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Chickens

Super cute, eh. We had all but given up on raising chickens – just too vulnerable to our rural suite of things looking for a chicken dinner.  But the geese are proving to be pretty good guard-geese.  So when Jenny Craig decided to go clucky, we let her sit.  This morning she had hatched four of the eggs and was still sitting on another three, so we shall see how many there are by this afternoon.

If they survive, the roosters will become poule au pot – my favourite way to cook a chook.  The  hens will join my crew of garden workers come layers, rotating around my fenced and netted garden beds, clearing, fertilizing and doing pest control for me.

A side benefit to intensively fenced garden beds is ready made chook runs.  I can move the chooks around them to break the breeding cycle of any parasites or diseases. At the same time they clear spent plants and weeds, slugs, snails, grasshoppers, and bugs.  I throw them household scraps, weeds, azolla, mulch, cow and horse manure, and a bit of shell grit every so often, and they scratch it up into a lovely layer of sheet compost.  The new roost is working well so far for adult chooks big enough to fly up, but it will be a challenge to keep chickens safe.  Here’s hoping this guy doesn’t become goshawk dinner.

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{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Frogdancer November 17, 2011, 3:00 pm

    Chicks are lovely but such a pain to guard! I hope they all make it.

  • kim November 17, 2011, 3:02 pm

    She is so cute!! I hope it is a she anyway and not poule au pot.

  • Fiona November 17, 2011, 3:05 pm

    So Cute. We have just one little chick at the moment. We left 3 eggs under the clucky abntum but only 1 was good. Oh well such is life.

  • dixiebelle November 17, 2011, 5:31 pm

    Super cute! Good luck… 3 out of our 6 chicks seem to be roosters… roast chicken for us (unless someone ones them to breed with!)

  • Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial November 18, 2011, 7:37 am

    Oh, I loved this post until the last line. Now I’m fretting on how you’re going to keep the babies safe! I’m sure you’ll come up with a way though.. 🙂

  • Sharon November 18, 2011, 8:17 am

    it is cute! we have lots of babies at the moment too, it is a struggle keeping them safe as we have hawks (no snakes thank goodness in NZ). I’ve got them in a safe cage but problem is when to start letting them out as they are always so keen to forage, and I can’t spend all my time watching over them (although it is a very pleasant and entertaining pass time). What breed are your chickens Linda? the look like Australorp? I have just got a new australorp roster and he is gorgeous.

  • Linda November 18, 2011, 9:05 am

    Hi Sharon, mostly they are Australorp bantam crosses, and the daddy is an Australorp bantam, but then we were given some that are a motley lot (including Jenny, and a few roosters that we are eating one by one),and the eggs are a mixture from all the hens. I love our rooster – Bob Black (the last rooster before him was Bob Brown). He’s such a gentleman. Whenever I give them a treat, he tries it first then calls all the hens but makes sure they’re all getting some before he eats. And he roosts at the bottom, the most vulnerable spot. And he’s protective without being aggressive. Such a good bloke!

  • Linda November 18, 2011, 9:06 am

    Poule au pot. The first one is the hardest.

  • Hazel November 18, 2011, 10:33 am

    SNAP! our Jenny (not Craig) also hatched four chicks…three look exactly like this one of yours…and one white one. Congrats!

  • Linda November 18, 2011, 10:57 am

    Hi Hazel, I saw your really heartwarming photos of the stillborn chick, so miraculously curled up to fit in an egg. Life is amazing.

  • Linda November 18, 2011, 6:00 pm

    Congratulations! That is just the cutest little chicken. We’ve been talking about buying some eggs to get our flock back up to a decent size after a horrible fox attack. After seeing this post, I am really keen.

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