February 1, 2011

It's A Chook's Life

Recently I asked what people would like to know about living on The Farm.  I loved the fact that basically the requests came down to shopping and chickens!  Love it.  I  did actually take some photos a couple of months back as I planned to blog about our chickens but never got around to it.  So today is the day...

First of all - our chickens are not ever called chickens or hens.  We call them "chooks".  To the stage that Farmboy was practicing reading last night and didn't know what a hen was.

Our chooks come from an egg laying farm.  Basically when the girls can't keep up with the required laying rate at the egg farm, they get retired and you can buy them cheaply. Once they get to The Farm and are fed lots of scraps and grain and given a decent area to scratch around in, they tend to start laying again like there is no tomorrow.  I must admit that they are not treated as pets though.  They are not named or anything like that.

Our chooks live in the chook pen which is completely fox proof.  It has a net roof and the edges are well buried.  If there is the slightest way a fox can get in, it will and twice I have lost all the chooks because of a fox digging its way in.  This hasn't happened for ages as we really beefed up the chook pen security after the last fox episode.

Chooks, Doing Chook Stuff
In the photo above you can see all the rocks we have placed around the base of the pen to keep the foxes out.

They are communal farm chooks and the chook pen is near our sheds. We have about 10 chooks at any one time and they get fed grain and the scraps from our house and also any of our staff houses/ quarters that are occupied.  They lay up to 12 eggs a day at their peak.  Most days we get 4-6 per day.  This keeps our house and a couple of other families on The Farm well and truly in eggs.  About two months of the year they just stop laying all together.  Then we have to buy eggs and talk sweetly to the chooks about getting back on the job... Apparently it is normal for chooks to do this and is something to do with a seasonal variation.  It usually happens when the weather is either very hot or very cold.

Here is Farmgirl (complete with purple tutu, which is obviously necessary egg collecting attire) showing off an egg.

You will notice I am wearing a super stylish pair of Crocs in the above photo.  I have stopped wearing those to the chooks recently as there has been several snake sightings at the chook pen and unfortunately we lost one chook to what appeared to be snake bite.

Hence I now wear these.

High Tech Snake Protection Boots

I am pretty careful about sticking my hand in the laying boxes and have a big piece of poly pipe near the chook pen in case I do have a close encounter of the snake kind.

So there you have it - that about sums up the chook situation on The Farm.  I love them because they are the ultimate recyclers. Being able to turn kitchen scraps into eggs is brilliant.


ANB said...

Oooh, thank you for indulging me! You are very restrained not naming your chooks, I think if I had them I wouldn't be able to help myself. (Although if there is a chance of them being gobbled by a fox it's probably smart not to). Did you ever read a kids' book called The Green Wind (Thurley Fowler)? It has some very funny anecdotes about chooks in it. And I love your gumboots!

Amanda said...

There's nothing like fresh eggs! What a lovely luxury.

Semi Expat said...

Thanks for the chook post - love it! You are braver than brave facing snakes - I am in awe... May I ask or am I being naive - do you eat the chooks ever? Or is that too much to contemplate?? XX

MultipleMum said...

Chooks have become the 'must have' backyard accessory in my part of the city. I would love to have the fresh eggs but the flapping wings scare me! Your chooks look contented (and safe!). A great addition to the farm!

A Farmer's Wife said...

ANB - Thank you. I honestly have no wish to name them. Is that bad? They actually all look identical to me! The gumboots are from Target and cost all of $20. I look longingly at the Hunter Wellies but can't justify $200 for a pair of gumboots to wear to feed the chooks and work in the garden. May have to do a whole gumboot post one day.

Amanda - The eggs are fantastic. If you make custard or anything it is bright yellow.

Semi Expat - I am very scared of snakes but conscious of the fact that if The Farmchildren are around I am more scared of the snake being near them. I have only ever managed to make myself dispose of the ones that are a direct threat... And if The Farmer is anywhere around then it definitely becomes a boy job. We don't eat the chooks. They are old boilers and would be pretty tough I think! Although I don't name them I think I would struggle to eat them anyway.

Multiple Mum - The concept of chooks being trendy made me giggle. Can't imagine it. They are just something everyone here has and has always had... The fresh eggs are great and they do get very well fed. I hope they are safe - it gets hard explaining to the kids what has happened to them all.

Sydney Shop Girl said...


I am in awe of the cycle of nature and self sufficiency on the farm. That food scraps can feed chickens that in turn produce your eggs.

I am glad that you are protecting your feet and legs with full length wellies. I don't think your khaki Crocs are daggy though. I have the original clogs in the same shade and they, I think, define daggy.

Take care

SSG xxx

Sydney Shop Girl blog

Emma said...

Oh, I am so envious that you have chickens. Currently trying to convince my husband to let me get some! Your gumboots are gorgeous too. Interestingly, one of my friends chooks have recently stopped laying. She is in Brisbane and perhaps all the recent rain has put them out. Will tell her your theory re chooks and weather.

Brasilian_Babe said...

Farmgirl must be the most fashionable egg collector in the district! :)

Your post reminded me of my parents in law chooks. They've got about half a dozen and my nephew named them all after the women in the family. He named the craziest one (she keeps trying to peck the Munckin the cat) after me, it's been a while now but I still don't know if i should laugh at that one.