Return Of The Keeper

Hi readers, thanks to all of you who dropped by while I was gone fishing. It was a lovely week of sand surf and sun, caught one fish too small to eat, back it went into the sea til next year. There’s a new pic in The Secret Layer of the beautiful location.

Returned home to find all hens in order, thanks to our lovely chicken sitters, The Stokoe Family. Daisy’s comb has healed alot after being attacked by a Pukeko, it nearly ripped the whole comb off, and left her with a couple of nasty gashes in the top of her head, they have been very protective of their space as they have small chicks at the moment, and Daisy got too close.

A strange demonic looking cat has taken up residence in our garden since we have been away. It has white eyes, very scruffy appearance, and appears to have killed a rat in the run, the hens are aware of the cat, but don’t seem too perturbed.

Alls well.

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The Cost Effectiveness of Chicken Keeping

Hi chicken keepers, or prospective chicken keepers, I recently read a report from an american publication, about a dispute between neighbours in the city of Salem, where the city by-law says the keeping of farm animals is prohibited, domestic pets only.

 The owner of the hens is disputing that they are penned the whole time, and are no bother to anyone other than herself, the case is pending in court, it appeared that the journalist was pro chicken keeping, until a quote from a professor from some obscure university said ” the cost of purchasing the hens, plus buying a coop, which can run into hundreds of dollars, then the feed and time involved, made it totally inaffective as a cost cutting self sufficient exercise”. Poppycock!!

 I imagine this comment was made through ignorance, that may be the case for the yuppies of chicken keeping, but I suspect most of the coops have been made by the keeper, as most of the increase in chicken keeping is from the undeveloped third world countries, where live chickens are sold to eat, there are no Safeways, Tesco or Foodtown to supply prepared birds in shiny plastic bags, therefore the cost would be smaller than buying from breeders as we do in the western world. As for feed, again with no suppliers of feed in remote areas of the world they rely on there surroundings and scraps from human consumption.

So here’s our financial figures, cost of purchasing hens $96.00 , cost of coop $0.00 (totally recycled materials), cost of feed $2o per month. The biggest cost is TIME, one could argue that one til the cows come home, but lets not bring other animals into it, that will just confuse matters.

The price of half a dozen free range eggs at the supermarket $4.00 (organic $6.00), normally we would have purchased half a dozen in our weekly shopping,  we use more eggs now we have more, in baking cakes and other such delights, we also barter with spare eggs, for home grown vegetables from the neighbours, and sometimes we swap the eggs for gold coins, which you can then use later at shops to buy stuff, like chicken feed. ( all dollars figures mentioned are in NZ dollars).

At the end of the day, our seven hens are less expensive to keep than a domestic cat or dog, however the hens provide food in return, they also add to our wellbeing, they provide secondary products like fertiliser, feathers and meat if you so wish, healthy eggs with maximum omega levels, they are really alot of fun to have around, each with their own character.

So it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to start keeping chickens in your back garden, especially if you’re handy with a hammer. The returns are wide and varied, it’s given me the contents of this blog.  As pointed out to me by Karmyn from Oregan, they are also good bug eaters, organic pesticide.

dust bath

dust bath

It’s all over the place

Hi there readers, well you know, I try, I keep upgrading the facilities, however on occasion I have to go and earn some money, which of course means being away from the hens for the day, as it turns out I’ve been busy the past 2 weeks, and in that time the girls have moved nests, were down to 1 egg a day, Nancy is still broody but not laying, the coop le grande has come to a grinding halt, and the garden is in need of some t.l.c., it is frustrating to say the least.

I feel caught in a Catch 22 ( great book by the way), if I work from home I get a bit stir crazy, and if I work away from home, I end up with twice as much to do when I am here. This may sound like I’m complaining, well it isn’t, this is just one way I find useful to make it all seem better, ranting about it, seems to lighten the load, getting off your chest so to speak, or should I say breast as this is a chicken blog.

Manuella put her self into the coop last night, seems they are all friends now, well to a degree, not as pecky since Nancy has been absent. The rat seems to have disappeared, not in a David Copperfield way, more in a eaten by a cat way I think, as a stray tabby has been lurking around over the past couple of weeks, not really a threat to the girls, as she is smaller than most of them, and I’ve seen them fight off  ‘Leroy ‘  the Cornish Rex cat, known by some of the neighbours as ‘ the bird killer ‘, very sharp claws indeed, as he is brown, we have nicked named him, ‘ the  baddest cat in town ‘ .