Funky Chickens

1 Oct 2007

It's a big week this week. On Saturday our new chooks come to live with us. We are getting six spring pullets but I don't know the breed. A local vet is reducing her flock and we are taking some off her hands.

Funky Chickens by Rob Scotton
Funky Chickens

We have had poultry in one form or another since Andy was about two , so that's thirteen years. Our first little grey hen adopted us and was a wonderful friend though she laid her eggs all over the garden and we didn't fine them till much later. She was a pet rather than a worker .

Next we had three ducks , inluding one drake and pretty soon we had bazillion ducks. The mother ducks, just like Jemima Puddle Duck were terrible sitters and the little grey hen sat on their eggs and hatched their babies for them. She also looked after the ducklings until they realised they weren't chooks and then they abandoned her for the fun loving duck crowd.

Hen by Anthony Morrow

Eventually we had to get rid of the ducks or drown in their mountains of sloppy poo. We didn't ever have a snail in the garden while we had ducks and the lemon tree loved the fertiliser they left for it as they gathered under its branches each day for a chat. And the dear little grey hen met an untimely death when she was savaged by a neighbours dogs. So sad.

Our new feathered friends were three fine hens from an old lady who also sold us our kitchen chairs. These were lovely ladies with gorgeous fluffy bottoms and feather trimmed ankles. They were wonderful layers and although they were only batams we were never short of eggs. A little later I was seduced by the beauty of an old English Game Cock and his plain but hard working wife and they joined the fluffy bottom girls. The colourful little rooster looked after his flock well and we had lots of eggs and chicks as well.

We found foster homes for those we didn't need although homes for the roosters were often difficult to find. I'm sad to say we eventually had to have our fine old rooster put down as we couldn't find a home for him and one of our neighbours was complaining about the crowing in the wee small hours. So no more babies but still plenty of eggs.

The only addition to the flock after this was three chicks given as Christmas gifts to the children. Two were attacked by cats ( not ours of course) and the one that survived grew into a truly magnificent black and white spotted Rooster. Within seconds of him finding his marvellous voice the neighbour was on the phone. This time I found a kind home for him where he could have his own flock and free range happily all day.

At the end of last summer our last chook died. She had been alone for some months and I hadn't wanted to make her last months unpleasant by bringing in a new crew and having them bully her. Her egg laying had become infrequent and the eggs often had unformed soft shells.

So now we have to make the henhouse pretty for the new girls. Stephen has been working so hard on the garden, it is looking beautiful. I've done a little but I have so many dolls to finish at the moment that I can't do much. The children have been helping as they can. Finally the lower garden is looking welcoming again and with all the spring growth it is a wonderful place to be and I think a perfect antidote for Stephen to a day spent in the office. With the days drawing out he has time each twilight to garden and he loves it.

Children Feeding Cocks and Hens by Randolph Caldecott

15 Responses to “Funky Chickens”

  1. We have new chickens this year too... we call 'em "chickabiddies" or "biddies" rather than chooks. We got 2 auracanas and 2 barred rock hens this spring, to go with our 4 old ladies: another 2 aracanas and 2 dominiques. The old ladies rarely lay eggs any more. My BIL built us a new coop over labor day with my DH and boys. I will post some pics. The new ladies have just begun to lay eggs...
    ENjoy the new hens!

  2. Oh, Jenny, I have loved reading your chooky tale. Our two little bantams are now laying and their eggs are just lovely; I can't understand how we lived without them. I am so glad to hear that your are getting more hens. They will be lovely, I'm sure.

  3. Loved your chooky tales too Jenny, I'm buying a house and once I move from renting, chookies are on my must do list...I can't wait.

    Where do you get all your lovely pictures to illustrate your daily posts.... or is it a secret? :)

    Thanks for answering my questions about your cat and the knitting too.

  4. whatever hens end up with you will be the luckiest hens in Tasmania!
    I'm going to think about hens again next spring! hope to see pictures of your girls

  5. I have been without internet for several days...was so happy to read all your new posts since last time I visited. I have ALWAYS wanted to have chickens. Is your yard fenced? I am also pondering your routine...I am particularly intrigued by the fact that you focus on the home until a set time in the morning. That is BRILLIANT! Why did I never think of it!?! I am so, so glad to have your blog to read. Thank you!!!

  6. Good luck to you with the new chickens, Jenny! When I started reading, I was hopeful I won't see anything about butchering chickens (I'm a vegetarian :P) - I'm glad there wasn't anything of that sort :)))

  7. I am a complete convert to chicken motherhood - they are such characters. I hope you have lots of fun with your new flock!

  8. Hi Jenny :) You had me at the title - lol! What a wonderful, fun, and very interesting post. Have a lovely day! Q

  9. Hi Jenny, good to hear that you will have chickens again. Our two seem to be making a complete mess of our fairly small garden. Do you let yours range over the whole garden and if so any tips for protecting plants from being trampled?

  10. What fun I had visiting your blog! Your dolls are just adorable! Have fun with your chickens.

  11. Hello Jenny, I live in NSW but just discovered your blog through Jewels. How sad I am that she has stopped blogging.

    We recently got ourselves three Isa browns and we love them so much. We are taking the plunge and getting two ducks too. Actually the man who is selling us the ducks just came to tell us that a turkey is setting the duck eggs at the moment. Ducks are really very careless mothers.

    I am enjoying your blog. It is always nice to meet other kindred spirits. If you see your stats go up it is because I am reading your old posts.

    Mrs MacKenzie

  12. Someone in the neighbourhood has a rooster and I hear him when I'm walking to work in the morning - I love it. If we were your neighbours we wouldn't complain even a little bit! I've got to say, my chooks are as loud as barking dogs some days, much worse than roosters, though they start a little later.

  13. I've always wanted chickens, and I have to room to do so, but my hub worries who will take care of them whilst we are on holiday. We're in pretty isolated countryside, our nearest neighbors a timber company down the road. I wonder if the lure of free, free-range eggs might convince them to come around for a week a year and feed the chooks? ;-)

    Anna Marie

  14. Oh Jenny im soo glad ur chicks will be ok......i love chickens but the neighbours complained (and our areas r close) yet in the last few months they have erected this elaborate avairy.......and we DONT complain....doesnt seem fair!!!

  15. Hi willowcaroline, I've been to visit your biddies. That is a very cute name for hens.

    Hi Kate, they certainly add something to the garden don't they, and not just droppings.

    Hi Belle, the pictures from todays post are from Allposters. If you click on the picture it will take you to their website. The photos that i post are my own and the garden is always mine unless I state otherwise.

    Katie, I can't believe you don't already have hens.

    Hi Martha, our garden is fenced and the chooks do have a run beside te henhouse but we always let our old chooks free range. They were bantams and the new hens will be full size so I'll have to see what a mess they make. I did read once that bantams are more destructive in the garden than normal size hens but I don't know if that is correct.

    Hi Anna, no we would never be brave enough to butcher chickens. We had our unwanted rooster put to sleep by our vet friend because we couldn't face executing him.

    Hi Tash, they are great fun aren't they although I know you had some sad times with one of yours.

    Hi Quinne, thanks for taking the time to visit.

    Hi Willow, as I said earlier our old hens were bantams. They loved to scratch the mulch off the garden and they would have dust baths where it was dry but that was about as destructive as they ever were. I read in a Tasha Tudor book that she makes very low, about6" high fences with twigs where she doesn't want her hens to go apparently they don't like stepping over things and the fences are too fragile for them to sit on. I don't know if that would work but it would be a good use for your autumn prunings .

    Hi~~, thanks for visiting.

    Hi Mrs Mackenzie and welcome, yes I'm sure Jewels is already being missed by many.
    You will have fun with your ducks, they are real characters, messy but fun.

    Hi Kris, yes I have heard a few roosters around here. My silly rooster took to starting his morning routine at about 3am and continued on until the sun was well and truly up. I never actually heard him but obviously it was upsetting my neighbour. Wouldn't it be great if everyone had chooks and maybe some had goats as well then no one would worry about the farmyard noises. Personally I find car noises, motor mowers, whipper snippers and the hated blowervacs the most annoying suburban noises but I don't think you are allowed to complain about them.

    Hi Anna Marie, it is a problem finding people to look after animals. We don't go away very often so for us it is not a big problem.

    Hi Rose, yes neighbours can be a mystery can't they.The joys of suburban living. Maybe you could try again now as they have an aviary. I think bantams might even be considered in the same category as caged birds in the eyes of the council.


Thanks so much for taking the time to chat. I don't always have time to reply but I do read every message you leave.