We finally decided it was time. It was time we bought some more chooks. The number of our girls had declined a bit, we were down to four. The youngest of the group would be at least 4 years old and the eldest about 8. We don't cull our older girls. They are allowed to live out their lives. They still produce great fertilizer for the garden and produce quite an amazing amount of eggs. They do go off the lay longer over winter however. Egg production was down and I can't make myself buy supermarket eggs. The solution seemed to be simple - buy some more chooks.
My daughter and I went out this morning to a local chook breeder and picked out our two new girls. I was hoping to get purebred Australorps but the breeder didn't have any in stock. So we settled on two Australorp crossbreeds. They are both black and have been named Buffy and Angel by the teenage daughter. They should start producing lovely fresh eggs in a couple of weeks.
It seems there has been a bit of a rush on backyard chooks. The breeder was saying they have been inundated with phone calls from first time chicken owners. Apparently we are returning to vegetable gardens, chooks in the backyard and sewing machines in these difficult economic times.
I'm not sure if our chooks are a good financial decision - chook food can be expensive, however fresh eggs are priceless. There is no comparison with supermarket eggs. Our eggs have lovely golden yolks and thick, clear whites. They taste great. I know the chooks have room to move about, fresh water, fresh greens, dust to bathe in and perches to sleep on. They get to do normal chook stuff.
The fertilizer they produce is a bonus. I shovel it out of the chook house a couple of times a year and get about 4 wheel barrow loads of well rotted manure. We use the deep litter system for the chook floor. The floor is essentially dirt to which we add green food such as weeds and prunings. The chooks scratch through it and add their own concentrated fertilizer. It all breaks down to produce food for the garden.
I'll post some photos of Buffy and Angel a bit later. They are settling into their new home and I don't want to distrub them just yet.