Within a month of owning our new home, we decided that we wanted to get chickens to stalk around our garden, mowing down weeds and insects while adding rich nutrients to the garden with their retch-inducing poop.
After scouring the Internet for popular/show breeds, checking out the Point-Of-Lay hens at Victoria Market, and searching the Trading Post for chook breeders, we promptly ditched these options for acquiring our little cluckers. Instead, we ventured down to a local Battery Hen egg farm I found in the Yellow Pages, with a cardboard box and collected 4 ladies at $1 a piece. When the guy I spoke with on the phone said ‘come by Friday or we’ll put them in the bin’ – I couldn’t get there quick enough. The sight of those girls straight out of those cages was heartbreaking- all pecked up with very few feathers, mutilated beaks and no idea what ‘food’ looked like other than pellets.
So instead of the two we had originally planned to get, we acquired four and named them Thelma (alpha hen & follows you around bobbing her head like Mick Jagger), Louise (loves pecking at toes), Laverne (always hungry) and Shirley (bottom of the pecking order but best colour). We were told that the transport would shake them up and not to expect eggs for 1 month, but within hours of coming home, Thelma had gifted us an egg and they haven’t stopped since!
We were also told that after their trauma, they may not be fond of humans, may not eat anything but pellets and may be a bit crazy but we’ve found only the latter is true- but they’re crazy for feta cheese! They enjoy our company, attack watermelon like its a politician making a spelling mistake and sometimes have to get out of bed earlier than they’d like. Every day, our girls get to scratch around in the garden for insects & worms, eating long grass, grains, kitchen scraps, the occasional spider -and one mouse (go Laverne)! We hope they like their new home as much as we enjoy their calming presence clucking around the garden.