Sunday, February 10, 2013

Here comes the girls...

Some of you will know that one of my taglines is 'chicken keeper wannabe'.  For as long as I can remember I have wanted to own chickens.  Don't ask me why.  I really don't know the reason behind that yearning.  Maybe it was the idealistic vision of the daily egg collecting with my children.  Perhaps it was the country cottage feeling I thought that having free-ranging chooks would provide.   It could be the thought of the provision of freshly laid eggs for my cooking and baking without having to battle with the free-range expense versus cheap and affordable, BUT what about the chickens welfare? feeling every time I counted the pennies. (Chicken welfare first and foremost won every time I hasten to add).  

My dream of chicken ownership has finally been fulfilled.  I really can't believe it.  I'm like some dizzy head-over-heels in love child.  I keep thinking about the chickens and smiling - I can't help it. I'm sure you are thinking just how sad that is, and I'm sure if I was reading this as written elsewhere I would be too.  But I now have my girlies.  I am in love with my girls. 

Yesterday I took a trip town to buy coal with my husband Lee, Tiegan and Taisia.  We had a pleasant enough gander around a couple of stores before heading home with the plan to visit the local farm shop.  As we continued homeward bound, Lee said that he knew where Moon Ridge Farm is.  Moon Ridge Farm is a fantastic source of all things chicken.  They also sell numerous breeds of ducks, swans and geese, and have the cutest pygmy goats I've ever had the pleasure to meet.  Lee suggested that he take me to the farm so I could see where it was.  I didn't think it would be open on a Saturday afternoon (many places shut at this time around here), but we were in no hurry so we tootled along.  To our surprise it was open.  We drove in, followed the instructions to park opposite the barn, and ventured around the place.  The chicken pens are huge and well maintained, not overstocked at all.  I liked the fact that we were told to walk around, we were welcome to view all over the place, we didn't need to have an appointment.  

What started off originally as a place finding trip, soon turned into a pricing up visit, which consequently transformed into a purchasing one.   We ended up attempting (and succeeding) to fit 2 huge bales of woodshavings, 2 bag of food, and a bag of grit into the car, along with two pet carriers containing two girlies each.  

Enough of the waffle, do you want to be introduced?

Firstly we have the utterly devine and beautifully manicured Betsy-May.  Betsy-May is a Light Sussex.

Next we have Charlie.  The definite without a doubt boss of the crew thus far.  She is a Columbian Blacktail.  

Thirdly we have Tallulah.  Tallulah (in the foreground) is a beautiful Cou Cou Maran (also known as a Speckled Maran).  She is nervous but rather elegant.

Finally, this is Babs.  I know that as animal carers we shouldn't have favourites and I do try not to, but I can't help but have a soft-spot for this gorgeous girlie already.  Babs is a Blue Maran and quite a stunner.

The aim is to have them free-ranging around the yard, but we need to up the fencing height and security provision before doing so.  At the moment they have a large-ish run attached to their coup and they do seem happy enough.  In fact, one of the girlies is obviously settling in pretty well as we found this today...

I hope that they continue settling in happily, it's a real joy to have them around.  I have to admit to letting out a little squeal of excitement when I saw the egg lying in the box awaiting collection.  

We are currently also looking after some gorgeous girlies on behalf of a neighbour - walking to their home each day to play chicken keeper.  We have been granted full egg-rights during our caretaker role and we are currently up to four.  The kids think that egg finding is a truly fabulous game and they take great care and pride of their treasure.  The week after next we are being chicken caretakers for another neighbour who also has ducks who are laying well too.  Again we have full egg-rights for the duration and we are looking forward to more collecting.  

I'm very pleased to report that our injured quail is pretty much fully-fit again and we are hoping to reintroduce her to the rest of the gang very soon.  I hope that they will be accepting of her.  The quail are currently providing an average of 2 eggs per day between the four kept outside.  One seems to lay in the morning, whilst the other prefers to lay at dusk.  Each discovered new find is met with a joyous 'there's one' cry which never fails to make me smile.

I wonder how long it will take for the novelty to wear off.  I have a feeling it won't be for a long long while.  


  1. I love chickens :) we have two and they're such great characters. Enjoy your chicken keeping :)

  2. Enjoy your hens, we have 4, two Rhode Islands and two Black Rocks which are very good laying hens!They all have their own characters and come running down the garden to see us!There is a website called chicken keeping secrets which is a great source of info for beginners!

  3. Chicken watching and keeping is great so pleased you finally got some

    Quails generally lay of an evening, I am itching to get some again but i need to clear a shed first which is proving difficult as hubby is a bit of a hoarder!

    Enjoy the eggs

  4. Beautiful chickens! I can't wait to have them too!

  5. Cool! Moonridge Farm is where we got our chickies from, twice :-)