Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Three new chooks

A rubbish photo, I know, but here are our three new chooks, presents from my dad recently (he raised them himself).
We started off by putting them in with the rest of the chooks, but despite our precautions, they found themselves at the rough end of the pineapple, especially from the Muscovy duck. So, Action Man got himself in gear and finished off the chicken tractor that had been languishing in the shed since last year, and they are now happily ensconced there (except when they are out and about flinging mulch around).
The downside of this arrangement is that these chooks live out the back, while the "old" chooks live closer to the house, and are within sight of the chickens. The result is I'm not getting to "know" these chickens very well at all.
These chickens are doing the bulk of the egg-laying work around here now. In the "old" shed, we have three layers and a bantam, who are at least four years old, who probably lay 3-4 eggs between them a week.
My grandmother kept chickens all her life, here and in Italy, and she was pretty unsentimental about old birds - they made way for young chickens via the stockpot. But because I feel that our old girls are as much pets as layers, I'm totally against this idea. And so, we have an old chickens home, and have to bring in young birds to take up the slack. And I guess we'll have to get some more when these new birds become aged. They never talk about this dilemma is books about chicken keeping!
In other chooky news...this afternoon I was listening to an interview with a scientist who had won a Eureka Science Award for her work on chicken communication. Her thesis is that the chicken is by no means dumb, and has a complicated means of communicating to each other about their environment. I'm thinking, well, yes...that's kind of obvious to anyone who has spent any time around chooks. Maybe I should have written that thesis!


libby said...

Cute girls. It's nice that you've got room to keep the old girls. We don't :-(. I was very attached to our first lot and they went to a friends farm - with the intention of being killed and eaten - but two years later they are still enjoying retirement. Unfortunately we got the new girls a little too old and they have never taken to me - even 18 months later. I think when it's time for these girls to "retire" we'll have a bit of a rest from chickens (much as I love them and their eggs) until we have more land. And that way the dogs can use their doggy door again and I'll be able to use the big clothes line.


Paola said...

We have the room to keep the old girls at the moment, but even we will reach a limit at some stage!