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Tel: 0797 0594 226

Greenmeadow Poultry

I am working on a book for beginners - watch this space!


Why come to me to learn?

I have kept chickens in both a smallholding and a back-garden setting at various times since I was a child. I grew up on the smallholding where I now keep my birds and during my teens I bred a number of rare breeds alongside keeping one hundred ex-battery hens for eggs, which I sold for my pocket money. In my thirties I kept hens in a village garden. I feel that my approach to poultry keeping is based on extensive practical experience as well as reading around the subject in both modern books and pre-war literature about health and wellbeing. I have a Further Education Teaching Certificate and taught in the community for many years.

An Introduction

Leo and silkie 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?
  • 3 hours, usually 9.30am to 12.30pm, available on demand on most Saturdays.
We spend a couple of hours outdoors looking at real-life examples of housing and pens, from converted dog kennels to an Omlet 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.

From Hatch to Despatch

ChicksThis is a follow-on course from 'An introduction to chicken-keeping'. Again it is divided between theory and practical learning.
  • Hatching with a broody or an incubator. Selecting parent stock and eggs, humidity, egg-turning and candling.
  • Brooding - Care of chicks. Bedding, heat sources, feed.
  • Bringing 'growers' on. How fast do they grow, when do the pullets start to lay and when are the cockerels ready for despatch?
  • Despatching - How to despatch using the 'broomstick method'.
  • 3 hours, usually 9.30am to 12.30pm.
  • If you wish to bring your own birds for despatch, the cost will be £40 rather than £46.
  • Runs on demand subject to availablity of eggs to hatch and birds to despatch. Ideally I need at least four week's lead-time in order to ensure I have eggs at different stages of incubation and birds to despatch.
  • Sturdy footwear and old clothing is required.
This course is very hands-on. It will offer the chance to handle eggs to assess suitability for hatching and to candle live eggs from the incubator. It will also involve a demonstration of culling using the 'broomstick method'. You may also despatch a bird under supervision yourself if you wish.

This course does NOT cover plucking or processing for the table, which is addressed in 'Despatch, pluck and dress'. The two courses can be taken together over a whole day with lunch provided.

Despatch & Prepare

Preparing a chickenThis is a very hands on course. Under supervison you will learn how to despatch a bird using the 'broomstick method', then pluck and eviscerate ready for table. You may bring your own birds to despatch under supervision if you wish.
  • Despatching using the 'broomstick method'.
  • Plucking.
  • Preparing for table.
  • 2.5 hours, usually 1.30pm to 4pm.
  • Can be run as a bolt-on to 'from hatch to despatch' as a whole day course from 9.30am to 4pm-ish, to include lunch.
  • One bird per family to take home. Additional birds taken home, £8 per bird.
  • Runs on demand subject to availablity of birds to despatch.
It would be helpful if you could bring/wear:
  • Old clothes and shoes that clean easily or are washable.
  • A kitchen apron.
  • A sharp kitchen knife and boning shears if you have them (don't buy any specially, but it would be helpful if you could bring them if you have them).
  • Ice packs and/or a chiller bag.
I provide gloves.

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.

Prices & Booking

I am an Omlet affiliate and the links below will allow you to book your course with me through their website. Omlet then hold your money until the date the course is completed and only release it to me after that.

Additional adults, children and whole day courses as described below can be booked by arrangement. Please contact me to arrange these things before you book with Omlet, to avoid disappointment.

Currently Scheduled Courses

If there are no times that are suitable, please contact me for further dates.

You can see feedback and comment from people who have been on my courses on my facebook page Greenmeadow Poultry

Each course, £46 per adult, £5 per accompanied child (5 to 16). Second-adult from same family, £30. 'Family Beginners Course', £100 per family (Max five per family).

Payment via Omlet, Paypal, cleared cheque or postal order a week before the course starts please, or cash on the day. I regret that on the day of the course I am unable to take any payment except cash.

For all courses

  • A maximum of four places per course, six on the 'Introduction to chicken keeping'. I'm happy to run for one person.
  • If 'From Hatch to Despatch' and 'Despatch & Prepare' are taken together as a whole day, I provide a soup-and-bread type lunch around midday. Cost, £90.
  • Smaller children may be possible (free) on the beginners course by negotiation - it depends on how many places are available. Please ask and I will see what we can do to work around them.
  • If you are looking for somewhere to stay locally whilst doing a course, I recommend Bashfords Farmhouse or The Rising Sun in West Bagborough, both within walking distance. Slightly further afield in Williton, is Arden Cottage, a lovely dog-friendly B&B.
Cheryl Arvidson,
West Bagborough
Nr Taunton

email: info@thegreenmeadow.co.uk
telephone: 0797 0594 226

My mobile reception is sometimes unreliable. Please leave a message and I will call back.

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All the information and photos on this website © Cheryl Arvidson 2010.