In the big back yards some of us in Darwin are lucky enough to have, keeping chicken is a fantstic thing to do. They are great pets and give you eggs- a blessing when there is no commercial egg producer in Darwin and the eggs in most shops come over 3000kms to reach us!
Their poo is amazing for the garden- the trick is fencing where you would like to keep them and their poo! They eat veggie scraps and recycle them into this amazing fertiliser.
We got 3 day old chicks from Coolalinga- which were sexed- so you know you will get girls…for us this saved giving away or attempting to eat unwanted cockrels. They need a shelter and to be looked after pretty well when small, as flying birds, crafty cats and mysterious beings can take them. We lost a couple and later on bought a couple of 3 month old black chooks from an ad in the paper. They grow pretty quickly and in 5 months we had our first eggs- which was very exciting. Because we spent a lot of time with them from when they were very young they were super freindly and climbed all over us. This of course is optional.. and we don’t have a TV as entertainment.
The chook held above is at about a month old. We ended up with 7 chooks and may get more- so we also bought another house for them. When they are chicks they just need a little run and then a bigger one. we get an average of 4 eggs a day, at first it was more. We are a house hold of 4-6 so they all get eaten. We are thinking of increasing the flock, as extra eggs are great to give away or trade.
So before you get chickens you need a run and a house. Jon made the house in the pictures, which I only can claim artistic additions to- camouflaged with palm fronds and amazing orange and green spray paint roof. I am not sure if the chooks really care. But in the wet they definately need shelter. They also need roosts when they grow older…
We now let them free range the whole back yard every afternoon, which is why our intensive veggies are at the front- as they dig everything up. Sometimes you just have to compromise!!