We had finished the setup of the chook house during the week, and then set out to get some chickens.
The plan is to start with just a few and see how they work out with respect to feed and the room they have to move in, then expand that to 7, and again to 10 to maximise eggs.
The breeds we had looked at where Australorp, and Isabrown. The place we bought from (a rural / farm supplies store reasonably close), had several Australorps, 2 Isabrown, and several cross breed Australorp / Isabrown varieties.
So we got 1 Australorp, 2 Isabrown, and 1 Crossbreed. Unfortunately, 1 of the Isabrown chickens had something wrong, it was sleeping in the pen when we arrived but after approaching, it was a lot more lively.
We took it, and found it just lazed around all day the next day, so we took it back and the store believed it (in their words), “to be screwed” – OK. They swapped it for another Australorp / Isabrown cross breed.
Now we have the 4 of them and 5 days in they seem to be happy. I originally intended to make a feeder and drinker for them, but settled for buying one instead – they would need food and water immediately, and the weekend was still 3 days away at that time.
Initially they were fighting with each other, the remaining Isabrown was pecking at the Australorp. We introduced the cross breed the next day and they were both ready to tear each other apart initially. It was amusing. They do now seem to be getting along, probably after realising a last man standing death match would only mean one would be left standing.
The Oven wasn’t completely secure at the start either, the back of chook house having a gap between the fence, where the sick bird had tried to escape. A piece of 2×4 later and it’s all good.
It was most interesting to hear the store owner has 45 birds on his farm, so we took his advice without a shred of doubt – feed them grower mix for 4 weeks, then change em over to grain and they’ll produce great eggs.
They appear to love basil, lettuce and apple cores.
This gives us a possible problem in that they might end up taking all the food otherwise destined for the worm farm, but we should be able to find a way around that as the worms won’t need a heck of a lot and the chickens will always have grain.
It’ll be very interesting when they get some freedom from the cage in a few weeks, the kids will almost certainly give them more exercise then they desire. We’ll have to clip their wings though.