a course to decide whether they want hands-on experience on not.

A second adult from the same family and children (5 to 16) are welcome on my courses for £35 and £5 respectively - BY ARRANGEMENT, please. Additional fees can be paid on the day if necessary.

Contact Host

If you have a specific question about this course, you can contact the host by clicking the button below. If you have a general question about chicken, bees or rabbits, you can contact our experts here


Latest Reviews For This Host

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Excellent and Informative - Sally,

The course was just what I needed to help me decide on whether to keep chickens or not. Cheryl helped me greatly. Cheryl is an excellent and very patient teacher, nothing was too much trouble and the course print outs are a great help too. Very impressed.

Absolutely brilliant morning - Christine,

I was extremely privileged to have a one-to-one with Cheryl for the Beginners' course. Everyone was welcoming and the morning was very relaxed and informal. Cheryl is a brilliant source of information and I went away with lots of helpful advice for my "girls". It was great seeing different breeds and styles of housing, and to be able to chat with someone who is really knowledgeable. I would definitely recommend this course to anyone, whether they have chickens or not. Thank you!

Excellent informal course, perfect for beginners - Anna,

Thoroughly enjoyed my morning with Cheryl. She is clearly a very knowledgable lady and shared her experience and knowledge on all aspects of chicken care. We were a small group and had lots of opportunities to ask any questions that came to mind. We had the opportunity to visit her chickens, hold them and learn more about the differing breeds as well as how to care for them properly. The time flew. Thanks Cheryl.

Excellent - Sue,

Lovely, warm welcome from Cheryl and a most informative and useful course. All information clearly explained with plenty of time given to course members' individual needs and plenty of hands on time with Cheryl's wonderful array of birds. Indispensable course for novices like me! Will be back!

Great - Steven,

Cheryl was easy to get along with and put over information that was easy to understand, with a wealth off knowledge I could not rate her any higher and would recommend her to anyone. Many thanks for the course.

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