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War on Waste-keeping backyard chickens

Since we’ve been spending more time at home, we have taken on new interests, hobbies, and for some people, new pets.

Many people have chosen backyard chickens as their new feathered friends and why not, as they come with amazing benefits including:

  • Providing free fresh, nutritious eggs, which is a great way to save money
  • Eating your food scraps and saving food waste going to landfill and producing greenhouse gas
  • Acting as great weed removers, pest controllers and compost turners providing a rich fertilizer
  • Helping you build good relationships with neighbours and friends by sharing your surplus eggs

Here’s how to get your backyard set up for your new egg-laying pals:

Choosing the right breed

Before you do anything else, make sure you choose the correct breed of chicken for you as there are so many varieties of hybrids and heirloom breeds. They come in a range of colours, sizes, and so do their eggs.

Simone Yakich from New Leaf Nursery (NSW) knows a bit about about chicken breeds and suggests Isa Browns, a hybrid, are perfect for people who are new to chickens, “They are quite affectionate and don’t tend to get clucky or broody which means in chicken terminology they sit on their eggs and stop laying.

“They lay one egg a day throughout the year and generally start laying earlier than pure breeds. Vaccination is very important to the health of your chickens. Usually, they will lay for around three years, heirlooms will lay for longer.

“Chickens have been in high demand of late and heirloom breeds have increased in price.  The Isa Browns are generally very reasonably priced and more readily available.”

Looking after your chickens

Your chickens will live longer if you care for them and house them properly, so they are kept safe from predators.

Chickens need a high protein diet so you need to supplement food scraps with high protein pellets. Isa Browns don’t need as many pellets as other breeds. Your chickens will also eat dry crushed egg shells, great for their health as it provides them with calcium.

Making your coop

To keep your chickens safe and provide them with their own little home, you need a coop. You can always make one out of used materials to save money and help the environment. Make sure that you check your local Council’s regulations on keeping chickens.

You just need to make sure they have a perch to sleep on, a nest to lay eggs and a proper clean shelter free of vermin and protection from foxes at night.

Your chickens can be free range as long as they are kept in your rear backyard, have fencing and wings clipped so they don’t escape.

Northern Beaches Council (NSW) provided this information and Video on Keeping Chickens

See also:

Pandemic chook care 101: How to care for your new pet hens

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