Yes, you read my advice and I’m not referring to requesting a sample of KFC, before purchasing the “bucket deal” meal!
I wanted chickens, as part of my ‘urban farm’ lifestyle, here at Pets and Plants Ballarat.
I wanted their eggs, I wanted them to turn my compost heap, I wanted them to eat scraps from my table, or the vegies I had not eaten because I’d dined out. I wanted chickens to add nitrogen to my garden via their manure. I wanted them to aerate my soil and weed before I planted out my vegie patch. Did I mention they also eat pests like slugs, snails and codling moths?
Yes, my chooks are beautiful unpaid workers and friends that brighten up my life on a daily basis, with their amusing antics, their loyalty and rituals. Observing their pecking order and natural behaviours is like one long biology lesson, made highly practical and entertaining.
But like any pet, chickens come with their own set of demands. The last thing I wanted was to make an impulse purchase that committed me to years of looking after pets that brought me little joy.
These critters get up early. They need to be locked up away from foxes and dog attacks at night. There’s regular coup scoop and bedding changing to do. They can decimate emerging seedlings in minutes. Roosters crow and can be highly aggressive!
Then there are local Council bylaws: five hens here in urban Ballarat, no more. No roosters. No game birds, as in ducks, pheasants, peacocks or guinea fowl, ostriches or emus. Given I have a third of an acre that’s a considerable area for my five hens to free range. Chicken paradise!
The answer to my “chook or not to chook” question came at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show. Citychicks had a stall and chicken display.
With Citychicks I was able to rent five Wyandotte pullets (chickens under a year old) for a month and see if I liked getting up with the fowls as a responsible chicken keeper. My girls were delivered along with their mobile “chook palace”, feeders, diatomaceous earth, lime, shell -grit, water and instructions for holistic care.
It was love at first sight and now I can’t imagine life without chooks.
Even my neighbours enjoy my chooks, benefiting from eggs and a reminder of days gone by, when they too kept chickens. Parents and grandparents, bring children in to meet the chickens.
I’ve witnessed several years in the cycle of the hens going broody, laying, hatching and raising clutches. My Wyandottes unlocked the community of chicken enthusiasts, clubs and keepers to me: mentors and new friends.
How glad I am I took that opportunity to rent, with an option to buy package, Citychicks offered!
And yes, I still eat chicken!