We love our beautiful chooks! For those of you outside of Australia, most Aussies lovingly refer to their chickens as “chooks”. It’s kind of a catchy nickname.
Anyway, all our chooks are back on the lay after a winter break, and thankfully we are back regularly to eating eggs again. I have missed my omelette once a week for lunch. They are delicious (the eggs not the chooks).
When I say all are laying, I naturally omit Bunty. She is the matriarch of flock and top of the pecking order. She was hatched in April 2008 and we bought her in September of the same year. Technically that makes her 7½ years old, which is pretty good for a chook of her breed.
I shouldn’t say that she doesn’t lay, because about once a month I find a very small papery shelled egg in the nesting box that only contains the albumen (egg white), which I give to the dogs. Not bad for an old girl! She keeps the other chooks in check, and even makes sure the dogs don’t get too close when they are free ranging. A bit like a pseudo Rooster.
Babs is now about 4 years old, and Edwina II is about 3 years old. Both still lay most days of the week, but take a break over winter to allow their feathers to grow back after moulting. Babs is a bit flighty (but has her left wing clipped). She’s not very friendly.
Edwina is a timid and tame lass. She likes being hand fed and picked up and stroked and she is my favourite chook. I shouldn’t say that I have favourites because it only leads to heartache when they get sick and eventually fall off their perch. Heaven knows that has happened a few times since we started keeping backyard chooks. It’s just a part of life I suppose.
And allow me to introduce Chooky Chicken. For want of a better name, this seems to be the one she comes running to! She is tenacious, bold and likes jumping a lot. Chooky is always the first out the coop door in the morning and first to the food. She even does parkour when waiting for me in the morning. She is an egg laying machine! During winter she laid eggs nearly every day, and hasn’t stopped. I would expect that Chooky will slow down over the coming year as she gets older.
Chooky is Edwina’s sister as we got them from the same flock. She also has been getting treatment for scaly leg mites which picked up from some of the local pigeons that try to steal the chook food.
Most of the diseases that my flock have caught over the years have been introduced by visiting birds. That is why it is best to keep your girls as healthy as you can. I give them lots of greens as well as most of the kitchen scraps and their daily grain allowance. They also get crushed garlic with their feed once a week which keeps intestinal worms at bay, and I add about ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar to their water once a fortnight as a tonic. It seems to keep them healthy and happy.
They also get their little house cleaned out once a fortnight to prevent keep away pests. It’s an easy task and provides brown material for the compost bin which is also a great activator. The bedding that is not too soiled is laid on garden beds as mulch.
As Bunty is getting on, I checked out my YouTube video collection and found a video that I made the very first day they arrived in our coop with her three sisters (who have since passed on). Seven years is a long time, so see if you can spot her as a youngster!
If you haven’t got chooks in your life, I highly recommend you get some if local laws permit. We haven’t looked back since getting our numerous girls over the years.
Shout out if you love your chooks too!
CHOOKERS! Love em! We have a mixed flock of older and younger birds of all sorts of breeds now. 3 of our original dorkings from when we moved to Ballan(3 remaining) called Black Henny Penny, and 2 Brown Henny Penny’s, 3 Light Sussex hens, about 12 months younger all called White Henny Penny and 3 named after a friend from whom the fertile eggs came which are a cross between Isa browns like yours and a Barred Plymouth Rock rooster. The hens are almost pure white (a few gold or black feathers). We get medium sized white and brown eggs, lots of laughs, lots of compost and manure and as you say, great weed and bug control. We also have Blackie, our last remaining silkie. Along with 3 female Muscovy ducks, we currently have more eggs than I can count! We can’t keep up with them all! 😀 We’ve had a dribble of eggs over the winter but currently the faucet is turned on full and we take a bucket out to collect them all each day!
Love your video too!
Glad to hear your chooks are back on the lay! I was very fortunate this year, my chooks didnt really go off the lay, thanks to some of my techniques – http://bit.ly/1A8mLB1
Nola Kontjonis says
Love my girls too….have four Isa Browns, called Kath, Kim, Agnes Brown and Winnie McGoogle and two big Barnevelders called Pruedence and Trudie ( of course) they are the snobs. The Isa Browns are friendly and easy to catch, but the Barnevelders do not like being caught, let alone patted!! The Isas laid all winter, but the Barnevelders stopped and moulted a lot !
Have had two extremely big eggs from one of the Isas weighing in at 93 grams and 103 grams!! Both double yolkers.
Use manure and bedding for compost and mulch and the girls provide me with hours of entertainment. Wouldn’t be without them…..??…..cheers, Nola
Wouldn’t be without them! Better than the TV (but have to admit, about as brainless.) I have 4 Barnevelders now…Molly, 4 years old and the last of the original 3…she’s still laying but not as much, and the 3 newbies, Clover, Bonny and Missy, now a year old and laying well. I didn’t have to buy eggs at all last winter and getting 8-9 a week now. Your first commenter is right…Barnies do not like being touched!
Deb McSephney says
I love my Australorps. The gorgeous black rooster bosses them around all day and finds the best little tidbits for them. He checks the skies for eagles and is the first to run to meet me. He’s called Otto Samson Leo I (the first). His five girls are all laying well and our fridge is full of eggs. We had a trickle of eggs through the winter, but now it’s full on. Two of the girls were our own little chicks from last summer. Fascinating to watch them grow and push their way up the pecking order. I use their bedding as mulch around our fruit trees, they seem to thrive on it. I wouldn’t be without the chooks. Just love ’em.
It has been way too long since I have time to read and comment here so I am looking forward to reading what you have been up to. We have moved back to the suburbs in readiness for our move to NZ so have had to give away our chooks. Boy are we missing those eggs.
Gavin Webber says
I bet! I couldn’t live without my feathered girls.