Welcome One and All

dsc01819Hi there, and welcome to The Chicken Keeper, my name is Rob and this blog is devoted to the keeping of chickens, and the trials and tribulations that go with it.

We started keeping chickens in September 2008, the list of poultry we have at present,  one Minorca, and four Wyandotte Golden Laced .  At present we live on a 1/4 of an acre with a creek running through the back, in Waitakere City, which is part of the greater Auckland area in the North Island of New Zealand, although I’m originally  London/Irish from Hackney, and the other half  is from Waterford, in Ireland.  We are just keeping enough hens to provide eggs for the family, we also grow some herbs and vegetables.  I’ve built the coop and run from recycled materials, see DIY corner for more details.

Comments are very welcome, I hope you enjoy the site and maybe find some of it useful.             If reading is not for you then check out the pics in the Secret Layer ^.

Absent Keeper

Hi there chicken keepers, it has been a very long time since I posted anything new, this is due to several events, mainly the reason is, I am no longer a keeper of the chicken, I recently moved back to the UK from New Zealand, and as yet have not acquired any new birds. The small flock we had in New Zealand was given to a chicken loving neighbour, who already had a small flock of their own. I missed them dearly, when I last saw them in their new home, they had settled in nicely, so much so that they had taken over the flock.

I started this blog as a diary of becoming a new chicken keeper, with all of the pro’s and cons of the practise, with a view to giving potential keepers an idea of what it entails, and maybe sharing some experience with veterans of the chicken keeping pastime. As I no longer have any chickens, it seems false to be writing about it, I wouldn’t make a good journalist too moral. I have missed the regular writing, as I do enjoying the process, so I may just continue to write related posts.

There is a vast collection of back posts that I hope can still offer some assistant, it appears that the ‘Trapped Egg’ is by far the most visited post, and with some 30,000 visitors this year so far without my writing any new posts, it must still be helpful to some out there, apologies to those who have written to me via the blog asking for advice, I hope you found the answers to your problems in the back catalogue. Thanks for comments and support since I started this blog, good luck with all of your chicken keeping.

The Ex-Chicken Keeper.

Happy New Year

Happy 2013 to all you keepers out there, I hope this site helps you, remember these are things that have worked for me, they might not be scientific, they are first hand accounts of my experiences raising chickens for eggs, good luck.

Egg Shells.

Hi Keepers, I was asked recently asked about feeding egg shells back to your birds, some people do this, I prefer not to, as I think it encourages breakages on the nest, however if you do want to feed them back to them , crush them up to fine pieces, if you live near a beach , then crushed up sunbleached seashells are as good, if not better. The main thing is to ensure they get the calcium for their egg shell, some feeds already contain it, check ingredients.



Hi Keepers , Readers, I have been very slack of late in keeping up on here, the truth is the more people visit the harder it si to reply to you all, I do have to earn a living aswell. To all those who have recently left a comment, I hope it all worked out well and you found the answers you were looking for. We recently had our reduced flock attack by a small terrier from a house behind our property. It looked very bad for a while, feathers everywhere and no sign of a chicken, however, they all appeared at roosting time, minus their tails. It’s a defensive measure, stick head down and bum up, dog bites tail feathers, let them go and run away, obviously works well, with a small dog, he just ended up with four mouthfuls of feathers for his trouble, I gave the owner a royal bollocking.

No Place for a Rooster

Hi Keepers

I’m appealing to locals who live in a rural Auckland setting. We have a beautiful Gold Lace Rooster, that we must find a good home for. The local city council by-laws, say we can’t keep roosters in a urban area, which is fair enough, I’m getting fed up of being woken at sunrise by Wayne. He’s only just found his voice, he’s gone from a reverse off key crow, to a proper ‘cock a doodle do’, in the past week, like a teenager who’s going through puberty. He’s a pure breed Gold Lace Wyandotte, from eggs we purchased from a local breeder who shows her birds. If any one would like to house him, please leave a comment here.

I will attach a pic very soon.

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 26,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

New Chicks on the Block

Hi there keepers, and readers, we have new chicks in the flock. Three new Wyandotte Gold Lace, we did have a Minorca too, but if fear it landed on a thorn or got stung by a Weta, unforseen dangers. As we have no rooster, we got some fertile eggs from our friendly breeder, Raewyn Norton of Waitakere Township. The hatch rate was about 50%, as we had another Minorca that didn’t make it much passed the hatching stage, maybe as our broody hen is a Wyandotte, she wasn’t paying too much attention to the ones that didn’t look like hers? The three survivors are all doing well, learning from there surrogate mother, how to find grubs in the ground, etc. I will add pics to this post soon. The new chicks on the block will boost our flock back to a reasonable number for a backyard chicken coop.

Flock Reduced

The numbers are down, our flock is less than half it’s size, due to mainly age, illness and the infamous chicken-napping of Daisy, one of our shavers. Even the three remaining birds have been reduced somewhat, by means of someone or something, slicing one of our hens combs, clean off. She’s not been herself since, becoming skitish, and timid. Summer is on it’s way, the temperatures are rising, the flies are back, already caught one of our hens with a dirty behind, habouring maggots in her feathers, warm bath sorted out the problem, making sure to get the mess off the feathers. It would be nice to get some replacements, however, I feel it would disrupt the coop. We are getting two eggs a day, which at present is enough for us, so I think we’ll wait till next season, as by then the two layers will be past their prime laying years.

40,000 Visitors

Hi keepers, thanks to all the visitors from all over the globe, too many countries to count, I have noticed in the new upgrading counter, California is leading the visitor numbers, followed closely by Auckland, NZ. Surprisingly in the UK, most visitors are from London, good to see Urban keeping is alive and well. Thanks again, I hope you continue to find the blog useful. TCK.

Big Fat Renee

Hi keepers, the end of an era, Big Fat Renee has passed away. She was a force to be reckoned with, a Light Sussex, an ironic name for such a bird, she was huge, the same as the two featured in the ‘Chicken Police’ vid below. It was very sudden and quick, she was standing in the middle of the garden, and then gone, a heart attack is all I can think happen, it was over in a matter of seconds. We think she was at least 5 years old, hard to know exactly as we got her as an adult, she was an ex show bird, we should have called her ‘Lola’ based on that. Her character will be sadly missed by us, but I don’t think the rest of the flock will miss her to much, she was very greedy, and stood over the feed so none of the others could get a look in.