buy chickens
Garden Progress

Where can I buy chickens?

First of all you need to rethink this idea. Rather than buy chickens why not think, instead about rehoming an ex battery hen through British Hen Welfare Trust? They are not just ex-battery hens, some are ex caged hens. The difference being very subtle compared to how they will be living in your backyard!

buy chickens from a known charity
This is Esme a few days after we bought her from BHWT. She was missing a lot of feathers, but not as badly as one of her sisters, but they are now full on fluff butts

Reasons to buy chickens from a rehoming charity

  1. expert help and advice on hand all the time
  2. they are known to be daily layers of wonderful eggs, once they are fully free range eggs they will rock your socks off
  3. they are super confident and nosy confident ex battery hens
  4. our girls are fearless and very gentle with smaller children, this is also good for the kids as they want to rescue more chickens!
  5. hens bred for the mass market tend towards hardiness, they are the perfect ‘first’ chicken.
  6. our girls have grown feathers and become true garden divas!
to buy chickens or not to buy chickens?
we love the company of our girls in the garden.

Are you ready to buy chickens?

You need to get prepared for your chickens or ex-battery hens and then you can start to look at re homing dates.

Basic kits you will need in your backyard includes ;

a large chicken coop like this one should happily house 4-6 hens.

We then made the decision to get a chicken run like this one if you do decide to buy chickens, keep them safe as we wanted to have a secure enclosure for them during the day when we were at work. Urban foxes are absolute swines for taking any opportunity to eat your girls. So weld mesh dug around the perimeter has helped us a lot too.
These are essential as you can hang them up and get them away from muddy chicken feet.

Are ex-battery hens for you?

As a family we decided we wanted to move away from intensive farming. One way we thought we could do that was with growing our own food and this seemed like the next step. You can stock up on and still have plenty of fresh food for every day. So if you are at all worried about self sufficiency backyard chickens are the ultimate solution. Ex-battery hens live a long time and will be around 14 months when they come to stay with you. Although they are retired ours have been daily egg producers and we have really made our initial investment back in terms of money. However you will love to spend hours watching them mooch around the garden.

You can also buy chickens that are ex-battery hens from another great charity.

Other areas of self sufficiency you may like..

cold smoke generator

crochet heart made from scrap yarn

Simple Crochet Heart Pattern

A crochet heart is a lovely addition to any gift set, whether it is for Valentine’s day or any token of love. We wanted to show you a simple pattern and offer you the chance to try crochet for yourself!

For Your Crochet Heart You Will Need

    1. Crochet hooks
    2. Cotton red yarn or any scrap yarn you have.

YouTube Tutorial


How to make a magic circle

crochet heart Bring the tail through to the front of your fingers, wrapping the wool from the ball around under and behind.

crochet magic circle
Then take the top wool across the original piece. Forming a crossover.
hearts for valentines day
Then using your crochet hook, pull the second thread of wool through, I twist here to help keep the tension.
chain three
then chain three into the loop you have created.

Now to make the crochet heart

You will need to do three trebles into the magic circle. Ensure that you keep the tail to the left and that you incorporate it into the stitches. 

Then you will crochet 3 doubles into the circle. Finishing with a treble at the point.

Now you work your way back up in reverse. 3 doubles, followed by 3 trebles. Then chain three and push your hoot through the centre of the tightened crochet heart and create a slip stitch. 

Tie it to the back with a half reef knot, left over right and under. This way you will have a smooth peachy bump either side of the heart. 

easy beginners crochet project  

For me this is an ideal beginners project but you could try to Crochet Face Scrubbies for your next project, or even go a slightly higher level with Waffle Stitch Crochet as I love the effect. 

We have lots of other ideas you may love including Peg Loom Rag Rug as a fun traditional way to use up scrap materials.

needle felting with cookie cutters
crafts, Uncategorized

Needle Felting with Cookie Cutters

Needle felting with cutters is the ideal beginners project. You can create any shape without the need to be highly skilled whilst protecting your fingers from getting a little stabbed with the needle.

Needle Felting Supplies

you will need roving wool in any colour of your choice.  Then you will need a set of needles, normal needles won’t do! If you want to learn more about the best wool for needle felting have a little look at our other articles.


needle felting essential supplies best wool


needle felting essentials
Then take a look at some of the cookie cutters you already own, or try some here. We go for metal ones but just be aware that the end of your needle will be brittle and susceptible to damage if you hit the metal.

weird and wacky cookie cutters for needle felting projects

YouTube Tutorial


Using the Cookie Cutters

roving wool used for needle felting
You will start as normal with gathering the roving wool. Do not use scissors to cut it as we want those raggedy edges to form the entanglement and therefore the felting effect.

holding the cookie cutter on the outside gives your fingers protection
You will gently push the needle through the wool, not jab or stab. If you do stab you could break the needle tip on the metal. If you push down too far it will attache itself to the needle felting pad beneath. This is not ideal as we want to felt from both sides.

Just gently drop the needle into the cookie cutter
Your fingers are protected because they are on the outside of the cookie cutter. You can turn the cookie cutter over and felt from behind, but you can also adjust the angle that you hold your needle at. Just bounce it in but at 45 degrees to make different bonds.

This will take around twenty minutes.  You can hold it between finger and thumb to feel if it is thick enough.

If the cookie cutter is massive it will take longer. If you ant a more dense shape it will also take longer.

Once you take your needle felting out of the cookie cutter it wont go back in
You can then tidy it up once it is out of the cookie cutter. Remember that you won’t be able to easily fit it back inside your shape though.


What next?

We will put the stars into a mobile for a gift, but the hearts will form part of a little valentines garland.

Other projects you may like to try

needle felted baubles

Waffle stitch wash cloths

Waffle Stitch Crochet Face Cloth

Waffle Stitch is one of those crochet stitches that look super effective and are actually relatively easy. I hope to show you an easy tutorial to make your own soft cotton face cloths.

waffle stitch is warm and cosy but also ideal for a face cloth

You will need some cotton double knit. Now I love a variety pack and get them like this cotton works very well for waffle stitch because you can make little matching sets for different family members. It is practical to make them different colours so that you have separate face cloths.

Get yourself a set of these
hook sizes for waffle stitch
and you will be set for any project. For this one we will need a size 4 hook.

YouTube Tutorial for Waffle Stitch Face Cloth


How to start waffle stitch

You will be working a chain in threes. So for the face cloth we are thinking about 21 or 24 chains, on a 4mm hook. For a baby blanket around 60 will be good, don’t forget you will be using thicker wool so a 5mm hook will be great.

Once you have chained to a multiple of three you must add a further four chains on.

Then you will need to complete a treble into the second stitch from the hook. waffle stitch is simple step by step The treble is fully explained in the video but you want to wrap the hook before feeding it through and then bring one more back with you. waffle stitch relies on treble stitch in the UK or double in the US

You will need to put a treble into the top of each of your chain stitches. When you get to the end of the first row you will chain one. keep your waffle stitch neat around the edges with a chain one Now for the waffle stitch part.

We turn it round and complete a treble back into the top of the first stitch the treble becomes the base of the waffle in this stitch Now we can decide which of the two row repeats we want to make. I go for a treble  into the top of the first stitch, followed by a treble from behind the next stitch.  the waffle is being created. So I will then do another one from behind. It is not pulling through any stitching but pulling the whole treble forward. This then creates the waffle stitch look. Two forward and one from on top.

When we get to the end we always give it one chain and then turn and treble into the top of the end stitch. Then we flip the pattern to keep pulling the waffle stitch pattern. The waffle effect is caused by this two row repeat. Now instead of two trebles from behind we do one treble from behind and two from the top. Carry on until the end and then create our chain one and turn to repeat the second row again and so on.

Getting the pattern even

To finish it is really important that you do not give only half of the start, as you can see here it is not even. to get the even look it doesn't have to be perfect but the waffle stitch will need to be symmetrical You can see that the top section is half as high as the bottom so make sure you give one more row. perfection at last! This is now more even.

Waffle Stitch blanket

I made this gorgeous blanket for my friend as a housewarming present and I couldn’t have enjoyed it more. waffle stitch blanket

When you go for a blanket this big just do all of your chain stitches until it looks the right length. Then count them and work out if they divide into three. Then add your four more chains and start the treble back into it as above. I managed to do an entire ball of wool an evening but had to buy softer grip crochet hooks as a result!

Good luck and please do share with us if you have enjoyed making them!

Other Craft Projects you may like

fat quarters
The perfect accessory for a cosy night in front of the fire

best wool for needle felting
crafts, Uncategorized

Best Wool For Needle Felting

The best wool to use for needle felting is called roving. This is not a well organised and teased fleece, but a clean and carded wool that can be easily meshed together. The principles of the needle are that the barbs allow us to entangle the strands. Roving wool allows this to happen easily. The more messy the wool to start with the easier it becomes. It is not a science. However you can get started easily.

roving wool

You want to be able to pull it apart gently and keep the fleece in line ready to manipulate.

Best wool for beginners needle felting projects

This wool is 100% Natural Wool Roving and perfect for making needle felting projects. It is from Corriedale cross sheep and you are also helping support an industry which has been established since 1955.

Perfect if you want an undyed roving wool, but for more vibrancy you could go for best range of colors for wool in needle felting because with this kit you get 50 Colors Fibre Wool Yarn Roving . So you can be as creative as you like. It also gives you perfect freedom to play around.

Needle felting accessories

You will also need a good quality one of these! for needle felting it is great to use the best wool pad for the job as well This one is also rather cute as it is made from natural wool.

These are fancy and it will save you time in the future that they are colour coded too! best needle for the best wool for needle felting there are other brands available but these really will be a life saver in the future.

Needle Felting Projects For Beginners

We love to be creative and hope that everyone can find our Needle Felted Baubles nice and easy for your first project. We are using our new skills to work out the best rare breed sheep for our small holding. So that we can use all of our own produce.

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