Chicken Colditz

Half way stage of camp Tenko


Half way stage of camp Tenko


I’ve had it with retrieving the hens from next door’s gardens, and I’m sure, although they haven’t said anything, the neighbours are fed up of chickens’ droppings on their driveway. So today I started to build a big run, using bamboo, I suppose it’s more chicken Tenko, for those of you familiar with the BBC.

Sooner or later the civil engineers are arriving at my property to carry out some major works on the sewerage pipes at the back of the house, and they are to replace the old pipe that runs across the creek, so the girls would have had to be penned in then, heavy machinery about and big holes.

The larger of the new chicks, who I think is ready for a bigger space, she started clucking today, when she was surprised by my hand reaching in to change the water, also she can be quiet rough with the much smaller chicks, as she scratches at the ground, if one of the little ones are near her feet, they invariably get flicked out the back, in a rather unceremonious fashion.

So if I work on the run tomorrow, being a Sunday,…????, we’ll see, I could have it finished, then Maria can get out and mix it with the big girls, If she’ll mix with non pedigree birds that is, all in all it’s not the ideal I had in mind of the hens roaming around the garden happy to stay put, but this way they still have loads of garden to use, 250sq ft, and we can still let them out into the rest of the garden when we are at home.

Also this should I estimate give me about 5 hours week back, and they will all have to lay inside the run, no more searching for secret nests, although that was great when I did finally find it full of eggs, 9 in total, good day.


Daphne, our speachless shaver, Darthne has become her nick name.

Daphne, our speachless shaver, Darthne has become her nick name.

Hi there, as you may have read earlier, we have 3 new chicks, and the breeder we bought them from gave us enough feed to last them a day, which was very kind of her. So today i had to get some chick feed with the added avirix or someting to help the chicks immune system, also I have heard good things about a laying pellets called PECK N LAY, comes with a bag a grit too, however the nearest supplier to me for those items is 26kms away, so thats a 52km round trip. Bearing that in mind, when I got to the store, I found that the pellets are $6 dearer than I get in town, so I asked politely if a discount was available, well you’d think i’d asked for the crown jewels, by the reaction of the teller.’ What for!’ she asked bemused,  I explained how a simular product sold in the shop near me was $6 cheaper, and how I’d driven 26km to get there, implying that I won’t be coming back unless you make it worth my while, still no was the answer, something to do with small margins.

On the way out of the shop. I notice someone grabbing a couple of big plastic drums from the yard, that had been previously used to transport some form of chemicals, I asked the other shop keeper if they were free for removal, $30 was the reply, ‘ oh ok’ i said walking back towards my car, to which the little old lady who was with the man buying 2 drums, remarked ‘ He wants 1 doesn’t want to pay fot it!’ thought she had said it out of my ear shot, but i turned on my heals and replied, in a polite way, ‘ I recycle other people rubbish for them, and make new things for others rather than waste new materials’, to which there was just silence, then her husband I presume, informed me I might get 1 on trademe ( New Zealand’s trading site), the shop keeper than pointed at a load of pallets I could take, which I promptly did. A new item will emerge from the old pallets.

New Arrivals

Maria, Betty and Dorothy.

Maria, Betty and Dorothy.

Hello reader, i’m very excited, we have increased the number of varieties we have by 300%, that sounds like alot when you put it that way, but basically what we did, was go and buy 3 new chicks, all of different breeds, as we only had the one breed to begin with, (the brown shaver), it’s quadrupled our breeds instantly.

The new varieties are, Black Minorca, Light Sussex( sounds like a brigade of calvalry), and a Wyandotte Gold Lace, the Minorca is quite a large bird, and the chick is a few weeks old, and the two younger ones have adopted her as their surrogate mother. The Black Minorca is a fine bird, she has black/ blue eyes that look quiet demonic, the devils’ own hen. The breeder from whom we purchased the chicks, had so many breeds, with some amazing specimens, she is a member of the Auckland Poultry Society, and enters lots of shows.

Also, much to the delight of t.o.h., this poultry breeder also breeds pigs, and there was a litter of piglets running around in the neighbouring sty, that will be the next addition i feel to the urban farm, fortunately they were all pre-sold.

Auckland City Zoo

Hello reader, I went along with my partner and 11yr old son to the zoo yesterday. It was a windy and somewhat overcast day, so I expected limited viewing of the animals. What I didn’t expect though was for about a third of the exhibits to be closed for maintainence, I had been raving on about the great aviary, closed, my son was looking especially forward to the tarantulars, closed, aquarium, closed, and the much advertised draw card this summer, the tiger cubs, closed for maintainence. Really come on, no one said anything at the ticket office, there is a small A4 sign next to one of the ticketing windows, in this size font, printed over the top of a tigers face, so difficult to read or notice in the first place, I feel there should have been a verbal notice given prior to purchasing the tickets, we still would have entered, but wouldn’t have been as disapointed. I should say we still had a good day out, as even with the closed exhibits it’s still a great zoo.

The highlight of the day, was really the animal farm corner, massive chickens, Buff Orpington, as big as a small turkey, and the two pigs, that had a tiny bantam friend called Solo, with the biggest thighs, like an old russian fighter pilots trousers.

We got chatting to one of the zoo keepers about the stray chickens in the neighbouring Western Springs Park, he told us with great authority they had been dumped there by people over the years, and are now just wild, now some of you may have read in an earlier post, that I wanted to take a couple of fertile eggs from a nest I had discovered there some weeks ago,  the other half protested so much, that they belong to the park, the park staff will be annoyed, etc etc, not so says the zoo keeper, well I guess it is ok says the other half, charming I say, would take it from me that they were wild, but a man in a uniform, everytime. So apon leaving the zoo after ofcourse I had expressed my views on the closed exhibits to the information booth, we promptly walked around to where i had seen the nest, alas it was empty, next year.

Absent without Leave

Hi all, I’ve reached that stage, I am finding it hard to keep this going, I have lots to say about all sorts of other topics, but I’m trying to stick to the topic, chickens and related stuff. Someone asks me yesterday if were any famous chickens, I could only think of Fog horn Leghorn the crazy rooster from the cartoons.

Also i have been trying to get a more technical with this and another blog site, where i can post pics etc, but nothing seems to be working, I think that’s what slowed me down on the writing front,

The girls are all behaving themselves lately, I have improved the fences so they can’t get out so easily, however, I have alot of very tall bamboo in the garden, left from a previous dweller, bloody bamboo, cuts out alot of light from the garden, but worse, it sucks up all the water in the ground, and the garden is fair cracking up, the ground is spliting badly, had another go at it yesterday, but unless you know my garden you wouldn’t know that i cut down any. It’s been useful to build fences, but I’d rather it wasn’t there, because it’s just an ongoing job, unless i use some form of chemical warfare, which i don’t want to use, i rather go mano o mano, hand to hand combat. It does stop the girls going absent without leave.

So if any one reading this who lives in Auckland and wants loads of bamboo, come on over bring a trailer.

Been Busy on the fence front

Hi there, I haven’t written much in the last few days as I have been trying to sort out another blogsite, with might i add not much success, also I have been out and about doing some work away from home, building fences, which i have also improved at my own place, to stop the hens from wandering, so it’s been harder to sit down here after a hard days digging or gardening, plus i haven’t much to report on the girls as I have not been here to see what antics they gotten into, i’m sure they have probably been brought back by two or so neighbours in my absence.

Well when normally gets back to me, I shall return with more tales of chickens do’s, or if it rains tomorrow.


Project Deluxe Coop

99% complete, just some finishing touches, it's no master piece i know.

99% complete, just some finishing touches, it

Hi there, well I’ve been busy than beaver in logging season, not only have I been trying to finish the coop, but I started building another herb box, stupidly before I had finished the coop, and so I ended up with two unfinished projects, who says men can’t multi task? Today though I got stuck into the coop, and yes it is finished, the girls are roosting in it as I type.

Ofcourse don’t think for one second they just marched in, in an orderly row, after I cut the ribbon to mark the occassion, oh no, it was more like an episode of Benny Hill, around and around the garden, til they ran into a corner, then they struck their squating down frightened pose, and we gathered them up, and into the new abode.

I checked on them after about ten minutes, Nellie seem to have taken to it quite well, and was already asleep, while the other four, sat nervously looking at me.

I am rather pleased with myself I must say, the design of the removable floor has worked out well, I have hinged the front and back door, also I have a removable panel on the back to enable easy egg snatching.

I can now go about, reusing the old coop, the chicken wire will come in handy to protect the veggies, which leads me back to the grow boxes I’ve been constructed, again from,  you guess it, pallets. Making them half a metre of the ground makes it easy to weed, access, plus keep the girls from getting to them easily. I am going to build a few extra ones put them on the front lawn forsale, see what happens, the garden centres want a small kings’ ransom for a box.

the chicken keeper

Waitakere City By Law Poultry Keeping

Keeping Birds and Poultry


Keeping roosters

Rural areas:
There are no restrictions on the keeping of roosters in rural areas.
Contact us to find out if you are listed as living in a rural area .

Urban areas:
Roosters are only permitted on properties larger than 2,000m2 in size in urban areas.
Contact us to find out if you are listed as living in a urban area 


Keeping poultry

Geese, domestic ducks, pigeons, turkeys, doves, peacocks, chickens and any other “domestic fowl” are classed as poultry under Council’s Bylaw 4, Chapter 13.

Rural areas: 
There are no restrictions on the keeping of poultry in rural areas.  
Contact us to find out if you are listed as living in a rural area

Urban areas:
The Bylaw limits the number of poultry that may be kept without Council consent to 12. Poultry housing must be weatherproof and capable of being easily cleaned. The housing is not permitted to be closer than 2 metres from the boundary or within 10 metres of a dwelling. 

I thought this might be useful to some, especially if you live in Waitakere City, 🙂 , lucky for me , if i lived a few kms east, i’d only be allowed half the birds.

The Deluxe Coop

Hi again readers, it’s been a lovely day today, the sun has been shining all day, not a cloud in the sky, infact it’s been like that all weekend, the only cloud on the horizon was the general election yesterday, it seems when investment banks are falling like flies, which might imply they don’t manage things well, so  New Zealands’ public have voted in an investment banker as primeminister, watch this space.

Back to the coop, I have spent about two hours working on the coop today, it’s getting near completion, house warming soon no doubt. As i mentioned in an earlier post, i’m using pallets and bits of timber that i see abandon by the road side, however you know how sometimes pieces just go together like they were tailor made. That’s is how it went today, the ends of a wooden crate i found, were the perfect size for the doors, fitted the door frames i’d already made. I haven’t really been following any plan, just an idea in my head, from an advert in the Waterford News and Star paper, Co Waterford, Ireland, and I let it grow organically from there.

Nellie and Daisy have already been in for a look, I think they know what it is, or at least think it looks like a good place to hide for the nite from any predators, of which in New Zealand there aren’t any real dangers, other than dogs perhaps, we do have hedgehogs here, has anyone experienced hedgehogs eating their eggs, I know they will eat smaller eggs, that are in ground nests, but are their little mouths big enough to crack a chickens eggs?


Secret Layers’ Nest Discovered

Well, hello to you all,  she has evaded me now for 8 days, Saturday, no where to go, but sit and watch her til she goes to lay, but i didn’t do that,  i was busy catching 3 other birds in the neighbours garden, chasing them back over the fence, during the comotion, Daisy seized her opportunity to slip off to her secret nest, sure enough by the time i had sorted the other 3 out, she had disappeared.

I walked down to where i last saw her, nothing, but then i stumbled on some branches and nearly fell into a nearby large bizzy lizzy plant, apon doing this a few clucks came from the aforementioned bush, which only 2 days ago i had taken some cuttings from, and there she was sitting in the now not so secret nest, i did my best to pretend i hadn’t seen her, and went about adding to the new coop.

Finally she emerged from the bizzy lizzy to see what i was up to, I gave them a handful of feed, to keep them occupied, and went to investigate,  low and behold, 9 eggs, it felt like christmas had come early. I let out a loud wooping sound, neighbours probably think i’m a bit cookoo. Well excited doesn’t describe it, i rushed 8 of the eggs upstairs, straight into a pan of water, all good. If your wondering why only took 8, I figure if i leave one there, she keep going back to it, and not go off to a new hiding spot, a have made clay eggs for the others nesting spots.

The street did well today for fresh eggs, i give the excess away to the neighbours.

‘Alls well that ends well’ said Shakespeare, i wonder if he kept chickens?