So, remember how I was all uptight and self-concious of turning 30? As a sweetener, my husband asked me what I wanted one day, while we were meandering through the garden. “Chickens” I said. “We’ve been here for five years, and we still don’t have any chickens”.
And so, he set about making me a coop! My husband and I are for the better part, vegetarians, and we both are conscious of what we consume. Neither of us are extreme, he still eats fish (I call them sea kittens.), and I am partial to the occasional steak, but we’re both focused on consuming less. We’re never going to be perfect, but it’s important to minimise your footprint on this earth, and eating less meat is definitely one way to do so.
Keeping with the less is more theme, my husband used as many objects and items which were already lying around the paddock. Again, I know it’s easier said than done, not everyone has a small garden-shed, just lying around, waiting to be repurposed, but it was surprising what he managed to make out of a few left-over pieces of wood and metal. We had intended on visiting the local recycle shop at the tip, but we scavenged a few extra pieces from the family’s farm. I scoured Gumtree for an old cupboard, which we remodelled into a nesting and perch area. And of course some pieces like the wire, mesh and other wood which was necessary to purchase from the local hardware shop. For us, the local hardware store isn’t one owed by the Duopoly of Coles or Woolworths, and I’m pleased as punch about this. Don’t get me wrong, megastores have their place, however the local Williams team are great when it comes to animals and produce. The small businesses in town, are one of the benefits of living in sticks. Sure, we have less variety, but some of the best customer service I’ve received has been in the small country town.
Acquiring the birds was probably the easier part of the whole process. While getting a few extra supplies at the local hardware, my husband asked around for some laying-hens. We were given a number to call, and the people were loverly to deal with. (Although they were late for the delivery, because someone had left the gate open and the birds made their big escape!) I asked for four birds, and I was able to request Australorps. Australorps are bred for Australian conditions and are prolific egg layers, which is perfect for us, in Northern NSW. All up, my husband spent three weeks to build the chicken
mansion coop, but we had some terrible weather, which meant tools down. The coop is much larger than we currently need, however I do envisage, in the future, we’ll get more chickens and supply the whole neighbourhood with free-range eggs.
We’ve put plenty of effort into making sure we have an area which is suitable for the ladies, and not everyone has the materials or inclination, but not everything is about the bottom line. Not only will we get eggs, but we now have four bug catchers, running around the garden. Not to mention the
poop manure. I spent the afternoon sorting out the pen and collecting poop for our veggie patch. I’m not really the outdoorsy type, however I mucked out the coop and split some wood, which is one way to get some fresh air and burn the odd calorie.
I can’t wait to share the eggs with my friends and family.