Saturday, 13 April 2013

How to keep a rooster in suburbia.....

Ok this is my second chook post in a row, but its an issue that's been preoccupying us of late. How to keep a rooster in suburbia. Lock him in the wardrobe of your spare room seems to be our current answer! Not permanently of course!

Using a 'night box' for roosters is a common solution to keeping roosters in suburbia and it's a technique we have been experimenting with over the past few weeks. Basically the theory goes that if put your rooster in a box/pet carrier and put it somewhere dark and quiet (sheds and garages are the normal options) the rooster is disorientated and unaware that its dawn so doesn't crow (or alternatively the sound is so muffled no one can hear). Catching him to go into the box has proved the most difficult part of the exercise. First we bring him inside and give him a few little snacks. He actually doesn't seem to mind the box, no doubt it's warm and dark and quiet and makes for a better nights sleep than being jostled by the girls outside. Of late hes been jumping off my lap and walking in there of his own accord.

As we don't have a garage our first option  for the box was the shed. Unfortunately our chook pen is a kind of a lean-to on the side of the shed so the minute the girls were up and squawking, off went the rooster. We could still hear him (and the girls) at the front of our compact weatherboard house- no doubt so could some of the rear neighbours.  The next step was the laundry. As I am yet to get around to organising my dream renovation to transform the laundry/ toilet into a European laundry with powder room and toilet there is still an old shower with fully enclosed glass screening. This has actually proved very handy on a few occasions.  It's where we kept our first two girls before they were big enough to go outside and more recently two dwarf rabbits I found on the run in my street. Eventually as no one claimed them, ,they were re-homed by the RSPCA (much to the relief of my cat). Unfortunately directly across from the laundry is the back of neighbour's house with rooms that are being rented out to international students. Our rooster was less excited by the girls but it only took a flock of the local ravens or a singing magpie and he was off again. With daylight saving drawing to a close I also didn't feel like a 6 am wake up so we needed to get creative. G suggested the wardrobe and its worked a treat. If he does crow we can barely him, let alone the neighbours, so the wardrobe it is.

Sunday, 7 April 2013


All grown up.

It's been ages since I last posted. Its not for lack of motivation or because I have abandoned the ideas behind this blog, in fact I reckon I have had most productive summer yet (most of it due to my expansion out into the laneway and my planter box out in our community area.)

This summer I tried my first beetroot and had serious bucket-loads of eggplants (they're still going!). My tomatoes promised (but never delivered- thanks to the rats), I am about to pull my spent zucchini and my capsicums are all busy ripening and ready to pick. The end of the long hot summer has finally come and sent me scurrying to get all the brassicas ready as a winter crop.

So while its all been good in garden world I have been busy and preoccupied dealing with stuff. Stupid negative unproductive stuff. Stuff that's been getting in the way of getting on with things and continuing all the great progress I have been making over the past couple of years.

Firstly there's been stuff about the rear laneway. Apparently someone wants to buy the laneway and council seeing the $$$ is happy to oblige. Before Christmas I received a council survey to gauge my thoughts on this. Guerilla garden boxes aside, rear access has been a blessing on more than one occasion. Without we wouldn't have been able to send a digger in to replace our sewer or install a 3000L water tank. Anyway so began a few months of time wasting bureaucracy. Coming from someone who's worked in Local Government- its been an experience of every bad "council" stereotype of incompetency you can imagine. "Oh sorry we lost your correspondence, we'll call you back when we found it... whoops we lost your phone number to call you back... we hadn't gotten around to writing you a letter yet to say we found the correspondence". I don't know whats going to happen- in the meantime the council has changed the 'policy' on laneways and we are yet to hear if they have decided to commence a full 'statutory process'. In the meantime I am thinking 'Tuscan kale' and 'sprouting brocoli'

We have also been through stuff with the 3 month consultation on the 'planter boxes' - more surveys to fill in, a 'site' meeting to attend. The neighbourhood has been letter boxed and it seems the feedback is 'mostly positve'- there's been no elaboration on the negatives- but from what I gather there are a few in the neighbourhood who think their own personal  dead piece of  gravel to use as an off street car park is a better option.

Finally our little family have grown up and spread their wings. Two of the girls have moved onto to a new home and for a while the backyard seemed a little empty without them. Our 'Baby Roo' is now a 'Big Roo'. He's not only getting bigger, but louder too. The added complication being this is all happening amongst the backdrop of poultry hitting the front page news, thanks to some high profile chook evictions in the neighbourhood(here and here) . It turns out the Council has a local law (not mentioned on the chook page of their website) that prohibits chooks being housed 15m from a dwelling or 1.5m from a boundary fence (fail on both accounts)- meaning my chooks (along with practically every other chook in the municipality) are technically breaking the law without a council exemption. So its been more stuff -emailing everyone I know around here to promote a  petition and attending meetings aimed at changing the laws. All along it's not the best time to be ending daylight savings with a rooster who' now going to be waking up at 6am rather than 7am.  We know he has to go... but lucky for 'Roo' all the other stuff keeping us busy means he lives another day.