We've had chickens for a few of months now and we just love them. They are the ideal family pet - social, fun and no trouble whatsoever. I am not an 'animal' person by any stretch of the imagination, but our sweet little flock has already enhanced our family life immeasurably. There is something so relaxing about watching them forage and play and I am learning an awful lot about social practices from observing the strict criteria of the chicken world. Besides, keeping hens is just so darn 'country'.
We collected our chickadees from New Leaf Nursery - the most delightful sustainable nursery in one of those funny little 'rural' pockets that are dotted about Sydney. The owners set up the place as a 'children's garden nursery' and the little scooters, bikes, pictorial signs and petting area are just a joy for children and parents alike. The place is crazy with herbs and vegetables and chickens, ducks and quail roaming about the place. The cockadoodledoo of a glorious rooster or two is never far away.
So, we brought home three chickens initially - one for each Tsunami. For reasons unknown, Cappers' chicken Peep died in the night about three weeks ago, so we went back and brought in two more chicks, who are about 10 weeks old now. So we have Daffy Duck (Badoo's, an Isa Brown) and Benjamin (Maxi's, a Wynandotte - and wouldn't you know it, I keep calling Benjamin a 'he' too) who are both about 18 weeks, although we're pretty sure Benji is a bantam. The two new chicks are Sparkle (Cappers') and Chirp (everyone's) and they have only this week been invited to hang out with the older two during the day. That may well be because they are both bigger than Bantam Benji already...
Keeping chickens is such a simple, almost instinctual, practice. If you don't look too closely at them, they are really rather cute. I was initially very scared of all the flapping and the worry about whether we were 'doing it right', but now we just get on with it and enjoy watching our flock do just the same. In the end, whist initially nervous, I gained a lot of courage from reading Mrs Bok's lovely blog, The Bok Flock, and then we just went ahead and did it one day.
Speaking of 'flock', when I told Maxi that we needed to replace Peep with two new chickens as it was very difficult and lonely to introduce a single chicken to an existing flock, he snorted and said, "what, our two chickens. Some flock." Which seemed like the kind of thing a teenager ought to be pointing out, rather than a seven year old boy. That boy, I tell you!
Are you chicken keepers?