Oldham Road’s eggcellent plan!
At Oldham Road we have decided to try and become more self sufficient as a house, so we looked at what we could do to cut down our food bill. Support Worker Neil got in contact with a gentleman he knows who rescues battery hens to raise them free range, and arranged to buy some chickens for us to keep in our garden.
The support workers and service users all got together to build a chicken coop out of some old metal fencing and the back wall of our garden shed.
To protect the chickens from fox attacks we have put a door on the chicken house (back of the shed) and attached a rope pulley system so we can open and close it from outside the coop (to protect us from their mess).
Every morning a Support Worker and service user go out to the coop to open the door and feed the chickens with their special feed. When they are happily eating, the eggs are collected. We normally get 2-3 eggs a day which is good as it means we get between 14 and 21 a week, which is enough for us. And every evening a Support Worker and service user go out to close the coop door to keep the chickens safe.
We started with three chickens but as it has gone so well we already have plans to double our brood to six, so our egg production should soon eggsplode!!
As well as the chickens, we have decided to start a vegetable garden. We have dug up a section of our back garden with some help from Robert and turned it over to loosen the earth in preparation for planting.
As you can see in the photos below, unfortunately our garden soil is not exactly plant friendly and so we are awaiting delivery of some very lovely fertile topsoil/compost mix to invigorate our patch and enable us to start planting our wide variety of produce.
Our plan is to grow potatoes, carrots, cabbage, lettuce, onions, some herbs and anything else that takes our fancy (and will fit). As we don’t really have much experience of growing vegetables we will be planting a few extra plants than we need to ensure that we get a plentiful crop.
Looking at it optimistically, we should then end up with far too much food for us to consume by ourselves, but our Acting Team Leader, Valda, has come up with a solution to this ‘problem’. Valda has agreed with The Lowes Arms in Denton and a cafe in Hyde that if we have any surplus vegetables, or indeed eggs, then we can trade these with them for free meals for the service users. This will reduce our food bill even more and will help us to become even more self sufficient, as well as providing opportunities for all service users to have more interaction and involvement in the community.
As you can see, it has taken a lot of effort by all involved to get as far as this and there is a lot more work ahead of us! We would like to take this moment to thank everyone involved and say bring on the livestock!!