Chef Clodagh McKenna shares why she loves raising chickens

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Irish cook and nutrient writer Clodagh McKenna surely isn't unsocial successful her emotion for having chickens successful your ain backyard; it's a pastime that is seeing a immense surge successful popularity – Meghan Markle, Lady Gaga and Jennifer Garner each get their eggs from the coop, not the grocer. 

'We're spending much clip astatine home, which means we person much accidental to rise chickens,' says Andréa Childs, Editor of Country Homes & Interiors magazine. 'But we're besides seeking a amended transportation with the nutrient we devour – erstwhile we are keeping chickens ourselves, we cognize that they are blessed and healthy. That's got to marque the eggs sensation better!'

Here, Clodagh, who has embraced backyard farming with enthusiasm, shares what's happening astatine her sustainable plot, Broadspear, introducing america to 'The Girls' – her 14 characterful hens.

Why I decided to rise chickens

Clodagh McKenna raising chickens and eggs Easter tablescape

(Image credit: Clodagh McKenna)

'This period marks our 1 twelvemonth day with our hens, oregon arsenic we similar to telephone them – our Girls! I had ever dreamed of keeping my ain hens; the thought of having my ain caller eggs each time and surviving successful a much sustainable mode is the absorption of our beingness present astatine Broadspear. It’s been a accelerated learning curve ever since they arrived. But it’s similar anything, you larn arsenic you spell along, inquire for proposal and rapidly get into a routine.'

Meet 'The Girls'

Clodagh McKenna raising chickens and eggs Easter tablescape

(Image credit: Clodagh McKenna)

'We person 14 hens successful full that unrecorded successful a beauteous fenced area, sheltered by cherry trees, conscionable beyond my room model truthful I tin support an oculus connected them. There are 2 woody coops perched connected chromatic carved mushrooms that they cuddle up successful each night, that we had made successful Dorset. We person 4 antithetic breeds – Burford Browns, Olives, Old Cotswold Legbars and Dekalb Whites. The eggs are a premix of beauteous brown, achromatic and olive green. 

'The Girls person go members of our extended household – I perfectly emotion them, and each 1 of them has a unsocial personality. Tina (the brag and named aft Tina Turner for her unsocial strut), Goldie Hen, Yolko Ono, Saoirse, Henneth Paltrow and Eggy Pop are a fewer of the large personalities successful the coop!'

My raising chickens routine

Clodagh McKenna raising chickens and eggs Easter tablescape

(Image credit: Clodagh McKenna)

'My greeting regular starts with The Girls. I aftermath up and popular connected my wellies and caput retired to fto them retired of the hen house. As I locomotion person they tin perceive maine coming on and commencement to yelp with excitement (well, I anticipation that’s what the screeching is). 

'Once they are each retired and foraging, I stitchery the eggs (we are getting astir 9 a time astatine the moment), bring them backmost into the house, lavation them and navigator up a fewer for breakfast. Then it’s backmost retired to the hens to cleanable retired their location and get them acceptable up for the day. All the hay from the roosting country gets enactment into our composting pile, and we regenerate it with caller adust hay for the time and nighttime ahead. Feed and watering cans are cleaned past filled and acceptable for the day. 

'At Eastertime, I usage immoderate of the eggs to make my Easter tablescape. You tin spot successful the pictures however I person styled it and present is simply a measurement by measurement truthful that you tin make it too.'

How I decorate my Easter array with my ain hens' eggs

Clodagh McKenna raising chickens and eggs Easter tablescape

(Image credit: Clodagh McKenna)

'To make this Easter table, I layered 2 earthy linen colors: sage greenish arsenic the main tablecloth and past a biscuit-colored array runner down the center. I flooded the runner with bud vases filled with blossom, achromatic aluminum flowers, achromatic hellebores and peach tulips – flowers that are successful season.'

Clodagh McKenna raising chickens and eggs Easter tablescape

(Image credit: Clodagh McKenna)

'In betwixt the angiosperm vases I placed a substance of each antithetic types of eggs from our Girls. Sage greenish candles and candlestick holders were interspersed betwixt the flowers and eggs.'

Clodagh McKenna raising chickens and eggs Easter tablescape

(Image credit: Clodagh McKenna)

'I utilized achromatic pottery plates and accepted achromatic napkins. On top, I layed a beauteous small nest with quail eggs which added specified a peculiar interaction to the settings. To marque these, I collected astir 30 tiny malleable twigs and shaped them into a nest, utilizing ligament to clasp them together.'

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