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Residents set up their own farm

This story was kindly sent in by Maura Horan, Director of Nursing, Mowlam Healthcare

We are a 54 bedded Private Nursing Home on the west coast of Ireland and located just 8 miles from Galway City. The scene was set. The day had come and a democratic decision was made to get the home its first egg producing hens and save some poor birds from their otherwise short life to the pot.

It was a difficult decision as everyone had an opinion!! At first glance it might seem an easy task to the uninitiated but with a variety of conflicting opinions and lifelong experience in this matter, it was no easy decision. Choosing a particular breed of hen was much more difficult than you might think. Tom and Michael were considering the task of cleaning out! Bridget was worried about the fox. Maureen reminded us that the hens give a lot and ask for very little in return. They are capable and guaranteed to perform well year-round.

We warned them of the danger of ending up in the pot if they did not produce but all agreed the chance to have some beautiful hens and their delicious eggs would be worth it.

After much debate we decided on The Rhode Island Reds or RIR’s as we call them, which are a cross between two breeds of Gold Cocks mated with Silver females to produce brown (and brown eggs) which is named Rhode Island Red. Kate had a theory of how Gold mixed with silver becomes brown but ends up on the table as red!!!

We then had to consider the Hen House and run, and had to make it fox proof. Pronsious had heard the fox at night from his bedroom and knew the fox would be watching our new hens with hungry eyes.

We bought a large dog kennel and run area, everyone agreed this was suitable and the idea that the hens were coming to occupy it soon became much more real and exciting.

Next we had to source the birds. We decided the best places to look for the hens were in the small ads section of the local paper or to download options from the internet.

The residents could not understand this download business. The idea of getting hens on the internet did concern them!!

Having missed out on hens in Moycullen, Gort and Headford on market day, we met Tom, the community Nurse who later became the “Hen man” He delivered the hens from the back of his car.

He sold us 6 hens at the “point-of-lay”. Because they are working hens we agreed not to name them.

All six arrived weighed in at a good weight for 6 weeks old. Such enough they did not disappoint.

The eggs arrived and brown in colour, Free range and organic.

The sentence of the pot has been lifted!

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