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No hens, no smallholding

The first livestock we had were laying hens, and later a cockerel. In fact, while the abandoned stone poultryhouse was being converted into our home, the hens spent the night there, and the days in the countryside around. Once we moved in, they had to move out. Now their descendants are on the other side of the fence, where they have 1000 square meters to themselves.

Their eggs are their main contribution to our diet. Any males that hatch out and grow up, we kill and eat before their combats become serious.

People often think that chickens are stupid. Maybe battery-kept poultry go mad and appear stupid to their prison wardens, but freeliving poultry are pretty smart creatures when it comes to fending for themselves and their young. They are very social animals, with an impressive range of language, as much vocal as body language. If you experiment with breeds, they are also very decorative.

Goats

Canela and palsWe had goats on our first smallholding in Ireland (1990s) and for several years here at Finca El Gallinero. As we became steadily more involved with horses, we reached a point where it wasn't possible to look after both properly. The goats were taken on by a shepherd in the area, and had no problem joining his flock of sheep.