Tuesday, 8 January 2013

The chook saga

Its been a bit of  roller coaster on the chook front over the past few months.... first came sadness, then anticipation, then relief and joy and happiness.

Sadness because  a few months ago our girl Spazz passed away. Something not quite right had been going on for quite a while, sadly something that not even a drive across town to the bird vet and a bill to match could solve. We watched her slowly losing her rough and tumble snatch and grab approach to life. I knew thing were drawing to an end when our other chook Boss also figured out something was wrong and pecked and kicked her away. She died peacefully on a beautiful spring day and  I buried her in the spot where she had dug and scratched the native violets out of existence.

The question came next as to what to do with Boss. Chooks are flock birds and don't live happily alone. At that time of year its practically impossible to find large 'point of lay pullets' as the year's crop has just finished hatching. But Boss had one thing on her mind apart from laying eggs and that was sitting on them.

It 6 of her own eggs to get her to bed down overnight on her clutch and we were ready and waiting. A quick trip out to her home farm at  Bannockburn to collect a precious cargo of 8 fertilised eggs.

Boss sat tight for days on end and we changed her name to 'Miss Clucky Mama'. She only ventured off for 10 minutes to eat, drink, drop a big steaming pile of chicken manure, engage in  power dust bath before bolting back to the nest.

21 days later and the wait was over..... five perfect little hatchlings poked out one at time from a protective 'mum' (we found earlier that 3 of the eggs  were most likely unfertilised and were not developing).

"Hello baby"- still a bit dazed and confused following the arrival of chick number 1

Locked up with the brood.

At first everyone was confined to an enclosed nest box area but within a week poor boss suffered 'cabin fever' with five little ones under her feet and took them all downstairs. They haven't looked back since!
First venture into the veggie patch
As I am sitting here typing 5 little scruffy little things (they look like feathered baby dinosaurs) are rampaging round the yard  scratching and digging running poor Boss ragged in their constant hunt for bugs and seeds.

At home in the garden

With one confirmed baby rooster (hes got attitude already) and another one or two possibles, I am doing my best to visualise tasty roast chicken and how when to dispatch..... (will keep two pullets as friends for boss)

Junior rooster (centre) One month old today! he's already lived longer and happier than an average KFC bucket!


  1. Very nice. They look lovely and that's such a good solution. I'm just at the point of getting ducks with the plan for some being for table, and some for keeping for eggs and breeding. My grandmother was raised on a farm and has poultry dispatching experience so I'm going to get her to teach me how to do the deed.

  2. My dad used to dispatch our roosters for the table I think he tried most of the usual methods but usually resorted to the axe. I don't envy you that task but I do envy your chooks. we should be getting our own chicks in February and I have to admit to being quite excited.

  3. I am a fan of the 'killing cone' method (as demonstrated by Matthew Evans- in Gourmet Farmer series one)- basically the chop but keeps the chook nice and contained in the cone... no running around!

    Liz- I look forward to hearing more about your chicks! Your garden will be reaping the rewards from the poop as well-

  4. Shame about losing one of your girls, but great that things have worked out with these little ones. They look so cute. I am waiting till it gets a little cooler ( well, a lot cooler actually) and then I will be getting my own girls - I cant wait. And thanks for the tip on the 'chop' above. I am a little concerned about the resident brown snake and the visiting goannas though. I am going to have to make a very sturdy house for the chookies.