Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Introducing Fat Hen "GENUINE" Free Range Eggs

Well the layer flock has arrived...not laying just yet as they are only 17 weeks old...but have settled in so very well and we are eagerly waiting for the first eggs....amazing I have people waiting for the eggs already.

following are some pics of the flock and their body guard !!

The birds are free ranged from 7am till 8pm when they promptly put themselves to bed in their sheds and the doors are closed....they spend their day scratching and wandering around a 6 acre paddock...they enjoy the afternoons when all the flying bugs come out and they get to chase them down.

Feeding time is an amazing experience...300 birds all over the Bird sanctuary in QLD...they perch on your shoulders and on your back when you bend down to pick up the feeders.....amazingly friendly
Nothing like 300 layers running at you when you have a full Barrow of feed....something I will have to get pics of.

For all of you that have requested updated pics of Gloria (thanks Lucy and Trace), I know I have been slack...I finally have something to take pics of...FEATHERS they have just seemed to pop up in the last few weeks....promise to post them tomorrow

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


A bit over a week ago, I recieved a call from my Vet, asking me for help for a local lady who's husband and daughter had found 3 ducklings in the Gutter in town one evening.

These are Wild Wood Ducklings, WIRES were called and were not really interested in them.

The Vet gave the lady my number and I walked her through the care they needed and how they would grow and develop, the Lady was concerned that as they were moving back to Sydney at christmas time, the ducks would then...although grown and most likley caring for themselves would be easy Target for foxes.
I offered once she had raised them as far as she could (as the young daughter wanted to keep them) she could release them on my property and I would keep an eye on them.

Calls ensued back and forward and on Monday Her husband called sounding quite worried.

The family have Jack Russell Terriers who have decided that they would enjoy Ducklings for dinner
So Monday afternoon, I became the foster mother for 3 VERY cute fluffy Ducklings, who have imprinted on humans. The family have done very very well with them, as at just over a week old they are still to show any pin feathering, so could not have been more than a few hours old, when found.....

There is now way these birds will fare well in the wild, they are too bonded to humans...I am limiting my contact with them, which is really hard as they are just too kids think so too....but they MUST learn to be ducks not humans...they follow feet and jump at you to get your attention.

My intention is when they are old enough to introduce them to my waterfowl so they will learn to go out every day and come home of an evening....or they will just become dinner for Mr or Mrs Fox, with no parents to teach them how to self preserve from predators.

I have sexed them and there are 2 females and 1 male....

The kids are thinking of names for them......

I will get some pics today.....

They are just too cute.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

White Leghorns

Yesterday i was fortunate enough to purchase at Auction some nice White leghorns.

1 rooster
2 hens
3 pullets

they are all very nice birds, all laid eggs yesterday either in their transport crates or in the pens at the auction and all the eggs are large and white., just as they should be.

The girls are all in perfect condition, so expect them to continue laying well, the Rooster unfortunately was covered so badly in lice, mites and eggs his feathers have actually matted to his skin.

He has been treated for the infestation, and as soon as the weather warms up, he will be bathed to rid him of anything that may have escaped the treatment.

They are currently in isolation to protect my birds from anything they may have been exposed to at Auction, and will be allowed to free range in the paddocks as soon as they get the all clear.

here is a pic, though not great.....

Friday, September 25, 2009

Heirloom Poultry / Rare Traditional Breeds

Did you have a grandparent with chooks in their back yard?

Providing eggs for the family and meat for dinner?

Mine did.

My Nan had 8 white leghorn hens in her yard….I remember the joy of going with her to collect the “cackle-berries” from the girls, bringing warm white eggs back to the kitchen to either have boiled for me or to help make the cake they were to be used in.

I also remember the disappointment when (the family had all moved out of her large home) and she got older and the birds became too much for her to care for.

The chook shed stayed, like an old ghost town…empty and alone.

I promised myself when I had my family, if living arrangements would allow

…I would have hens for my kitchen.

When we moved to the Southern Highlands, the first thing we added to our farm was chickens….8 silkies….a breed we still keep.

We have since added:

*Sussex (considered on the decline lay 160 / 180 eggs / yr  light tinted egg)

*Black Orpington (endangered Lay 180 - 200 eggs / yr  light Brown egg)

*French Marans (almost non existent....Lay 200 eggs  / yr egg colour Russet brown to burgandy)

*Pekins (true bantam, small white egg aprox 100 / yr)

* Australian Langshans (Large bantam egg round and light tinted)

*Welsh Harlequin Ducks (critically endangered 250 - 300 eggs/ yr Green / blue egg)

* Sebastopol and Pilgrim Geese (endangered)

I have recently added

*white CSIRO Leghorn

*Araucana (blue egg layer)

I am currently on the hunt for the:

*Bronze turkey (King Island Strain)

Nearly all the breeds I have mentioned above are considered Traditional Heritage breeds

(Rare Breeds), Sussex / Orpington / French Marans / Australian Langshan are considered a Dual purpose bird…lay eggs for the kitchen and provide meat, and like the Heirloom seeds for fruit and vege, the Heirloom breeds of poultry are once again taking off in popularity.

To the point I cant supply enough birds, for the people wanting them for their back yard…..

For commercial purposes, the heritage breeds don’t cut it…according to the big commercial production teams, their feed to egg conversion rate is just not good enough…plus being pure they go broody…..and could not cope with intensive farming, so the scientists invented the BIG GUNS.....Isa Brown / Hy-line / Lohman Brown....huge egg laying for the first 18 months....then stop being commercially Viable.
AKA: “The bare Naked Ladies”

who have their own merit in a commercial situation (NOT CAGES THOUGH)...but how many people are running a commercial chicken enterprise in their back yard?

And meat birds that weigh in at 3kg @11 weeks and white turkeys that are so large they can not mate naturally and must be Artificially inseminated by humans.

Scientists only supplied what we were demanding.

We as humans are also to blame…we demand BIG BROWN EGGS all year round…want size 18 chooks ASAP…..My father tells me that growing up,

Having a roast chicken was a celebration, it was “Aussie Turkey” at Christmas….

Now we eat it every other day in preference to red meat.

Have you considered having a Traditional Heritage Breed of bird in your yard?

Put some colour variation into your egg basket.

  • Additional Breeds to consider: 

• Silver Grey Dorking

• Ancona

• Minorca

• Sebright

• Barnevelder

• Hamburgh

• New Hampshire

• Rhode Island

• Plymouth Rock

• Welsummer

• Indian Game

• Aylesbury Duck

• Campbell Duck

• Buff Orpington Duck

There are so many breeds I have not mentioned.

Geese (pilgrim gander at front)

Light Sussex

Welsh Harlequin Ducks

Black Orpingtons

Wheaten Pekin Bantam

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dusty Clean up and this and that.

The dust descended on us for 2 went from brilliant orange to the white cloud you can see in the has settled on everything...from the plants to the fences...the roof will need washing as will all the windows.

Felix the white Alpaca is now a nice shade of orange brown. (I actually watched them chase a fox out of the paddock this morning at about 5.45 am was amazing to watch them work together)

The wind is still gale force and its quite cold, I worry for the "bare naked ladies" as they have next to no feathers.

The egg production has dropped, we are only getting 3 eggs a day from the 8 girls (Shayne is coming to pick up her 2 so then there will be 6). With the egg drop I have noticed a change in the girls, they are starting to replace their feathers, or where their feathers should have been.

Iris in particular has nice little dark pin feathers all over her bald spots....very exciting
so instead of the protein in their diet going into making eggs (which I am in no short supply of)
their bodies are using it to create new feathers. Unfortunately chooks can't do both...lay eggs and make new feathers that's why when a normal chook moults in the autumn, their egg production falls off until they have their new clothes....!!

They have all discovered the delights of the out doors, even in the wind and dust, and are becoming increasingly difficult to get to go home in the evening....they have me running round in circles trying to get them to go home, you can't but help laugh at the antics of these girls burning around avoiding home, featherless and sprinting like naked road runners.
Only one girl ...(not sure who) is using the nest box, the other 2 lay where ever they are standing.

Spring has sprung, and I have my first Broody Goose sitting on 10 eggs, my ducks are laying, and we are using the eggs to make the most amazing cakes, though I do have to hunt around for the eggs at times, one girl likes to lay in the compost heap, another in the garden at the stable doors....I have to get to them before the Wiley crow...who shadows their every move...grrrr

Other than cleaning the's project is transplanting all the veg seedlings into the Veg garden that are ready, pulling out what is finished and saving the seeds for next year.

I am really excited to be planting some Heirloom Tomatoes again this year ..the fruit was amazing.......

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cullinary Delights

Well this morning was another "First" for the "Bare Naked Ladies"

The got a bucket full of veg peelings some left over sausages, and some fruit....all from the weekends lunches and dinners.

At first the looked at me as though I was insane tipping this rubbish in the middle of their yard....

THEN Lola discovered a Tomato...well it was on for young and old....Gloria stood in the middle of the pile of goodies....getting the best bits for herself....others were grabbing bits and running to a corner to gobble down what they could before someone else decided to steal it on them.

Was a chicken frenzy!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry no pictures of the blessed event....Batteries on camera dead as a door nail.

But to say the least...they have discovered what comes in the RED bucked is "Good Stuff"