It was decided well before we moved that we would have chickens at the new house. They were going to live in the run down garden cubby house which was built by the previous owners and was uninhabitable by children. When we moved, however, and under threat by termites, we decided to knock it down and build a shed there instead.
Chickens were still desired however, so 6 months after moving in I purchased the coop. Not 2 days later, 2 chickens, Brody and Rosie von Pecker, entered our lives.
Rosie von Pecker
For a while, they lived on our deck but that was too messy so they moved next to the garden bed in the main back yard. They stayed there for a few weeks accumulating pooo and flies until I had a revelation. You see, we have 2 back yards due to the unusual shape of our land. The second yard is smaller and self contained – a perfect chicken run. Hubby made a little fence and gate and voilà the chicken’s space was complete.
The Chicken Run… also good for kids
Brody and Rosie settled in quickly and were soon laying beautiful free range eggs. Lovely!
Eggs eggs and more eggs. Our largest egg was a double yolker! You don’t find them in the shops!
But drama was on the horizon. We loved our chickens but something was amiss. Brody was a noisy chicken! She would strut around the yard clucking her little heart out, wake up at 5am clucking to be let out and demanded her food as loudly as she could muster. Poor Rosie was a gentle girl but she put up with it all.
We’d had the chickens for three months or so by Christmas and really enjoyed having them. Christmas morning was occupied by breakfast and presents and fun, so it was 930am before I went to check on them. Brody was quieter than usual but greeted me at the gate. Rosie however was nowhere to be seen. I threw on my boots and searched the yard. She was no where. Then I noticed that their feed bin lid was upside down so I went to flip it over, but as I did so I saw her…. dead at the bottom of the feed bin… on Christmas morning.
Poor Rosie von Pecker at the bottom of the bin 😦
Shocked, scared and angry we called the police. This was no accident. Someone had killed our chicken. We guessed it was the neighbour behind us who’s house was closest to the coop. Perhaps, disgruntled by the frequent 5am wake up calls, they thought revenge on Christmas Day would be the sweetest. So, a visit by a Constable became our Christmas experience, fear and anger made its presence felt for the first time on what is usually a fun and exciting day. Although our neighbour was implicated, the police could do nothing to find the perpetrator.
We quickly recovered from the shock and set up precautions to keep Brody safe. We also decided to get 3 new chickens as we had already talked about having 4. So, 3 weeks later, Honey, Ding Dong and Rosie O’Pecker joined Brody to form our 4 strong flock. Within hours however, it was clear that Brody was not going to get along with these three gentle chicks. We separated them that afternoon and separated they stayed for 2 weeks. Brody just would not accept them, and a bleeding chick later I decided the stress was too much so we reluctantly gave Brody away.
Brody was a beautiful chicken… but boy was she noisy!
It seemed our first venture into chicken ownership was a failure but we were not deterred. Our new chickens are lovely (ie quiet!) and happily contained in their run. No one is woken at 5am or any other ungodly hour and the chooks very rarely make a noise during the day. Hopefully the neighbour is happy too.
Owning chickens is wonderful and I often wonder how anyone could do without them. They do add a list a daily chores to my list but the kids love to help me with them. Ir seems chickens will be part of our life for many years to come. Sorry disgruntled neighbour!