The Chickens

The chickens are also known as the feather children. They are an integral part of the homesteading way of life. In case you didn’t realise, chickens are the gateway drug to homesteading. The hens give us eggs, some of the chickens provide us with meat, they help to deal with the weeds and food leftovers and they help turn the compost piles. They are also fascinating to watch.

We breed Australorps here and purebred Australorps are all we have at the moment. They are a great dual-purpose, heavy, heritage breed, useful for both eggs and meat. They are friendly and docile. Australorps are more inclined to go broody than lighter breeds and commercial hybrids, which is very useful if you want to hatch your own chicks and have a sustainable flock. They were historically exceptional egg layers, but looks-focused breeding has made the laying abilities of some lines more average. We’re working on that here.

The flock of chickens is a fluctuating thing, as we hatch, grow, sell and dispatch various chickens. Here are some photos of our chickens, past and present.

My Top 5 Quick Tips For Keeping Chickens

1. Knowledge
  • Join a good Facebook poultry group or two.
  • The Chicken Chick – browse, learn, use.
2. Handling
  • At least once a month.
  • Night time – easier to grab, calmer.
3. Observation
  • Appearance – healthy comb and feathers? Lethargic? Droopy?
  • Behaviour in relation to flock – hiding away? Aggression? Broodiness? Pretending to eat?
  • Poop analysis – learn what is ok and what requires investigation.
4. Treatment

If a chicken is sick you basically have three options:

  • Treat yourself and get someone to help if you can.
  • Take to a vet.
  • Cull.
5. Responsibility
  • Health – if a chicken seems sick or ‘off’, deal with it ASAP. ‘Wait and see’ does not work, waiting = a chicken in pain or dead.
  • Roosters – if you hatch chicks, have a plan for dealing with roosters. Dumping a highly domesticated animal is not an option.
  • Sharing – pass on your chicken addiction, I mean knowledge, to others.