Promoting understanding
and compassion for animals

Chickens

I love my chickens!

I love the fact that they have their own little community with its own rules and regulations. I love their range of personalities and their antics. I love the way that I don’t waste any food and that I get heaps of fresh eggs. They simply are a joy.

The chickens 1

We have big chickens and silky bantams and a duck. They all get along well and have their pecking order sorted out between them. There is Pillow and Fluffy Blanket and Crumpet, just to name a few. Both the children and I share in the naming of the chickens and have great fun whenever a new one arrives. Their names, breeds and characteristics are as follows:

Name Breed Details / personality
Fluffy Blanket Silky bantam 1 year old rooster – untouchable – even Kyle very rarely manages to catch him.
Muffin Silky bantam x Chinese silky Beautiful gold colour, funny cranky little hen who is almost permanently broody.
Crumpet Silky bantam White and black hen, Muffin’s co-companion in attempting to hatch out eggs. Broody most of the time.
Pillow Silky bantam Kyle’s chicken, mother of Fluffy Blanket. Has been known to ride around with Kyle on his push bike tucked under his ‘wing’.
Bonnie Black Australorp An absolute joy, our favourite, darling chicken. Had a bad start to life and was very stunted but made a great comeback and is now healthy.
Jet Black Australorp A stickybeak, always got her nose in someone else’s business – usually mine when I’m trying to clean out the pen.
Scratchy and Pecky White leghorns Food obsessed. Will jump up and knock the scraps bucket out of your hand if you’re taking too much time.
Matilda, Anne-5 and Daisy Isa reds Shy, reserved nice natured chickens.
Bubbles Duck Bubble arrived as a duckling that someone had bought from the Hawkesbury Show animal nursery. Kyle loves Bubbles and proudly carries her around despite the fact that she is nearly as big as him.

The chickens 2

There are two chickens that are no longer with us, that I must mention as they left a huge hole in our lives.

Kelsea chicken who died only a week ago at the time of me writing this. Kelsea chicken was named by Kelsea after herself and was a very old battery hen. Kelsea had been debeaked (the tip of her beak burnt off) supposedly to stop her pecking the other chickens with whom she shared her battery cage. She came to us at about 5 years of age from someone else who had bought her after her useful life as a layer had ended at the battery farm. She was one of the very few lucky ones who manage to salvage a life after the pen. Anyway, Kelsea was calm and placid and would happily let all of the children pick her up and cuddle her. We all got so attached to her and it was heartbreaking when she finally left us, even though we had prepared ourselves for some time due to her age.

Psycho Chicken was an amazing character. She arrived at the same time as Bubbles the duck and had originally been a day old chick in an animal nursery- being handled by thousands of children. I personally think this is what made her psycho. Anyway she had ATTITUDE with a capital A. As she got older she delighted in chasing the children whenever they went into the pen. They would scream and run and she would barrel after them flapping her wings. Gee I wish I had owned a video camera in those days. One day Kyle ‘the fearless’, decided that this just wasn’t going to be tolerated anymore, so he stopped, turned around and picked her up. I still remember the proud look on his face and the absolute stunned look on her face when this happened. And the funny thing was, from that day on she stopped chasing them, it was almost as though the game was over. She then became (along with Kelsea Chicken) one of the most loved and petted members of our chicken family. One day, without any warning we found her dead. She was only about a year old and I suspect it was a snake. Snakes will actually go into the chook pen and not bother the chickens at all unless provoked. But because Psycho was the leader of the group she probably took it upon herself to attack it and was bitten. It was a very sad day for us and we still miss our psycho chicken.

The chickens have a great hen house and are fed layer pellets, cracked corn and scraps. Every morning when I walk in with the scraps bucket, they mill around the door and make it impossible for me to walk through the pen. They are so eager for their food, I really take my life in my hands.

Another other interesting thing is that despite the fact that they receive layer pellets which is meant to be a ‘complete’ food, they crave fresh greens when we take them in a bucket of picked grass they absolutely love it. It makes me wonder how the poor battery hens cope, never having access to green feed, existing solely on a diet of dry, manufactured pellets.

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