Friday, August 5, 2011

The Taming of the Chickens

Feeding time in the morning is always a pleasure with the Egg Team busy and keen for breakfast.  There's usually a couple of kilos of kitchen waste and a kilo or so of pellets for the girls to share.  (Although I am pretty sure that there are a couple of roosters just about to bloom - don't forget the black Australorps were bought as unsexed day old chicks). 

The girls all crowd around to share the food and we sprinkle it around so the pecking order is upset or simply doesn't apply.  The black chickens, which all share the names blackie or spotty, are quite tame and appear to enjoy being handled - or at least they just sit there with a look of compliant defeat on their faces.  The red chickens (which are all called ruby), are a bit more flighty having been bought later on at 16 weeks.
The birds are very resilient when it comes to being caught by the wing, the leg, the tail or the neck and quickly shuffle around in the embrace of the my daughters to get comfortable.  The youngest daughter likes to look inside the chickens beak and see the tongue at least once each morning.

This is ruby, a rhode island red who is just getting used to being handled...
The birds have accepted that feeding time is also handling time and are patient when picked up for a pet ad taken away from the morning food.  It is remarkable how well turned over the turf gets from sprinkling the feed at different locations around the property. 
I have deliberately tried not to have a designated feed area as it becomes bare, hard and muddy and is not good for growing anything.  By moving the feed site around I can target weed spots and put the feed there and after a few days of scratch and peck the weeds are cleared and we are ready to move onto the next feed site.
Isla takes some time out with ruby o the new steps - I carted down a metre and a half of gravel in little 8 litre buckets last Tuesday - it was a good workout foe my calves and hands.  But the gravel works well to give a great dry section some grip where was once a damp watercourse.  I have gone for a dry creek bed look with big sandstone rocks along the edges, buried with concrete to stop the gravel spreading when walked on over time.  Love the sound of gravel, it is another layer of experience to hear your footfall scrunch scrunch scrunch as you walk along the path.


Some images of the chicken catching team.  Have realised that it is far easier to time the return of the birds to the coop than to try and get them in whilst it is still broad daylight.  On dusk the birds are orderly and calm and trot in a line to their perches, all I have to do is close the door and screw the latches.
This beautiful winter weather has been a great chance to steal some time building sandcastles at the beach, and feel the sand between our toes.

3 comments:

  1. Good site, reminds me of the early days back on the farm in Mingenew when the kids used to handle all the chooks and the bantams!

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  2. You have a lively flock and a lovely egg team! :) I'd love to keep more. But 6 is all our garden can handle :)

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  3. Will take note of some of these good ideas and perhaps relay them to my family who have begun a chook keeping adventure

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