Welcome to the Holistic Hen - Sharing Experiences Raising Organic Chickens, Quail & Pigeons

'General Poultry' articles can be found below or right (mobiles), others are in their respective tabs above.

Organically raised chickens, quail, fantail pigeons and the occasional guest poultry all living in 1000m2 of organic forest garden. The following articles attempt to look at the poultry's view of life in the backyard and to observe and share how they thrive and survive in the environment we created for them. On the occasions when I need to intervene, I do so with a holistic approach to the bird as an individual and also to infer from the situation what this tells me about the general health, happiness and dynamics of the flock. I look at stress management and show how to use nutrition and phytotherapy for both prevention and cure of various conditions. These articles are on-going, they occur either as they happen to us or because someone has asked me for help with their birds and thus to share what I have learned from the experience.


Making a new garden from a lawn or field

How to use your chickens and quail to optimum advantage when making a new garden. Organic pest and weed control at its best and you get to feed them at the same time. It's win, win!..read more


Polish frizzled rooster/cockerel chamois white-lacedHow to care for and keep organic poultry - happy. 

This is Diavolo, he's a Crested Polish Frizzle and he knows more about what he should and shouldn't be eating than any of us ever will...read more

Organic poultry in a forest gardenChoosing chickens for a garden,  Smallholding or homestead 

Thumbing through old horticultural magazines of the mid 1800s one finds included in their columns information on poultry, pigeons and bees. The editorial carries special features on...read more

Polish Chamois Rooster in a forest gardenCreating a food forest garden for ourselves, poultry, wildlife and planet - Part One

Forest gardening fulfils that yearning for freedom and symbolic break-out.. a proactive outcome of taking personal control ...read more

Polish chamois white laced hen in an organic apple orchard

Creating a food forest garden - Part Two - Bare roots, maximum plantings minimum costs.

Starting from scratch and how to build up the canopy and sub-canopy on a budget...read more
Chickens roosting in trees in an organic forest garden

Hens putting themselves to bed in a forest garden .

Don't worry about electronic hen house doors, just plant a tree...read more

4 Homemade Gothic Vampyre Costumes for Chickens

Although I am serious about organic agriculture and sharing ideas about forest garden poultry, most of what we do here is a lot of fun...read more 

Making a new garden from a lawn or field

How to use your chickens and quail to optimum advantage when making a new garden. Organic pest and weed control at its best and...read more


  1. Very informative and useful for poultry farmers like me. Thank you very much!

    1. Thank-you very much Roy for your kind words, much appreciated. Great excitement here, one of my quail has started to sit her own eggs! All the very best, Sue

  2. I need a help my chicken and her chicks have flu they cant breathing properly even not eating anything coz of flu i gave them antibiotic medicion but they not going healty ther healh going more down i m very upsat and loss i tried many things but they cant please help me i early lost my 2 roosters and 3 hens all coz of this flu and they also doing green watrly poop please help me as soon as possible if u can other wise I will lose them too. I am waiting for it reply

    1. Hi there, Firstly this may not be flu, it could be coryza/catarrh, flu is really something that happens in big commercial poultry enterprises like battery hens not small flocks. If they can't breathe then it is probably that their nasal passages are blocked and you need to get these open both so they can breathe properly and also because if they have coryza then they a re detoxing through the nose and it needs to keep happening. I would give them an inhalation and you can give the one in the following film to the whole flock : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gDn4xkARik the recipe for the steam inhalation is one dessert spoon dried thyme, I handful of fresh thyme, I dessert spoon eucalyptus, one teaspoon pine buds in a pan of hot mineral water. If you can not get these herbs, use essential oils of thyme, rosemary, eucalptus and a particularly good one is peppermint - only one drop of each in a bowl of hot water and let the bird breathe in the steam (cover the eyes as it is very strong). The birds need to be kept warm and the ones that are ill should be kept separately from the others, you should also change your clothes after you have handled them as it is infectious. You need to get them to eat and drink, this is very important, otherwise they will not have the strength to fight this. The reason why they have green poop is because they are not eating and are producing bile. One of the best supports for the immune system at this time is turmeric, coconut oil and cabbage, if possible fermented cabbage (sauerkraut), the Chinese actually use this to cure flu. However it must be raw not pasteurised. If you can't get this then very finely chopped cabbage is almost as good. Put the food in their mouths right to the back of the beak and they should eat it. To get them to drink, put the tip of the beak in water, or fresh orange juice would be good too, and just stroke the back of their heads this should get them to drink. Unfortunately giving them antibiotics will have suppressed their immune system and will have affected their gut flora, which is a critical part of the immune system but don't worry you can remedy that. Give them apple cider vinegar just a couple of drops in a dessert spoon of water each, this is also an electrolyte and will give them a boost. Do not feed them any grain, this is basically a sugar and will not help. Feed them fruit and vegetable and if possible beef liver and or insects or other wild protein. What you need is for them to fight this and they can only do this if they eat well. You should also find out what has caused this. Have they been near any toxins or moulds or pesticides because you do not want this to continue to reinfect the flock. The other major factor is stress - so has anything happened in your flock or has anything changed? Fluctuations in weather can also cause serious stress problems also deficiencies in food - have they been getting plenty of greenery, such a leafy vegetables and what about their protein levels? Do they just eat grain? Hope this helps. Really good luck, Pavlovafowl aka Sue

    2. Sorry here is the live link for the steam inhalation film https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gDn4xkARik All the best, Sue

  3. Absolutely love your posts! Forest gardening is something I've admired for a long time, but this is the first time I've come across catering for chickens too. Very inspiring as I love my little family of poultry.

    1. I'm so sorry I only just found your comment but it is still very much appreciated, thank-you. Forest gardening with poultry is wonderful fun for us and I hope the birds alike. They have, in many ways reverted to jungle fowl, forming their own small flocks within their own boundaries, defined by a hedge or rose arch... They also seem to have a structure of complex hierarchies, sometimes fluid but which seem to work, from small groups of 'friends' to couples and families. It is a really interesting study and you get your garden weeded! All the very best, Sue