By MEREDITH KIRTON
Hens have the ability to recycle garden and kitchen scraps into fresh eggs, making them the ideal pet for even the average backyard. Provided
you don’t have a roster, which are banned in most places due to their early morning squawking habits, your neighbours will probably love having
an extra dozen of fresh eggs passed their way every so often! What you will need is a fox proof enclosure, as even in the ‘burbs there are vermin
about, so whilst free ranging is fine during the day if your garden can accommodate them, make sure you lock them away safely at night.
Aside from scraps, chickens need water and chicken pellets daily (One chicken costs about $2.20 per week to feed) and will supplement this diet on grubs and insects they forage themselves. They also need worming every 3 months, and although they live for about 10 years, are normally replaced every 4 years or so as they lay better when they are young. Point of lay birds (around 18 weeks to 21) cost around $15, including vaccination and
worming. Your can buy or hire A-frame kit coups which are easy to erect and have the added advantage of being able to move around the garden on their rear
wheels, which means that you don’t wear out a patch on your lawn, and you can change their position depending on the season. A round chicken coup is better still if you have the space, as that way newly introduced birds can’t get “hen pecked” as they can’t get cornered. Always make sure your hens have some shade and shelter to escape the heat, and access to water and feed.
Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS